Medicare Supplement Plans in Maryland
If you’re enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B or will soon take that step, you’re probably considering Medicare Supplement plans in Maryland. These plans are often referred to as Medigap plans because they fill the gaps that are left by Original Medicare coverage. Rather than trying to keep up with copayments, coinsurance, and uncovered expenses, you can focus on just paying your monthly Medigap plan premium.
There are currently 10 Medicare Supplement plans standardized by the federal government, but not all insurance companies offering Medicare Supplement plans in Maryland will offer all of those options. There are also some rules regarding which plans insurance companies are required to offer.
Medicare Supplement Plans in Maryland: Enrollment Statistics
- The five largest counties in Maryland:
- Prince George’s
- Anne Arundel
As of 2007, approximately 14 percent of Maryland residents were enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B. In 2015, there were approximately 930,000 beneficiaries in the state.
- Of more than 900,000 Medicare beneficiaries in 2015, more than 220,000 were also enrolled in Medigap policies.
- According to data collected in 2007, approximately 70 percent of Maryland Medicare recipients were diagnosed with a chronic condition. Heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis were the leading chronic conditions for all Medicare beneficiaries in the state.
How Are Rates Calculated for Medicare Supplement Plans in Maryland?
One of your most important tasks when selecting a Medicare Supplement plan in Maryland is comparing rates from reputable insurance companies authorized to offer Medigap policies. This state follows the federal standardized benefits for each plan, so carriers compete mainly through their rates.
Some of the factors that are taken into consideration include:
- Zip code
- Use of tobacco products
Your pre-existing conditions and medical history are only factored into your Medigap plan rate if you enroll outside of your initial open enrollment period and you don’t qualify for special enrollment. The State of Maryland allows each Medicare Supplement insurance company to select from three methods of rate calculation:
Your age at the time of enrollment determines your rate. The younger you are at enrollment, the less you are likely to pay for your premium. While your rates will not increase on a predetermined schedule, you may see some increases due to inflation or changes in your benefits.
Your age at the time of enrollment determines your starting rate and then rates gradually increase as you age. Most Medigap insurance companies increase rates based on predetermined milestones or intervals, so premiums don’t typically increase every year.
All subscribers for specific Medicare Supplement plans in Maryland receive the same rate. Age is not a factor for community-rated policies.
Most Maryland insurance carriers will not offer community rates for a Medigap plan. As you compare rates for the best Medicare Supplement plans, determining whether the policy is attained- or issue-age rated could save you money in years to come. It’s also important to compare deductibles between Medicare Supplement plans in Maryland.
Do Medicare Supplement Plans Cover Prescriptions?
No Medicare Supplement plan in Maryland will include a Medicare prescription drug plan. Once you’re enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B, you will have the option to enroll in Medicare Part D. This is the part of Original Medicare that allows insurance companies to offer drug plans. Each Medicare beneficiary is required to pay separate premiums for their Medicare prescription drug plan, so this is an expense to consider on top of your Medigap plan premium.
If covering your Medigap plan and Part D premiums is a struggle due to your limited income, you may benefit from some of the social support programs offered by the Maryland Department of Aging.
Medicare Supplement Plans in Maryland: When Can I enroll?
Once you enroll in Original Medicare, you’re qualified to compare and sign up for a Medicare Supplement plan in Maryland. While you can apply for Medigap coverage at any time, your best option for securing the lowest premium is your initial enrollment period. Unless you’re already covered by adequate health insurance when your 65th birthday rolls around, you should sign up for a Medicare supplement plan during this period.
Understand your initial Medicare Supplement open enrollment period:
- Your initial enrollment period starts the first day of the month in which you turn 65. It closes after six months.
- No insurance company can decline your application for a Medicare Supplement plan in Maryland during this period, and they can never cancel your policy unless you stop paying your premiums in the future. Every beneficiary enrolled within this period has the right to a guaranteed renewable plan.
- Your medical history and pre-existing conditions will not impact the rates offered during your open enrollment period. If you paid high insurance rates prior to receiving Medicare due to chronic illness, you may enjoy a substantial drop in medical expenses as long as you enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan during this initial period.
What happens if you miss this opportunity for guaranteed acceptance and renewal? You may qualify for special enrollment with the same terms at a later point in your life. You may also apply for a Medicare Supplement plan in Maryland at any time, but the insurance company may have the right to base your rate on your medical history or to decline your coverage.
Maryland Medicare Resources