As you near your golden years, you’ve probably learned how to shop intelligently for everything from the best food products to appropriate housing solutions. But one thing that many seniors have trouble with is shopping for a Medicare plan, as they’ve never faced these specific options before. If you’re nearing eligibility for Medicare or want to know about the options for expanded coverage, it will be necessary to research your options thoroughly before making a decision. Fortunately, North Dakota offers many interesting Medicare supplement plans from standard Medigap plans to personalized Medicare Advantage plans. Continue reading to learn about what coverage is available and what other North Dakota seniors are choosing, so you can have the information you need to make a proper decision.
Medigap vs. Medicare Advantage
In North Dakota, as in most other states, seniors have two primary options for Medicare supplements; Medigap and Medicare Advantage. Over 50% of eligible North Carolina seniors have some form of Medicare supplement, with the majority of seniors choosing Medigap over Medicare Advantage. Also known as Medicare Part C, Medicare Advantage covers the expenses not typically covered by Medicare Parts A and B, such as copays and premiums. In contrast, Medigap is a form of health insurance that covers services which are not covered by Medicare such as hospice care, time spent in a skilled nursing facility and travel health insurance, among other things. Most Medigap plans also offer full coverage of the expenses not covered by Medicare Plans A and B, though Medigap Plans K and L offer only partial coverage of these expenses.
Like standard health insurance, Medicare Advantage has three different options: PPO, HMO and FFS plans. Most North Dakota seniors who have Medicare Advantage plans opt for fee for service plans, which allow policyholders to get full coverage when visiting any Medicare-approved physician, and partial coverage when visiting out of network service providers. PPO plans are also somewhat popular in the state, though North Dakota seniors seem to have utter disdain for the HMO plans available from Medicare Advantage, and enrollment in these plans is nearly nonexistent.
Unlike Medicare Advantage, Medigap is available in ten different plans, which offer a veritable smorgasbord of services, and seniors can choose the appropriate plan based upon the coverage offered. Seniors who wish to be covered for health services when traveling, for example, can choose Medigap Plans C, D, F, G, M or N. Those who want travel coverage in addition to coverage of fees not covered by Medicare Part B will be limited to Medigap Plans F and G which offer both of these services. Services covered by all Medigap plans include Part A coinsurance and coverage of up to 365 days of hospital stays, some part of nursing facility and hospice care and up to three pints of blood (which is covered full by Medigap Plans A, B, C, D, F, G, M and N, and partially by plans K and L).
Know Your Rights
In North Dakota, as in all other states, enrollees in a Medicare supplement plan have certain rights and certain limitations that should be known from the start. Firstly, applications can be submitted only during the Medicare open enrollment period (6 months around the time each North Dakota resident turns 65), or from October 15 through December 7th on any given year. Seniors cannot apply for a Medicare supplement at any other time.
Applications for Medicare supplemental insurance must be accepted in most cases (except for applicants with end stage renal disease), though seniors with preexisting health conditions who apply after their personal open enrollment period may be required to wait for some services . North Dakota seniors are also entitled to a ‘free look’, a month in which they can test out the policy and cancel for any reason if they are not satisfied. It must be noted, however, that North Dakota seniors who wish to change their policy rather than cancelling it must wait until the next open enrollment period in order to reenroll in a Medicare supplement plan.
Medicare supplements allow North Dakota seniors to pay reasonable monthly fees for coverage of the potentially expensive healthcare services that are required as people age. Make sure to shop carefully to compare prices and to understand exactly what coverage is provided so that your health insurance policy will work for you when the time comes.
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