The Best Medicare Supplement (Medigap) Plans in Rhode Island
- Medicare deductibles, coinsurance and copayments can add up over time, especially as Original Medicare doesn't cap out-of-pocket costs. To avoid some of these expenses, about four out of 10 Rhode Island residents with Medicare also sign up for Medicare Supplement insurance. These plans, called Medigap for short, are a privately sold insurance solution to some of the holes left by Original Medicare.
Medigap pairs with the federal health plan and pays for some costs seniors are responsible for, such as Part A and B coinsurance and deductibles. Read on to learn about the Medigap benefits enjoyed by more than 50,700 Rhode Island residents and tips on picking a Medicare Supplement plan that fits your health needs.
You can find Medicare Supplement plans where you live by comparing plans from several different insurance companies online.
What Are the Best Rhode Island Medicare Supplement Plans?
Seniors have 10 types of Medigap plans to choose from in Rhode Island, sold by different carriers. If you travel frequently overseas, for example, a plan that pays for emergency health care outside of the country may be most cost-effective.
Medigap plans are standardized with names from A to N. People who are new to Medicare as of January 1, 2020, can't purchase Plan C or Plan F.
Plan F is a popular choice for Rhode Island residents because it provides the greatest Medigap coverage. It pays 100% of Part A and B deductibles and coinsurance and 80% of foreign travel emergencies. With Plan F, you have few, if any, out-of-pocket Medicare costs.
This plan is only available to Rhode Island seniors who qualified for Medicare. New beneficiaries can enroll in Plan G instead. It offers the same coverage, except the Part B deductible, which is no longer paid for by Medigap.
Medigap plans that require some cost-sharing generally have cheaper premiums. Some Rhode Island residents opt for Plan N, which requires a minimal copay when you use certain Part B medical services. A visit to the doctor may cost up to $20, and emergency room care can cost up to $50 if a physician decides you don't need to be admitted as a hospital inpatient. Otherwise, Plan N provides the same 100% coverage of Part B coinsurance as most other Medigap plans, covering expenses such as outpatient therapy and durable medical equipment.
How Do I Enroll in a Rhode Island Medigap Plan?
Rhode Island residents enjoy excellent protection when buying Medigap but must join a plan when first eligible to make the most of this insurance.
You have a six-month Medigap open enrollment period that kicks in once you're 65 or over and signed up with Medicare Part B. You only get this window once, unlike other Medicare enrollment periods.
During this time, Rhode Island insurance companies must follow certain rules for Medigap coverage, so it's important to take full advantage.
- You can purchase any Medigap plan sold in Rhode Island (except Plans C and F, if you're newly eligible).
- You can only be charged standard premiums. Insurers can't impose higher premiums based on a health screening.
- You may have a six-month waiting period for out-of-pocket costs related to treatment of a pre-existing condition, but after six months, insurance companies must cover all costs.
- Your Medigap plan is guaranteed renewable as long as you keep your coverage active.
There's a significant downside to missing your Medigap open enrollment period: insurance companies are free to underwrite your policy. They can require a health screening, weigh the risks of providing you with coverage, place limitations on your policy and charge you more than a person in good health if you have a medical condition. They may also refuse to issue you a policy.
Medicare does provide some protection if you find yourself without a health plan in unusual situations. Guaranteed issue rights similar to those described above may apply if:
- Your current Medigap coverage is terminated because your insurer goes out of business or is no longer participating in Medicare.
- Your Medicare Part C plan no longer applies because you've moved out of the insurance company's service area.
- You decide, after trying Medicare Advantage, to return to Original Medicare while your trial right period is still in effect.