If your Original Medicare plan has gaps which you are concerned about in 2018, consider signing up for a Medicare Supplement plan in California. There are 10 of these plans available to residents of the state. Original Medicare, of course, is in reference to Medicare Parts A & B. After you become 65 years old, enrollment in Medicare Part A is automatic. If there are no other insurance alternatives for you available, Medicare Part B is a good option to sign up for. The only downside is that you will be responsible for the coinsurance, deductibles, uncovered service fees, co-payments, and other excess charges.
Statistics of Enrollment for Medicare Supplement Plans in California
The biggest counties in California have cities with the highest populations of people. These big counties include San Diego County, Los Angeles County, San Bernandino County, Orange County, and Riverside County. As of 2014, over 400,000 people in California were enrolled in a Medicare Supplement plan. Also, over 250,000 of them were already enrolled in Medicare Plan F.
In 2014, 13% of Medicare beneficiaries had Medigap coverage as well. This percentage is predicted to increase as a rising number of senior citizens are requesting help with the skyrocketing healthcare costs.
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The Time to Apply for a Medicare Supplement Plan in California
Right to Guaranteed-Enrollment
You should apply for the Medicare Supplement Plan in California after the initial open enrollment period begins. This enrollment period will be available for 6 months. Within that timeframe, every Medicare Supplement plan in the state will provide guaranteed coverage.
You right to guaranteed enrollment starts the same month that you become 65 years old, or during the month you enroll in Medicare Part B. To be eligible for any Medicare Supplement plans in California, you must sign up for Medicare Parts A & B first. Each of these parts makes up the Original Medicare plan. If you want to keep your policy with Medigap, you must have your Original Medicare currently active.
Enroll Whenever You Want
The last choice you have is to sign up for a Medicare Supplement plan at any time it is convenient for you. If you are not eligible for a special enrollment period and it has been over 6 months since you enrolled in Medicare Part B, then a health underwriting process will be required. When this happens, insurance carriers can calculate your monthly premium rate based on your preexisting conditions and medical history.
The Methods for Calculating the Rates of Medicare Supplement Plans in California
Age brackets are used for this particular method. The premium of your Medigap plan will increase as you get older. In 2010, over 70% of Californians with Medigap plans had premiums that were calculated by the attained-age method. As for other states throughout the nation, the attained-age method is the most popular calculation method.
When you initially enrolled in your Medicare Supplement plan in California, the age you were at that time will determine your future premium rates. This is a very stable calculation method because there are hardly any yearly changes. Plus, as you age, the price will not increase. As of 2010, approximately 18% of Californians had Medicare Supplement plan rates which were calculated by the issue-age method.
Community rating is not used very often. As of 2010, under 10% of Californians with Medigap plans had rates that were calculated by this method. Your age does not determine your rate here. Every person within your same local community that has a Medigap plan will receive the same rate.
Medicare Supplement Plans in California: The Best Ones to Compare
In California, approximately 10 different Medicare Supplement plans are available. However, the 3 plans listed below are the most common ones because of their popularity.
The excess fees and deductibles under Medicare Part B are not covered by Medicare Supplement Plan N. This is what makes it different than Plan F. For this reason, Plan F enrollment throughout the country had increased by 30% in 2014. As a result, Plan F is just as popular as Plan G.
California Medicare Supplement Plan Usage Outside of the State
In general, the Medicare system is designed so that you can seek treatment from any doctor in the nation that accepts Medicare. You don’t need to seek referrals or worry about out-of-network costs. Therefore, you can choose which doctors that you want to visit no matter where they are located.
There was a research study done which examined the quality of the healthcare treatment that Medicare beneficiaries were receiving across the nation. The quality of healthcare in California received a rank of “41.” That doesn’t mean there aren’t great medical doctors in California, but you should consider looking for the best specialists in other states if you have a specific health issue that needs to be addressed. The advantage of a Medigap plan is that you can visit this specialist whenever you want and still retain the same great benefits.
Keeping the Same Medicare Supplement Plan from California After Relocating Out of State
It is possible to retain your current Medigap plan from California if you move to a new state. Just keep in mind that your monthly premium rate will be determined by your new zip code.
If I Have Low Income, Can I Receive Extra Help?
There is a special federal program called “Extra Help” which assists senior citizens and disabled U.S. residents eligible for Medicare with their premiums, deductibles, and co-payments. If you are already paying a monthly premium for your Medigap plan and are having trouble paying for all those other expenses, go online or to your local Social Security office and apply for Extra Help. Your income level will determine the amount of help that you get.
Medicare Resources in California:
- When you look at your outline of Medicare coverage, do you have a lot of cost-sharing expenses? Medi-Cal is a program available for senior citizens with a low income. The program is designed to assist seniors with paying for these cost-sharing expenses as well as their premiums for Medicare Part B.
- If you are a Californian who has trouble understanding Medicare in California and how to get long-term care there, then you can receive counseling on these issues for free from the Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program. All Medicare recipients and anyone who is going to enroll is entitled to these benefits.
The Application Methods for the Medicare Supplement Plan in California for 2018
Medicare Supplement plans can be quite confusing if you are new to them. Even after you look over their reviews, analyzing your coverage outline, comparing their different rates, and choosing the most suitable Medigap plan, the confusion might still be there. Most people feel this way too because Medicare is a huge healthcare system that has a lot of parts to it. The best thing to do now is to choose your state and then compare the various quotes given to you.
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