It’s no secret that medical bills are a source of debt for many Americans. Medicare Supplement plans in Oklahoma can help you avoid surprise medical costs not covered by Medicare.
What Are Medicare Supplement Plans in Oklahoma?
Oklahoma Medicare Supplement, or Medigap, is private insurance that helps pay for costs not covered by Original Medicare, or Medicare Part A (hospital) and Part B (doctor and preventive services) benefits. Original Medicare can have high deductibles and doesn’t cap your out-of-pocket spending.
Oklahoma has 10 standard Medigap policies: A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M, and N. You can’t buy Plans C or F if you were eligible for Medicare on or after January 1, 2020. Medigap is usually for people 65 and older, but Oklahoma allows you to enroll if you’re under 65 and qualify for Medicare due to a disability.1
The best time to apply for a policy is during your Medigap Open Enrollment Period. You can get coverage for up to 100% of your Part A and B out-of-pocket costs. Because Medigap is designed to work seamlessly with Original Medicare, payments are usually sent directly to your provider. You just pay your Medigap premium to the insurance company. Your policy is guaranteed renewable as long as you pay on time — even if you develop health problems while enrolled.
What You Need to Know
You must have Medicare Part A and B to enroll in a Medigap policy, which is guaranteed renewable as long as you don’t miss any payments.
Oklahoma offers 10 types of Medigap plans, which cover varying amounts of your Part A and B out-of-pocket expenses. Plans C and F are not available if you qualified for Medicare on or after January 1, 2020.
You can get the best price on a policy if you sign up during your Medigap Open Enrollment Period.
How Do You Choose a Medicare Supplement Plan in Oklahoma?
- Do you need to visit a doctor or specialist often? Medicare Part B charges a 20% coinsurance for these visits. Most Oklahoma Medicare Supplement plans cover 100% of your Part B coinsurance.
- Do you need or expect to need extended care in an inpatient hospital or skilled-nursing facility? You should consider a plan that covers your Part A hospital coinsurance for these services.
- Do you currently travel or plan to travel overseas often? Most Medigap policies help pay for certain emergency care in foreign countries.
- Have you compared costs from different insurance companies? Companies that sell standard Medigap plans provide the same benefits, but prices for the same plan can vary. Compare several plans to find the best rates.
When Can You Enroll in Medigap?
Nearly 186,000 Oklahomans are enrolled in Medigap as of 2018.3 Although you can sign up for a policy at any time, you’re better off applying during your Medigap Open Enrollment Period (OEP). Your OEP gives you the right to buy any policy without having to pay more or being denied coverage because of current or past health. It begins the first day of the month you’re 65 and enrolled in Medicare Part B, and lasts for six months. If you’re under 65, you also get an open enrollment period when you sign up for Part B. Insurers must at least offer you Plan A during your OEP.4 Oklahoma law blocks companies from charging higher rates if you’re under 65.5
Outside of your OEP, insurers can ask you health questions (known as medical underwriting) to determine if you qualify. And if you do get approved, companies can charge you more and make you wait six months before covering any preexisting conditions. But these rules don’t apply if you have a guaranteed issue right, meaning you have other qualified coverage that changes or ends.
What Are the Most Popular Medigap Plans in Oklahoma and How Much Do They Cost?
If you want coverage for the majority of your Medicare expenses, Medigap Plans F, G, and N are the most popular choices. Let’s look at Oklahoma Medigap costs and features for each plan. Rates are based on a 65-year-old, nonsmoking female:6
- Plan F premiums range from $115 to $354 per month. It’s usually the most expensive plan because it covers the most costs. This is one of only two plans that pay the Part B deductible ($198 in 2020).7 There’s a high-deductible version of Plan F that has monthly premiums from $27 to $70.
- Plan G monthly premiums are between $96 and $324. It’s nearly identical to Plan F, except that it doesn’t cover the Part B deductible. You can choose a high-deductible option with premiums from $27 to $62.
- Plan N costs between $74 and $277 per month. It doesn’t cover the Part B deductible or Part B excess charges, but other benefits are the same as Plans F and G.
Which Companies Sell Medicare Supplement Plans in Oklahoma?
You can buy Medicare Supplement plans in Oklahoma from these 11 companies:8
- American Retirement Life Insurance Company
- Equitable Life and Casualty Insurance Company
- Healthcare Services Corporation
- Mutual of Omaha
- Omaha Insurance Company
- Pan-American Life Insurance Group
- Physicians Mutual Life Insurance Company
- United of Omaha Life Insurance Company
Oklahoma Medigap Companies That Sell Policies to People Under 65
Oklahoma Medicare beneficiaries under 65 can buy Medigap policies from these companies:9
- Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oklahoma
- Christian Fidelity Life Insurance Company
- Combined Insurance Company of America
- National States Insurance Company
- New Era Life Insurance Companies
- Old Surety Life Insurance Company
- Physicians Life Insurance Company
What If You Want to Change Your Oklahoma Medigap Policy?
The same rules for enrolling in Medigap apply to switching your policy. If your Open Enrollment Period has passed and you don’t have a guaranteed issue right, you might pay more or be denied if you change policies. If you decide to switch, you have 30 days from your new policy effective date to decide if you want to keep it. This is called your “free look period.” You usually can’t drop your first policy until your new policy becomes effective, so you’ll likely pay for both policies for one month.10
What Are Alternatives to Medicare Supplement?
Medicare Advantage (called Part C) is another type of private plan that provides benefits beyond Original Medicare. It works more like an HMO or a PPO. Less than 20% of Medicare beneficiaries (about 135,000) in Oklahoma have a Medicare Advantage plan as of 2018.11 In addition to Part A and B, plans often include prescription drug coverage. Some plans offer extras like dental, vision, and hearing coverage. You can even find plans with a $0 monthly premium.
You can’t have Medicare Advantage and Medigap at the same time. If you prefer a plan that combines many health benefits, Part C may be right for you. Keep in mind that you’re limited to your plan’s in-network providers. If you’d rather have protection against high out-of-pocket costs and the ability to see any Medicare provider nationwide, then you should choose Medigap.12
What Are the Medicare Resources in Oklahoma?
You can get Medicare assistance in Oklahoma through these organizations:
- Oklahoma’s Insurance Department (OID) regulates the sale of insurance products in the state. You can contact OID to learn specific laws about Medigap, check if an agent is licensed, or file complaints about an agent or insurance company.
- Oklahoma State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) helps seniors by providing counseling services for programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid.
- Medicaid and Medicare Savings Programs for low-income residents are provided through the Oklahoma Department of Human Services. You might qualify for both Medicaid and a savings program to reduce your Medicare premiums, deductibles, and coinsurance.13
- The Extra Help program from Social Security provides financial assistance for Medicare Part D prescription drug costs. If you meet income requirements, you can get help with your Part D premiums, copays, and deductibles.
A Medicare Supplement plan in Oklahoma can help you lower your Medicare Part A and B costs. If this seems like the best option for you, reach out to the insurance companies or use this tool to compare Oklahoma Medicare Supplement plans now.