As of 2018, Medicare Supplement plans in Arizona are available by over 30 insurance carriers which are private companies. Since Original Medicare Parts A & B do not offer coverage for all medical expenses, it is helpful to have Medicare Supplement plans because they will cover your copayments, deductibles and coinsurance payments that still need to be made. As you continue reading, you will find helpful information about the various Medicare Supplement plan options available to you in Arizona. Based on this information, you will be able to choose the best coverage option for your needs.
General Information on Medicare Supplement Plans in Arizona
Approximately 47 states in the U.S. have standardized Medicare Supplement plans. Arizona happens to be one of these states. Therefore, the plan letter you receive in Arizona will have the same coverage offerings that letters in other eligible states would have. Even though these are standard benefits, insurance providers will set their own premium rates. In Arizona, there are 10 different Medicare Supplement plans available. These plans include Plan N, Plan M, Plan L, Plan K, Plan G, Plan F, Plan D, Plan C, Plan B, and Plan A. Prescription drug coverage is not available with any of these Medicare Supplement plans.
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Statistics of Enrollment for Medicare Supplement Plans in Arizona
There are 15 counties in Arizona which have cities, towns, villages, and numerous unincorporated locations. In 2015, these were the 5 biggest counties on record:
- Four million people in Maricopa County.
- One million people in Pima County.
- About 406,000 people in Pinal County.
- About 217,000 people in Yavapai County.
- About 215,000 people in Yuma County.
The total population of Arizona is around 6.4 million. Roughly 13.5% of Arizonians are 65 years of age or more. The age of retirement in Arizona is 63. According to data from 2014, roughly 34.2% have a Medigap plan.
Medicare Supplement Plan in Arizona: Best Time to Apply
When you are in the initial open enrollment period, this is the time when you should purchase a Medigap plan. The 6-month time period for open enrollment begins when you satisfy these requirements:
- You have reached age 65.
- You are currently enrolled in Part B of Medicare.
As the open enrollment period is still active, companies which provide Medicare Supplement plans are required to accept you. It does not even matter which plan you have chosen for yourself. You have guaranteed issue rights under the law. However, if you have a preexisting condition, insurance companies are allowed to wait up to 6 months before they provide you with coverage for it.
If the enrollment period has expired but you still want to buy a policy, then Medicare underwriting might be required by the insurance companies. Even then, the insurance companies may deny your application for a Medicare Supplement plan. The only exception is if you satisfy one of the provisions of the “special guaranteed rights” regulation. These provisions include:
- If you have a group health plan with your employer and then you leave that plan. Either that or the plan ends.
- Your Advantage plan has stopped covering your location or you move to a new location which is not covered. The plan may also leave Medicare too for whatever reason.
- You have a Medicare SELECT plan and you move away from the designated service area for it.
- Your current Medigap plan coverage is lost due to the carrier ending your coverage or going bankrupt.
- You drop your current coverage or leave your insurance plan because you were misled by the company or did not comply with their rules.
Calculating Rates for Medicare Supplement Plans in Arizona
There are numerous factors which insurance companies use to determine their Medicare Supplement plan rates. Some of these factors include the chosen Medigap plan and the demographics of the person. Demographics would be information like their gender, age, location, health status, marital status, and whether they’re a smoker.
Aside from these personal factors, the insurance company’s pricing system will ultimately affect the Medicare Supplement plan costs for people in Arizona. One of the following 3 pricing methods are used by insurance companies in the state:
Your current age determines your premium amount. The older you get, the higher your premium will be. Most carriers use this pricing method.
The age you are at when you first purchase your premium will be the factor which determines your premium amount. The benefit here is that you pay the same premium rate as you get older.
The community rate is where everyone in the same location pays the same premium amount. It doesn’t matter if you are 65 years old or 80 years old. When your premiums have annual charges to them, these are because of inflation rather than your age.
According to Arizona law, insurance companies cannot utilize the attained age pricing method to calculate their premium rates. According to a 2010 statistic, 94% of the rates calculated by insurance companies for Medicare Supplement plans had used the issue age method. The other 6% of the rates were calculated using the community rating system.
As an Arizona Resident, Does My Premium for the Medicare Supplement Plan Become Affected?
The location where you live is a factor of your Medicare Supplement plan’s cost because various geographic regions have different health care costs. Different counties, as well as different zip codes, have their own premium rates.
Medicare Supplement Plan in Arizona And Travel
If you have Original Medicare, then you have healthcare coverage in every state in the nation. Of course, the health care provider you choose for treatment must accept Medicare. You will have the same type of protection with Medigap plans. As long as the medical professional accepts Medicare, then you can receive treatment under this plan too. A big reason why senior citizens select a Medigap plan is that they don’t have to worry about getting referrals to see a specialist or having to see a physician within a network. Instead, you have the freedom to select the greatest doctors and healthcare facilities no matter where they are geographically located. And if you are traveling to a foreign country, emergency coverage is available through 6 different Medicare plans, including Plans N, F, and G.
If you have Original Medicare, then your current Medicare Supplement plan from Arizona will not be affected if you move out of state. Your current policy with Medigap can stay the same, but the quotes may be different now with your insurance provider. Check with them to find out because each geographic region has different premium rates. You might end up paying more or less at the location you are moving too. Find out first before you make the move so that you can be prepared.
Is There an Annual Requirement to Change My Medicare Supplement Plan in Arizona?
If you have a Medicare Supplement plan, there is no requirement which forces you to renew or change it each year. The great thing about Medigap policies is that they are always renewable. Your policy stays in effect for an indefinite time period.
After your plan is selected, you don’t need to worry about it anymore. However, you should still look over your prescription drug plan under Medicare Part D on an annual basis. Since insurance companies tend to pack on annual charges, it might be a better idea to switch insurance carriers when the yearly enrollment period comes up.
Am I Allowed to Switch Insurance Companies for My Medicare Supplement Plan at Some Point Later On?
You can choose a new provider for your Medigap plan whenever you want. But if you are in a situation where you don’t have “guaranteed issue rights,” then your application doesn’t have to be accepted by your new insurance company. They may require that you agree to take a health screening to determine your health status. If your health status is bad, you can expect either higher premium rates or a total rejection of your insurance application. For this reason, it is a good idea to look over various reviews for insurance companies and see which ones provide members with the best quotes and overall benefits. Once you find a good provider, you can go ahead and purchase a Medicare Supplement plan in Arizona for 2018.
Additional Resources for Arizona Medicare:
- Local Area Agency on Aging
- Arizona Senior Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP)
- Patient Advocates AZ
- Arizona Senior Citizen Association
- The AdvoConnection. This is a directory which lists contact information for private, independent and professional patient navigators and advocates.
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