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Medicare Supplement Plans in Alabama

What is a Medicare Supplement plan?

In Alabama, a Medicare Supplement plan is available to beneficiaries who are currently enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B. Also referred to as Medigap, these plans provide coverage for copayments, deductibles and coinsurance, as well as medical services not covered by Original Medicare. Medicare Supplement plans in Alabama are designed to work with Part A and Part B, and they cannot stand alone as health coverage like a Medicare Advantage plan.

Most states offer 10 different types of Medicare Supplement plans, which are sold by private insurance companies. The best time for beneficiaries to enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan in Alabama is during the Medigap Open Enrollment Period. This period begins on the first day of the month that the beneficiary is both 65 or older and enrolled in Medicare Part B, and runs for six consecutive months. Beneficiaries must be enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B prior to enrolling in a Medigap plan.

During the initial Medigap Open Enrollment Period (OEP), beneficiaries have the guaranteed issue right to enroll in a plan of their choosing, meaning that companies are not allowed to deny or charge more to beneficiaries with pre-existing medical conditions. Once a Medigap plan is purchased, the insurance company cannot cancel the policy, even if the beneficiary develops health issues. However, beneficiaries who enroll in a Medigap plan outside this initial enrollment period may be charged more for the plan (pricing of these plans can also change because of other factors). They can even be denied coverage by the insurance company.

Medigap plans do not include specialized coverage, such as vision or dental care. The plans also have not offered prescription drug coverage since January 1, 2006. Beneficiaries interested in prescription drug coverage should consider a Prescription Drug Plan (Medicare Part D) for their needs. Medigap plans cannot be purchased if a beneficiary currently has a Medicare Advantage plan.

Choosing Medicare Supplement plans in Alabama

In Alabama, Medicare Supplement plans of the same type will offer identical benefits. The differences in the plans will primarily be in the cost, which may vary from company to company. When comparing Medicare Supplement plans in Alabama, beneficiaries should first familiarize themselves with the benefits included in each type of plan. Once they know which plan type will best meet their medical needs, a specific plan can be chosen based on the cost of the coverage.

Trends in Medicare Supplement plans in Alabama

Trends involving Medicare Supplement plans in Alabama include:

  • There were 32 companies offering Medigap Supplement plans in Alabama in 2012.
  • All 10 Medigap plans were available in the state.
  • Average monthly premiums ranged from $31 to $187 for 65-year-old beneficiaries.
  • There are no Medigap plans in Alabama for disabled residents under the age of 65.
  • The total number of Medicare beneficiaries in the state was 881,686.
  • That number made up 18% of the total population in Alabama.

Data provided by the Alabama Department of Insurance and the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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