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The First 3 Steps in Acquiring Medicare Supplement Coverage in Florida


Introduction


Are you at least sixty-five years old and looking for supplemental insurance in the state of Florida?  If so, it's time that you looked into Medicare supplement coverage.  Finding the right Medicare supplement plan could go a long way to providing you with the stability you need in your retirement.
Knowing this, let's go over the basics of Medicare supplement coverage and break down the first three steps to acquiring this valuable insurance in the state of Florida. 


What is Medicare Supplement Coverage (Medigap)?


Before you make the leap to acquiring a Medicare supplement plan, it's important to know what this coverage is and what it could mean for you and your family.  Simply put, Medicare supplement coverage is additional insurance not offered in traditional Medicare plans.  Alternatively known as "Medigap," these supplement plans help pay medical costs that are not included in a consumer's base Medicare plan.
What does this mean for you?  Basically, it means that Medigap coverage could help bear costs in the following areas: insurance deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance.
If you feel your traditional Medicare plan does not offer you the coverage you need, it may be time to see what Medigap options are available for you.
It's important to know that Medigap plans are offered through private companies.  Keep in mind that Medigap plans are not the same as Medicare Advantage Plans. (For the pros and cons of Medicare Advantage plans, click here.)
Remember that because Medigap is used to supplement Original Medicare plans, it can be used in situations where your traditional Part A and Part B plans don't provide coverage.
In total, there are ten Medigap plans that potential consumers should consider.  We'll discuss these plans in more depth so that you can make the decision that's right for you. 


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Who is Eligible for Medicare Supplement Coverage in Florida? 


To be eligible for a Medigap plan in the state of Florida, you must meet certain requirements.  Let's take a look at the requisite conditions consumers must satisfy to successfully apply for Medigap insurance.
For starters, you must be enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B.  If you don't have Original Medicare coverage, you will not be able to buy a supplemental plan.  Because Medigap contains only supplemental policies that you can add onto traditional Medicare coverage, you must first be enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B to qualify.
This means that you will likely need to be aged 65 or older to apply for Medigap insurance in the state of Florida (as this is the age when most Medicare plans start).  Despite this, the state of Florida requires Medigap insurance companies to provide at least one type of supplemental insurance to individuals who—through disability or poor health—are eligible for early Medicare. 

Knowing this, who isn't eligible for Medigap insurance?  You may think that your Medicare Advantage Plan qualifies you for Medigap.  Unfortunately, only holders of Original Medicare insurance are eligible for Medigap.  This means that if you are seeking supplemental insurance, you will have to switch your Medicare plan.
Let's take a brief look at a few insurance plans that don't offer supplemental Medigap coverage:

  • Medicare Advantage Plans—If you hold a Medicare HMO, PPO, or Private Fee-for-Service Plan, you are not eligible for Medigap insurance. 
  • Medicaid—Medicaid does not provide access to Medigap plans. 
  • Veterans' Benefits—Like Medicaid, Veterans' benefits do not give you access to supplemental Medicare coverage. 
  • —If you have a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan, keep in mind that you will need Original Medicare to be eligible for Medigap.  Unfortunately, Medigap acquisition does not mean that you can drop your Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.  Since 2006, Medigap has been barred from covering the cost of prescription drugs.  


Keeping these eligibility requirements in mind can help you decide if Medigap insurance is right for you.

How Does Medigap Work in the State of Florida?


If you meet the eligibility requirements for Medigap insurance in Florida, you may be wondering how exactly Medigap insurance works.  Is the payment rolled up into one bulk Medicare cost, or will you be forced to pay two different premiums?  Additionally, does Medigap insurance offer spousal coverage, or is it just for one person?
Let's take a look at these questions and break down the answers.  Because Medigap works differently than Original Medicare, it's important you understand the differences between the two plans.
If you enroll in a Medigap plan, you will be forced to pay an additional premium on top of your existing Part B premium.  Additionally, this premium will be payed on a monthly basis.  Furthermore, these plans cover only one individual.  If you are seeking supplemental coverage for both you and your spouse, keep in mind that each member of the relationship must apply for his or her own policy.
What's more, Medigap coverage in the state of Florida must be purchased through private insurance companies.  You'll find that different insurance companies have different premium structures (and therefore different prices) when it comes to their Medigap plans.
In the event that you need to use your health insurance, your Part A or Part B plan will cover the cost of anything included in your Original Medicare coverage.  After this, your Medigap insurance will kick in to help cover expenses not covered in your Original Medicare plan.
As long as you continue to pay your monthly Medigap premiums, you will be in no danger of losing your coverage.  Because Medigap is guaranteed-renewable, you can keep your coverage even if you fall ill or have a downward turn in your health.
If you plan on applying for Medigap coverage, understanding these basics on how Medigap works is crucial to getting the most out of your plan.

Steps to Finding the Right Medicare Supplement Plan for You
Finding the right Medigap plan for your situation doesn't have to be difficult.  Though it can be overwhelming at first, by following the steps below, you can painlessly find the perfect plan.
Keep the following information in mind as you start applying for Medigap coverage. 

  • Research and Choose a Medigap Plan
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First, you'll need to research the different Medicare Supplement plans available.  Currently, there are ten different supplement plans available: A – N.
By understanding these different plans, you can choose the one that best fits your situation. 

 

  • Find Out the Price of Your Plan

Once you've chosen the plan that's right for you, it's time to start looking for an insurance company.  Though this may sound complicated, the good news is that the state of Florida has made it exceptionally easy to find Medigap insurers in your area.  Let's take a look at a detailed step-by-step process to finding insurers near you. 

  • Go to the Official Site of the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation

First, you'll want to access the website of the official Florida Office of Insurance Regulation.  Here, you can find a wealth of information pertaining to a variety of different insurance types as they apply in the state of Florida.  Use this resource for official in-depth information regarding a variety of different insurance types.
This user-friendly site does more than provide general information.  You can also use it to find insurance providers in your local area.  Those looking for Medigap coverage can even see a list of providers, which plans they carry, average premiums, contact information, and even a rating class for each carrier. 

  • Click on "Rate Comparison Tools"

To access this information, find a tab labeled "Rate Comparison Tools" on the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation site homepage.  This tab will be located in a square box in the body section of the homepage. 

  • Click on "Medicare Supplement"

After clicking on this tab, you will be redirected to another page.  This page explains the different online rate comparison tools offered by the office.  Scroll down until you see a box labeled "Medicare Supplement. "

  • Select Your County

By clicking on this box, you will be redirected to a screen that will allow you to search Medigap insurance providers in your county.  
You should be prompted with a map of Florida labeled with its different counties.  Search the map and find your county and click on it to proceed to the next step.
For example, if you live in Polk County, select the portion of the map labeled "Polk. "

  • Enter Your Information

Once you've selected your county, you will be redirected to another webpage.  Here, you will be prompted to enter specific information regarding yourself and the Medigap plan you're looking for.
You'll need to enter your:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Smoker/Non-Smoker Status
  • Insurance Type (Select or Standard)
  • Zip Code
  • Plan of Your Choice (A – N)*

*You also have the option to select "all plans" to see a full list of plans provided in your area.
Once you click "search," you'll be redirected to another, final page where you'll see a full list of insurance providers in your area.
It's here that you can find information regarding which insurance carriers include which plans, as well as annual premiums and contact information.
Be sure to review this information carefully Before proceeding to the next step. 

  • Contact Insurance Companies in Your Area

With this information at your disposal, it's time to make a few phone calls.  Though you can be reasonably sure that the information is correct, be sure to verify it with the insurance provider themselves before applying.  This can prevent costly mistakes, delays, and even denials in the future.
Fortunately, the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation provides a contact phone number for each company.  Be sure to review the information provided so that you can form a list of questions to ask each insurance provider.  This way you can ensure that you're choosing both the plan and the insurance company right for you.
Use this as a chance to ask any question that you may have, as it may be too late to back out once you've applied. 


The Bottom Line


By taking the right precautions, you can increase your chances of being approved for a Medigap plan.  This includes researching different plans available and finding the right insurance provider in your area.
By staying informed, you can increase your approval odds, as well as choose the plan that best suits your needs.
To start applying for Medigap insurance, consider the first three steps above.  By taking advantage of this information, you can streamline your application process.  You'll also be able to enjoy a sounder peace of mind in knowing that you've chosen the plan right for you.
To do this, make sure to research different plans, find the right insurance provider, and contact them before applying.  By doing so, you can be sure to apply for Medicare Supplement plans in Florida the right way. 

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