What You Need to Know
You can enroll in a Wyoming Medigap policy anytime. The best time to enroll, however, is during your Medigap Open Enrollment Period.
The most popular Medicare Supplement plans are Plans F, G and N.
To find the Medicare Supplement insurance plan that’s right for you, decide which plans best serve your healthcare needs and contact at least two or three insurance companies to compare prices.
What Are Medicare Supplement Plans in Wyoming?
People are often surprised to discover that Original Medicare (Medicare Parts A and B) doesn’t cover all healthcare costs, including deductibles, copays and coinsurance. Wyoming Medicare Supplement plans, also known as Medigap policies, help to cover those costs. These plans are sold by Medicare-approved private insurance companies. When you have a Medicare Supplement plan, Medicare pays first, and then the Medigap policy pays its share of Medicare-approved costs according to the terms of the plan.
Medigap policies, which go by letters from A to N, are standardized, which means Plan A from one company offers the same benefits as Plan A from another insurance company.1
When Can You Enroll in Medigap?
You can enroll in a Medigap policy anytime. The best time to enroll, however, is during your Medigap Open Enrollment Period. This period lasts for six months and starts the month you are both 65 (or older) and enrolled in Medicare Part B. During your open enrollment, insurance companies cannot decline your application due to your health.
You can also enroll without having your application declined due to health conditions if you have guaranteed issue rights. You may have guaranteed issue rights if:
- You’re enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan and your plan is leaving Medicare or stopping service in your area, or you’ve moved out of your plan service area.
- You have Original Medicare plus an employer or union plan and that plan is ending.
- You joined a Medicare Advantage plan when you were first eligible for Medicare Part A, and within the first year of joining, you decide you want to switch back to original Medicare.
- You dropped a Medigap policy to join a Medicare Advantage plan for the first time, you’ve been in the plan for less than a year, and you decide you want to switch back to your Medigap plan.
- Your Medicare supplement insurance company goes bankrupt.
- You leave your Medicare Advantage plan or Medicare Supplement plan because the plan misled you. 2
Outside of your Medigap Open Enrollment Period, insurance companies can decline your application due to past or present health conditions, charge you more due to those health conditions or make you wait for coverage for those conditions to start. Medicare will cover you for pre-existing conditions, even if your Medigap policy has a waiting period for coverage.3
Outside Open Enrollment
If you decide to enroll outside of your Medigap Open Enrollment Period, keep in mind that insurance companies are allowed to turn you down or charge you more for a policy, except under certain circumstances.
What Are the Most Popular Medicare Supplement Plans?
Plan F is the most popular Medicare Supplement plan. Over 50% of all people enrolled in a Medigap policy are enrolled in Plan F. This plan is a popular option because it covers most of Medicare’s out-of-pocket costs, including:
- Part A coinsurance
- Part B coinsurance or copayments
- The first three pints of blood
- Part A hospice care coinsurance or copayment
- Skilled nursing facility care coinsurance
- Part A and Part B deductibles
- Part B excess charges
- 80% of certain medically necessary emergency care outside the U.S. (subject to plan limits)
Unfortunately, Plan F is no longer being sold to people who became eligible for Medicare on or after January 1, 2020. If you had Medicare before January 1, 2020, you might be able to switch to Plan F if you have guaranteed issue rights or if you meet an insurance company’s underwriting requirements for their plan.
Plan G is the second most popular plan, with 17% of people in a Medicare Supplement plan enrolled in this one.5 It covers the same medical expenses as Plan F except for the Part B deductible.
Medigap Plan N is the next most popular plan, with 10% of people who have a Medicare Supplement enrolled in this plan. It covers the out-of-pocket expenses covered by Plan F except for the Part B deductible and Part B excess charges. It also has copayments: up to $20 for some doctor visits and a copayment of up to $50 for emergency room visits that don’t result in an inpatient admission.6
Medicare Supplement plans are standardized, so you receive the same benefits for a Plan G, for example, regardless of which company you purchase it from. Only the prices will vary from company to company.
How Do You Choose a Medicare Supplement Plan?
To choose a Wyoming Medicare Supplement plan, start by deciding which plan(s) you’re interested in. Next, visit the Medicare Plan Finder to find insurance companies selling these plans in Wyoming. Compare the prices of plans you’re interested in from different insurance companies.
Keep in mind that the plans are standardized, so you receive the same benefits regardless of which company you purchase the plan from. The prices vary by company, however. This is because insurance companies can use one of three methods to price their plans.
- Community-rated plans: With this pricing method, insurance companies charge everyone the same premium regardless of their age or gender. Your premiums may go up because of inflation and other factors, but not due to your age.
- Issue-age-rated plans: With this method, insurance companies base your premiums on your age when you buy the policy. This means that younger people buying a plan have lower premiums and those premiums won’t increase due to age. Your premiums may increase because of inflation, however.
- Attained-age-rated plans: With this pricing method, insurance companies base your premium on the age you are right now, so your premiums increase as you age. These plans are often the cheapest option when you’re younger, but they can become the most expensive plans as you age. Premiums can also increase due to inflation and other factors.7
Ask potential insurance companies which method they use for pricing their plans.
Do Medicare Supplement Plans Offer Prescription Drug Coverage?
Medicare Supplement plans do not include prescription drug coverage. For this coverage, consider buying a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan.8 You can find these plans using the Medicare Plan Finder.
How Much Do Medigap Policies Cost?
In Wyoming, a Plan F policy for a 65-year-old male Medicare beneficiary who doesn’t use tobacco ranges from $136-$433. A Plan F for a woman with a similar profile costs from $119-$383.
A Plan G policy for a non-tobacco-using male who is 65 years old ranges from $109-$416. The same plan for a female with a similar profile is $95-$369.
A Plan N policy for a male who is 65 and doesn’t use tobacco ranges from $87-$350. The same plan for a female with a similar profile ranges from $76-$310.
What If You Want to Change Your Medigap Policy?
If you want to change your Medigap policy, you will need to apply for a different plan and meet the insurance company’s underwriting requirements unless you have guaranteed issue rights (see “When Can You Enroll in Medigap?”). You can change your plan at any time.9
What Are Alternatives to Medicare Supplement Plans?
Medicare Advantage (MA) plans are an alternative to Medicare Supplement plans. MA plans are a bundled, all-in-one alternative to Original Medicare. These plans typically have deductibles and copays and often include Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage.
Unlike Medigap policies, MA plans may have a provider network. Most are health maintenance organization (HMO) plans, but some are preferred provider organization (PPO) or private fee-for-service (PFFS) plans. They may also have additional benefits, such as vision, dental and hearing care. 10
What Are Medicare Resources in Wyoming?
Wyoming offers several Medicare resources to its residents. The Wyoming State Health Insurance Information Program, or SHIP, offers free, unbiased counseling about Medicare and Medicare Supplement plans. Call 1-800-856-4398 for assistance.
If you have a complaint about your Medicare Supplement plan, you can file it online with the Wyoming Department of Insurance or by calling 307-777-7402.
If you have limited income and assets, you can apply for Wyoming Medicaid, which provides free and low-cost healthcare assistance. Apply online or by calling 1-855-294-2127.
To find the Medicare Supplement plan that’s right for you, decide which plans cover your healthcare needs and contact at least two or three insurance companies to compare prices. Be sure to compare prices on the same lettered plans — for example, compare one company’s Plan G to another company’s Plan G — so you’re making an apples-to-apples comparison.
Choose a plan with reasonable prices and keep in mind that attained-age policies may go up in price more than other pricing methods, so the cheapest plan now may not necessarily be the least expensive plan in the long run.
You’ll also need to pay your Medicare Part B premium, which ranges from $148.50 to $504.90 per month, depending on your income.11 If you want prescription coverage, you should also consider budgeting for a Medicare Part D plan. If you need assistance, don’t hesitate to contact Wyoming’s resources for people with Medicare.