Medicare Supplement Plans in California

Victoria Burke by Victoria Burke | Licensed since 2011
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This article was updated on: 10/12/2018

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If you’re one the over 6 million Medicare beneficiaries in California according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, you may be interested in a Medicare Supplement plan in California. Medicare Supplement plans are offered by private insurance companies and go alongside Original Medicare (Part A and Part B).

Why would I want Medicare Supplement in California?

Unlike employer plans which you may be familiar with, Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) has no out-of-pocket maximum. A Medicare Supplement plan in California could help you pay Medicare out-of-pocket costs such as copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles.

For example, all Medicare Supplement plans cover Medicare Part A coinsurance and hospital costs up to additional 365 days after Medicare benefits are exhausted. Medicare Part A has 60 “lifetime reserve days” for hospital inpatient costs. After you’ve used up those lifetime reserve days, you could pay 100% of your hospital inpatient costs out-of-pocket without a Medicare Supplement plan in California.

All Medicare Supplement plans in California also pay at least 50% of the Medicare Part B coinsurance or copayment. Most Medicare Supplement plans cover this at 100%. The Medicare Part B coinsurance is generally 20% of the Medicare-approved amount for most doctor services, outpatient therapy, and durable medical equipment. For example, if you have a Medicare-covered powered wheelchair that costs $1,500, you may be responsible for 20% of this cost, or $300. A Medicare Supplement plan in California may cover the full $300.

You may want to take note that you cannot use a Medicare Supplement plan to cover costs of Medicare Advantage plans.

Similarly, Medicare Supplement plans generally don’t cover prescription drugs. To get coverage for prescription drugs, you may want a Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan.

To see what else Medicare Supplement plans cover in California, look at this handy comparison chart.

Who can buy Medicare Supplement in California?

The federal government doesn’t require private insurance companies to sell Medicare Supplement plans to Medicare beneficiaries under 65. However, California is one state that requires private insurance companies to sell at least one kind of Medicare Supplement plan to Medicare beneficiaries under 65 as long as you don’t have end-stage renal disease.

If you buy Medicare Supplement in California you generally need to pay an additional monthly premium in addition to your Medicare Part B premium.

When should I enroll in Medicare Supplement in California?

The best time to enroll in Medicare Supplement in California is usually during your Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period. This is a six-month period that begins when you are both 65 and enrolled in Medicare Part B. There is no Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period for Medicare beneficiaries under 65.

During the Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period, companies are generally not allowed to use medical underwriting to determine whether or not to cover you and how much to charge you. Medical underwriting considers your health conditions and sometimes charges people with health problems more than people without health problems. During your Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period, you generally can buy any policy at the same price of someone in good health.

To take a closer look now at Medicare Supplement plans in California that can cover your needs, use the Compare Plans button on this page.

The product and service descriptions, if any, provided on these Medicare.com Web pages are not intended to constitute offers to sell or solicitations in connection with any product or service. All products are not available in all areas and are subject to applicable laws, rules, and regulations.

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