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As in most other states, a Medicare Supplement insurance plan in Illinois helps with certain costs like copayments, coinsurance, deductibles, and other out-of-pocket costs that aren’t covered by Original Medicare. Also known as Medigap, these plans are used with Original Medicare, Part A and Part B, and beneficiaries must be enrolled in Part A and Part B to enroll in a Medicare Supplement insurance plan. Medigap plans can only be used to pay for certain Original Medicare costs; if you have Medicare Part C, these plans can’t be used to pay for Medicare Advantage plan costs.
Most states offer 10 different types of Medigap plans that beneficiaries can choose from, each designated by a single letter A through N (for example, Plan A). Each plan letter corresponds with a different level of coverage, and benefits are standardized across each plan type. However, the premium amount may vary, based on the specific location and insurance company offering the coverage.
Medicare Supplement insurance plans are offered through private insurance companies, meaning that availability may vary depending on where you live. A Medigap plan is generally guaranteed to be renewable, even if a beneficiary has health problems, as long as premiums continue to be paid.
Unlike with Original Medicare or Medicare Advantage plans, you can generally enroll in a Medicare Supplement insurance plan any time of the year once you’re eligible; there aren’t regular enrollment periods. However, like the rest of the country, the best time to enroll in a Medicare Supplement insurance plan in Illinois is during the Medigap Open Enrollment Period. This period begins automatically on the first day of the month that a beneficiary is at least 65 years old and enrolled in Medicare Part B. It lasts for six months.
During this time, beneficiaries have guaranteed-issue rights, meaning they can enroll in any Medigap plan sold in their area without being subject to medical underwriting, and insurance companies cannot deny coverage or charge higher premiums based on their health status. If you have pre-existing conditions* or disabilities, you’ll typically have the most options available to you if you enroll in a Medigap plan during your Medigap Open Enrollment Period.
Once this period has passed, you only have guaranteed-issue rights in certain situations (for example, if you lose your Medigap coverage because your insurance company goes bankrupt). If you switch plans or enroll in a Medicare Supplement insurance plan for the first time, you may be subject to medical underwriting or higher premiums — or you may have difficulty finding a Medigap plan to cover you altogether.
As mentioned, benefits are standardized across each plan letter, so the main difference between Medigap plans is the cost of the plan. This means that it’s generally in your best interest to shop around to find Medicare Supplement insurance for the best value. Beneficiaries interested in a Medicare Supplement insurance plan in Illinois may want to start by deciding the level of coverage they need, based on their budget and health needs. After that, they can then shop around for the most cost-effective option within that plan type.
Need help finding Medicare Supplement insurance that may work for your situation? Contact eHealth today for personalized assistance with your Medicare needs.
*Pre-existing conditions are generally health conditions that existed before the start of a policy. They may limit coverage, be excluded from coverage, or even prevent you from being approved for a policy; however, the exact definition and relevant limitations or exclusions of coverage will vary with each plan, so check a specific plan’s official plan documents to understand how that plan handles pre-existing conditions.
eHealth's Medicare website is operated by eHealthInsurance Services, Inc., a licensed health insurance agency doing business as eHealth. The purpose of this site is the solicitation of insurance. Contact may be made by an insurance agent/producer or insurance company. eHealth and Medicare supplement insurance plans are not connected with or endorsed by the U.S. government or the federal Medicare program. We offer plans from a number of insurance companies.