Housing Help Service
***Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute to seek professional alternatives. EDL's aim is to provide useful information that may benefit some. As stated elsewhere we cannot help everybody, unfortunately.***
Medigap insurance is supplemental insurance meaning it covers services that are not provided by Medicare. For example Medicare does not cover when you travel out of the U.S. Medigap policies can though and they must follow federal and state guidelines too.* Only you know whether Medigap insurance is right for you. How much is a peace mind worth to you? TIP: Medigap policies only cover one person; thus, spouses must buy separate policies.
You can get Medigap insurance in different ways. The best time to enroll is during the open enrollment period. This 6 month period starts on the first day of the month in which you turn 65 AND enroll in part B.* So there are two requirements 1) turning 65 and 2) enroll in part B. If you delay signing up for part B your Medigap open enrollment period will not begin until you sign up for part B.* TIP: If you are under the age of 65 some states will not allow you to sign up for Medigap insurance.* However some states will allow you to sign up. Please check into what's available in your state.
I am interested in enrolling for Medigap insurance. Where can I find more information?
• Visit Medicare.gov or Medicare.gov/publications.*
• Call your State Insurance Department or call 1-800-633-4227.*
• Call your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP). TX (1-800-252-9240.*
Medicare Part D is for prescription drug coverage. Medicare policies offer prescription drug coverage to everyone on Medicare. However if you do not join the Part D policy when you are first able too, you will have to pay a penalty to join later. You are eligible to join part D when your first enrollment period begins. Another way to get prescription drug coverage is to get part B (for the first time) during the open enrollment period. Open enrollment is between October 15 and December 7 of each year. The last way you can join the part D prescription drug plan is if you qualify for extra help. TIP: special enrollment periods may exist for you and your situation. If you want to drop your Medicare plan you can only do so during certain points of the year. In addition you may drop your Medicare plan by calling 1-800-633-4227.
What if you need help paying your Medicare prescription drug policy? Enroll in the "Extra Help" program. It's a program designed to help limited income individuals pay for Medicare prescription drug costs.*You may qualify for Extra Help if you yearly income and resources are below these limits in 2016: Single person income less than $17,820 and resources less than $13,640 per year.* Married person living with a spouse and no other dependants income less than $24,030 and resources less than $27,250 per year.* These amounts are subject to change in 2017.*
To be clear there are only two ways to qualify for the extra help program. Automatically qualify based on income levels or use any of the following methods: visit socialsecurity.gov/i1020, call social security 1-800-772-1213, or visit your Medicaid office. If you cannot qualify through these methods the Extra Help program lacks other alternatives for you. However some may benefit from this program though.
*Burwell, S. & Slavitt, A. (2017). What are Medicare supplement insurance policies. Medicare and You 2017.1, 82-102.
*Burwell, S. & Slavitt, A. (2017). Get information about prescription drug coverage. Medicare and You 2017.1, 82-102.