The Best Medicare Supplement (Medigap) Plans in Mississippi
- Medicare supplement insurance (Medigap) helps Mississippi seniors cover out-of-pocket costs such as copays and deductibles. Let our review of Mississippi Medigap plans help you choose the right policy.
Because U.S. seniors often live on a fixed income, they may need help covering medical expenses, especially if they have chronic or recurring conditions that require regular treatment. Individuals enrolled in Original Medicare may purchase Medicare supplement insurance, also known as Medigap, to help defray the out-of-pocket costs associated with Medicare copays, deductibles and other health care expenses.
More than 30% of Mississippi’s Original Medicare beneficiaries — that’s over 162,000 of the state’s seniors — are currently enrolled in Medicare supplement insurance. If you need help covering Medicare-related expenses, this article provides the information you need to know about Medigap so you can select a policy that suits your needs and budget.
You can find Medicare Supplement plans where you live by comparing plans from several different insurance companies online.
What Are the Best Mississippi Medicare Supplement Plans?
Although Medigap insurance is sold by private insurers throughout Mississippi, every plan sold in the state is one of 10 standardized types. Plans with the same letter designations are identical regardless of the company you purchase insurance from. Essentially, Plan N should have the same benefits and coverage terms when purchased from any issuer.
Medigap Benefits by Plan Type
All 10 Medigap plan types provide the same core benefits, which include coverage of hospice copays, Part A and B coinsurance and reimbursement for 365 days of hospital stays after Part A benefits have been exhausted. Additional benefits vary depending on the plan's letter designation but may include reimbursement for some or all of the following charges:
- Part A and B deductibles
- Coinsurance for skilled nursing facility care
- Medical care administered during foreign travel
- The cost of medical care that exceeds approved amounts under Medicare Part B
Reimbursable amounts for covered benefits can range between 50% and 100% of the costs remaining after Medicare pays for their portion of the charges. In some cases, limitations and restrictions may also apply. For a further breakdown of benefits by plan type, please review the accompanying chart.
Why Some Medigap Plans Are More Popular Than Others
Because coverage varies between plans of different letters, some Medigap policies tend to be more popular than others. Plans F, G and N typically top the list of popular plans — likely due to their lower cost, which can make them more affordable for many seniors. However, only enrollees who were eligible for Medicare benefits prior to 2020 may purchase Plan F.
These popular plans offer the same core benefits that other Medigap plan types provide and may include additional coverage, such as:
- The Part A deductible
- 80% of the cost of foreign travel exchange
- 100% of the coinsurance for residential skilled nursing care
Although the lower premiums mean you’ll spend less for one of these three plans initially, they may have higher deductibles, so you’ll have to spend more before your Medigap coverage kicks in. It’s also worth noting that Plans F, G and N don’t have out-of-pocket maximums, which means there’s no limit to what you may have to spend in any given year if you require extensive medical care.
Choosing an Insurance Company
Because Medigap is sold by private insurance companies, potential policyholders can shop around for the best price. Remember that Medigap plans are standardized by their letter designation, so the coverage won’t change, regardless of who issues the policy. This means that the main difference between issuers is a plan’s premium.
However, you should be aware that not every insurance company offers the same selection of policies. Any Mississippi company that sells Medigap plans must offer Plans A, C and F. Selling other plan types is optional, so if you have a specific plan in mind, you’ll want to find an insurer who offers it.
How Do I Enroll in a Mississippi Medigap Plan?
Although the application for enrollment is submitted directly through the insurance company, enrollment criteria is governed by federal law. You must be 65 or older and enrolled in Medicare Part B to qualify for Medigap, and beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans may not purchase this coverage to supplement their insurance.
The Best Time to Enroll in Medigap
If you want to purchase a Medigap policy, the best time to do so is during the open enrollment period. During this time period, the federal government guarantees your right to purchase a plan even if you have an underlying medical condition that could brand you a high risk, and you may not be charged higher rates, regardless of your health.
Medigap’s open enrollment period lasts for six months, beginning on the first day of the month you turn 65. However, if you’re still employed at that time, you may delay your Medicare enrollment and, consequently, your Medigap open enrollment period, until you retire.
Purchasing a Medigap Policy Outside the Open Enrollment Period
You may be able to purchase Medicare supplement insurance after the open enrollment period ends, but your application will probably be assessed using standard medical underwriting practices. That means seniors with health risks may be denied coverage or may end up paying more for a policy.
In certain circumstances, as defined by the federal government, seniors may be able to purchase a Medigap plan after the open enrollment period ends without having to go through medical underwriting. These protections are known as guaranteed issue rights.
Guaranteed issue rights may protect beneficiaries in the following common situations:
- Reversion to Original Medicare: Medicare beneficiaries who were enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan may be protected by guaranteed issue rights if their MA plan was discontinued or the service area changed. Protections may also extend to members who reverted to Original Medicare after moving out of their MA plan’s coverage area or who reverted to Part B after exercising a Medicare Advantage trial right.
- Loss of a Medigap plan: Medigap policyholders who relinquished their supplemental insurance for reasons outside of their control are protected under guaranteed issue rights. This can happen due to an insurer’s misleading policies, their unwillingness to follow federal guidelines or if they go bankrupt.
- Loss of group coverage: Seniors who lost employer- or union-sponsored coverage that was supplementing their Original Medicare plan may be protected under guaranteed issue rights. This also applies to seniors who've recently lost COBRA coverage.
If any of these circumstances apply to you, an insurance company may not deny you Medigap coverage for a predetermined period of time, which is typically up to 63 days after the qualifying event.