As Medicare original part A and B cover only limited expenses when it comes to health care services, patients are often left having to pay a share out of their own pockets. How much depends all on the service that you might require, as well as the health care provider you visit. For those, who are trying to limit their expenses for healthcare services, Medicare supplement plans might seem like a good idea. They cover benefits that would otherwise need to be paid for by the patient himself. However, will you be eligible for enrollment to one of these plans?
Eligibility for Medicare Supplement Plans
There are certain criteria that would first need to be fulfilled, in order to be able to purchase and enroll to one of the Medicare supplement plans. The first, main criterion is that these plans will only be available, after already being enrolled to Medicare part A or B. Without an original Medicare, supplement plans won´t be available. Health insurance companies are not allowed to sell these plans to those, who cannot prove their enrollment into one of the Medicare parts. To be able to enroll to a Medicare original part, you would need to be a citizen of the United States, or be a legal resident for at least five years in a row.
One major, additional criterion is also age. In general, Medicare supplement plans are available for those who are 65 and older. Once you turn 65, there is an enrollment period that lasts for 6 months after the day you have turned 65. During this period, you can stay assured that you can enroll to a Medicare supplement plan of your choice, without being denied. Also, at this point, your health condition and previous conditions won´t play a role to your premium rate.
For those who are under 65 and are looking into Medicare supplement plans, this might be different. Health insurance companies are only obliged to provide their plans to those 65 and older, however can freely choose and turn down anyone younger than that. In some states, however, law required the health insurance companies to provide at least one type of plan for those who are younger than 65. In these cases, the health insurance company is allowed to charge you a rate of their choice and in the process of setting this rate, they will take closer look at your health condition. If you have a condition already, especially a chronic one, the premium rates will probably be higher than for those who are healthy. Even after enrollment, any health condition you might get with time can result to an increase of the premium rate.
It is always recommended to check different kinds of health insurance companies, as they all have different rates that they offer. While the health insurance companies are not allowed to set the type of benefits a certain plan includes, the price of the rate is up to them, which is why different companies will charge different rates for the same plan.