Medicare Supplement Plans in Washington
This article was updated on: 11/01/2018
If you’re on Medicare in Washington, you might have noticed that Medicare Part A and Part B can come with some expenses you have to pay out-of-pocket. Medicare Supplement plans in Washington (and the other states) are meant to work alongside Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) to help cover some of these costs.
What are Medicare Supplement plans in Washington?
Medicare Supplement plans in Washington (and nationwide) generally pay for certain out-of-pocket costs that you may face when getting medical care under Original Medicare. For example:
- You usually have to pay a Part A and/or Part B deductible, depending on what type of care you need. Part A is for hospital care (or care in another institution, such as a skilled nursing facility). Part B is for doctor visits and other medical services.
- Once you pay your deductible, you may have to pay a coinsurance amount when you go to the doctor or have a lab test.
Those are the types of expenses that a Medicare Supplement plan in Washington may cover.
Why would you want a Medicare Supplement plan in Washington?
Different people might have different reasons for choosing Medicare Supplement plans in Washington. Here are a couple of questions to consider:
- Do you have a doctor, specialist, hospital, or pharmacy that you’re happy with? As long as your provider accepts Medicare assignment, you can continue to use that provider. (If you were to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, you might have to stick with providers in the plan’s network.)
- Do you have health problems, or think you might have them in the future? Medicare Supplement plans in Washington generally cover at least part of your Medicare Part B coinsurance for doctor visits (most plans cover 100% of this amount). And if you have to spend a lot of time in the hospital, it’s possible your costs can get pretty high. That’s one way a Medicare Supplement plan may provide peace of mind, since it will typically cover your Medicare Part A costs for a time as described below.
- Once you have a Medicare Supplement plan in Washington, the plan can’t drop you even if your health gets worse over the years. Exceptions are: if you don’t pay your premium; if you lied on your application; or if the plan goes bankrupt or insolvent.
What Medicare Supplement plans may be available in Washington?
There are up to 10 Medicare plans available in Washington (and in most states). The plans are standardized with lettered names, and every plan that has the same name has the same basic benefits.
For example, if you buy Medicare Supplement Plan A from one insurance company in Seattle, it will have the same set of basic benefits as a Plan A you could buy from a different company in Seattle, Spokane, or anywhere else. Please note that:
- Medicare Supplement Plan A is not the same thing as Medicare Part A.
- Even though the basic benefits are the same, the premium for Medicare Supplement Plan A (or any Medicare Supplement plan in Washington) can be different among insurance companies.
- All 10 plans might not be available where you live in Washington.
To browse Medicare Supplement plans in Washington anytime you’d like with no obligation, just click the Find Plans button on this page.
What might Medicare Supplement plans in Washington cover?
There are certain Medicare costs that each of the 10 standard Medicare Supplement plans in Washington covers. Of course, the same is true in other states.
- Medicare Part A hospital costs and coinsurance for up to a year (365 days) after Medicare benefits have run out
- Part A hospice coinsurance or copayments
- The first 3 pints of blood (for example, if the hospital has to buy blood for an operation for you)
- Medicare Part B copayments or coinsurance
Most Medicare Supplement plans may cover 100% of these costs, but some plans cover a portion of the second through fourth items listed above. All Medicare Supplement plans in Washington typically fully cover the first item (hospital costs).
When it comes to other Medicare Part A and Part B costs, some Medicare Supplement plans may pay for different services than others, or may pay a percentage (like 50% or 75%). Here are just a few examples.
- Medicare Supplement Plans C, D, F, G, M, and N may pay your coinsurance in a skilled nursing facility (up to certain limits). Plan K may pay 50% of this cost and Plan L may pay 75%.
- Plans F and G generally cover Medicare Part B excess charges. If a doctor is legally allowed to charge more than the Medicare-approved amount for a service, that difference is called the Part B extra charge.
- Plans C, D, F, G, M, and N may cover emergency medical care when you’re traveling (80% up to plan limits).
When can you buy a Medicare Supplement plan in Washington?
You can apply to buy a Medicare Supplement plan in Washington anytime – you just have to be enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B. But there’s one important enrollment period you should know about: your Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period (OEP). Your OEP begins the first month when you’re 65 or more years old and enrolled in Medicare Part B, and it lasts for six months.
Why is this time period so important? That’s because during your OEP, if you have health problems, an insurance company can’t reject your application or charge you more than it would charge a healthy person.
If you wait until after your OEP to buy a Medicare Supplement plan, the insurance company can review your health history and status. It can charge you a higher premium for your health condition, or reject your application altogether. Read more about your guaranteed-issue rights to buy a Medicare Supplement plan.
I’d be happy to explain more about Medicare Supplement plans in Washington. You can use the links below to set up a phone call with me or have me email you information. Again, you can also compare Medicare Supplement plans in Washington at your convenience – click the Find Plans button on this page to get started.
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