What You Need to Know
Original Medicare doesn’t cover all of your medical costs. Medicare Supplement plans help pay for out-of-pocket expenses.
Medicare Supplement plans don’t cover prescription drugs. You’ll have to purchase a Medicare Part D plan to cover your medication costs.
Most seniors get access to Medicare when they turn 65. This federal healthcare program helps cover your regular medical expenses, like doctor visits. Original Medicare, Parts A, and B don’t pay for everything. You’ll still have out-of-pocket costs like deductibles or coinsurance.
You can get extra coverage for out-of-pocket expenses with Medicare Supplement plans in Nebraska. Also called Medigap policies, these plans are standardized (named by letters A through N) and offered by private insurance companies. A Medicare Supplement Insurance plan helps pay for out-of-pocket costs that aren’t covered by Medicare.
When Can You Enroll in Medigap?
- Medigap Open Enrollment Period (OEP): Your first chance to enroll in a Medigap policy is during the six months after you turn 65 and enroll in Medicare Part B. Known as your OEP, this is the best time to sign up for a Medigap policy. That’s because insurance companies can’t deny you coverage or charge you higher prices based on any health issues or preexisting conditions. Your OEP gives you access to the most plans at the best prices.1
- Outside Open Enrollment Period: You can join a Medicare Supplement plan anytime outside of your OEP as well. However, insurance companies don’t have to offer you a plan and can charge you higher prices because of your health.
- Guaranteed Issue: You may be able to join a plan without health restrictions outside of your OEP. Certain circumstances give you a guaranteed issue right, which allows you to buy a Medigap policy without being charged more or rejected because of your health.2
- Special Enrollment Period: Situations where you have a guaranteed issue right to buy a Medicare Supplement plan in Nebraska include:
When to Sign Up
The best time to sign up for a Medicare Supplement plan is during your Medigap Open Enrollment Period.
What Are the Most Popular Medicare Supplement Plans?
Medicare Supplement plans in Nebraska have over 180,000 members. Of those enrollees, over 108,000 are enrolled in Medicare Supplement Plan F. Plan G has over 58,000 enrollees, while over 5,000 Medicare beneficiaries are enrolled in Plan N.3
- Plan F: The most popular Medigap policy pays your Medicare Part A and B deductibles, as well as many costs of Medicare Part A. The plan covers Part A coinsurance for hospital stays, hospice care and care at a skilled nursing facility. However, Plan F isn’t available for people who become eligible for Medicare after January 1, 2020.
- Plan G: If you aren’t eligible for Plan F, this plan offers similar coverage. Plan G covers coinsurance for hospital stays, skilled nursing care and doctor visits. It won’t cover your Medicare Part B deductible.
- Plan N: This Medigap policy covers your Medicare Part A deductible and coinsurance. It also pays your Part B coinsurance, but not the Part B deductible or excess charges. Medicare Part B excess charges happen when a doctor charges more than Medicare agrees to pay for a service.
How Do You Choose a Medicare Supplement Plan?
It’s easy to compare Medicare Supplement plans in Nebraska to one another because each plan is standardized. You can check the coverage of each plan first. You’ll be able to compare insurance providers after choosing which plan is right for you.
Remember that Medigap policies don’t cover prescription drugs, so you’ll probably want to purchase a Medicare Part D plan as well.
Outside Your OEP
In certain situations, you can sign up for or switch Medigap policies outside your OEP without facing a penalty.
How Much Do Medigap Policies Cost in Nebraska?
Insurance companies use three methods to determine the cost of your premiums. Plan types include:
- Community-rated: Everyone pays the same price for coverage, regardless of age.
- Issue-age-rated: Your premiums are based on your age when you sign up for the plan and don’t go up as you get older.
- Attained-age-rated: Your premiums increase as you age.4
If you live in Omaha, for example, your monthly cost for Plan G could be between $97 and $934. If you choose the high-deductible Plan G option, your premiums might range from $32 to $173 per month. Remember you’ll also need to pay the Medicare Part B premium ($148.50 per month for most people).5
Who Sells Medicare Supplement Plans in Nebraska?
Medigap policies are offered by private insurance carriers, and not all insurers offer every plan. Insurance provider options can also vary between locations. Medicare Supplement plans in Nebraska are offered by companies including:
What If You Want to Change Your Medigap Policy?
Medicare Supplement plans in Nebraska can be switched at any time. All you need to do is apply for a new plan. Be aware, however, that you could be denied coverage outside of your OEP. Insurance companies could also charge you higher rates or impose a waiting period based on your health. These restrictions don’t apply if you have a guaranteed issue right.
To change plans after your application is accepted, contact your existing insurance provider and request to cancel your coverage.
What Are Alternatives to Medicare Supplement?
The most common alternative to Medigap policies are Medicare Advantage (MA) plans, or Medicare Part C. MA plans are different from Medigap policies. Instead of supplementing Original Medicare, MA plans to replace it with coverage from a private insurance company.
Most MA plans in Nebraska use HMO or PPO provider networks to keep costs lower. Many plans also include coverage for dental and vision care as well as prescription drug coverage.
What Are Medicare Resources in Nebraska?
- State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP): Nebraska SHIP is a state-run program that offers seniors resources on Medicare. Free, unbiased counseling services can help you find the right coverage and enroll.
- Nebraska Department of Insurance: This state department regulates the Nebraska insurance industry. It helps fight fraud and provides information to insurance consumers, including Medicare enrollees.
- ACCESSNebraska (Medicaid): The Medicaid program helps low-income seniors and those with certain disabilities get access to low or no-cost health coverage. You must meet eligibility requirements to sign up.
Compare Medicare Supplement plans in Nebraska before turning 65 or enrolling in Medicare. Knowing what plan you want when you join Medicare will make it easier for you to get coverage during your OEP.