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Washington DC Medicare Supplemental Insurance

Washington DC Medicare supplemental insurance offers the same benefits as supplemental coverage in many other states. Also called Medigap or MedSup plans, Washington DC Medicare supplemental insurance policies follow national standardized guidelines, so individual plans are the same as those in nearby states and also across DC companies. If you have a Medicare policy, you probably already know that your insurance by itself does not cover the full cost of services provided. This is where a Washington DC Medicare supplemental insurance plan can help. Supplemental coverage "fills the gaps" in your original plan, covering your coinsurance, deductibles, hospital stays and other services not included in Medicare alone.

Before Buying a Supplemental Policy

There are a few things you should know before buying a Washington DC Medicare supplemental insurance policy. Understanding Medicare first will help you better understand why you might need a supplemental plan. Medicare consists of two parts, a component for hospital care called Part A and a component for general care called Part B. Part A, which is typically premium-free, covers inpatient hospital stays, hospice care, skilled nursing facility and home health care. Part B, which does require a monthly premium, covers visits to your doctor, outpatient hospital care, X-rays, lab tests and some types of preventative care, like flu shots. Overnight hospital stays up to 72 hours are covered by Part B.

Your original plan will cover 80 percent of a Medicare-approved total amount for Part A and Part B services. The remaining 20 percent is out-of-pocket for people who have no other supplemental health coverage. This is why most seniors in the DC area need Washington DC Medicare supplemental insurance. A supplemental plan will pay for the remaining coinsurance and, depending on your plan, help cover other costs like deductibles and excess charges.

Before buying a supplemental insurance policy, you should also be aware of some important deadlines. You are eligible to purchase a Washington DC Medicare supplemental insurance policy as soon as you have enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B. Once you have signed up for both parts, a period called Open Enrollment begins and will last for six months. During this period, you are guaranteed the right to purchase the plan of your choice without having to take a physical. A company may not charge you higher rates because of your lifestyle, genetic predisposition to certain conditions or any preexisting conditions during this period. Your rate will be determined by the company's standard for your age, which can be raised each year as you get older.

If you wait until your Open Enrollment period ends, you are not guaranteed a particular policy or a standard rate. However, this doesn't mean you won't be able to purchase some form of Medigap insurance. If you are a Washington DC resident, you should know you have a right to purchase a Washington DC Medicare supplemental insurance policy. The District of Columbia Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking can help you understand your federal rights and protections if you need to purchase, drop or change your insurance plan. Researching DC companies online will also help you understand the individual policies of each firm.

Choosing a Medigap Policy

The federal and Washington DC government has approved 10 standardized Medigap plans. The most basic of these policies, Plan A, covers your hospital copayments, Medicare Part B coinsurance and your first three pints of blood withdrawn in a given year. All subsequent policies, from Plan B to Plan N, will include this basic coverage. The right Washington DC Medicare supplemental insurance policy for you will depend on your income, lifestyle and overall health. If you are in good health and want to keep your minimums low, you might consider a high-deductible option. The high-deductible version of Plan F, for example, doesn't begin coverage until you have paid a $2,000 annual deductible, but you do enjoy lower premiums. If, like many Washington DC residents, you often travel internationally, you may also want to consider a plan that includes emergency care while you are overseas.

Washington DC Medigap Companies

Although the District of Columbia is small, residents have a variety of Washington DC Medicare supplemental insurance companies to choose from. Researching each company online can help seniors compare rates, plans and customer service among each company. You can determine whether a company is licensed to do business in Washington DC by checking with the District of Columbia Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking. Speaking with a company's agents can also give you a good idea of the company's communication style and customer service. Although individual plans are the same across the board, not all Washington DC companies carry all 10 Medigap plans. Only by researching each firm's offerings can you determine which plan is right for you and which company you feel most comfortable working with.


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