by Russell Noga | Updated July 10th, 2023
Original Medicare Parts A & B are federally funded financial assistance programs for seniors.
These policies help millions of seniors across the country cope with the rising healthcare costs as they age. However, Medicare Parts A & B don’t cover all your hospitalization and medical care expenses.
Parts A & B account for 80% of these costs, leaving beneficiaries with a 20% financial responsibility.
Medicare supplement policies, “Medigap,” are available from private healthcare insurers. A Medigap policy provides further financial assistance to cover the remaining 20% of out-of-pocket costs associated with Original Medicare Parts A & B.
What Is Medicare Supplement Plan B?
It’s important not to confuse Medigap Plan B with Original Medicare Part B. Both are very different insurance policies with different coverage.
Medicare Plan B is a step up from Medicare Plan A. This plan offers good coverage for Part A hospital expenses.
So, it’s a good choice for seniors who want medical emergency coverage. Unlike Plan A, you have full coverage for the Part A deductible.
Like Plan A, Medigap Plan B doesn’t include coverage for Part B expenses. Medicare supplement Plan B is a good choice for seniors looking for an affordable policy because they live on a fixed income.
It’s also a good choice for seniors who rarely visit the doctor or the emergency room and don’t incur these yearly expenses.
What Does Medicare Supplement Plan B Cover?
A federal agency called the CMS regulates all Medigap plans. They ensure all private healthcare insurers selling Medigap policies offer consistency in Plan B benefits.
So, the Plan B policy you get with Aetna offers the same Plan B benefits as a Plan B policy with UnitedHealthcare.
Medigap Plan B is a less comprehensive option than most of the other supplemental Medigap plans. Here are the benefits you get with your Plan B policy.
- Part A coinsurance and hospital costs for up to 365 days after using up Medicare benefits.
- Part A hospice care coinsurance or copayment.
- Part B coinsurance or copayment.
- Blood transfusion costs for the first three pints of blood.
- Part A deductible.
What Isn’t Covered by Medicare Supplement Plan B?
Medicare supplement Plan B doesn’t offer coverage for healthcare expenses associated with Original Medicare Part B.
That means you don’t have coverage for most medical services. Here’s what’s not included with your Plan B policy.
- Part B excess charges.
- Skilled nursing facility care coinsurance.
- Emergency care during travel outside the United States.
- Part B deductible.
Plan B doesn’t cover any preventative or cosmetic treatments; it only covers expenses associated with Original Medicare Part A.
That means you don’t have coverage for vision, dental, and hearing services. You also don’t get coverage for prescriptions, private-duty nursing, or stays at nursing homes.
What are the Average Monthly Premiums for Medicare Supplement Plan B?
The cost of a Plan B policy varies across the industry and country.
Medigap providers don’t have to comply with any regulations surrounding how much they charge for plans. As a result, the costs of a Plan B policy, or any Medigap plan, vary widely between providers.
The average cost of Plan B premiums across all providers and states ranges between $110-$210 per month.
You could get a quote from Humana that’s lower than a quote from Blue Cross Blue Shield or another provider. That’s why shopping around for your Medigap plan premiums is important.
Prices also vary by state. For example, beneficiaries in New York will pay more in monthly premiums for Medigap plans than those living in North Dakota.
The insurers use your age, gender, location, and smoking status to determine your premiums.
Is Medicare Supplement Plan B Available in Massachusetts, Minnesota, or Wisconsin?
Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Massachusetts have federal waivers allowing the state to operate Medigap regulations differently from the rest of the country.
In these locations, you have options for Medigap plans in the following categories: “Basic,” “Basic with riders,” “Extended Basic,” and Medigap plans F, K, L, M, and N.
So, Medigap Plan B is not available in these states, and you’ll have to go with the Basic plan for similar benefits and premiums.
How Do You Enroll in Medicare Supplement Plan B?
You can enroll in Medigap Plan B in the first six months after turning 65. This period is known as “Open Enrollment” and applies to all seniors with Original Medicare Parts A & B.
During the Open Enrollment period, you can choose any Medigap plan and any provider for your policy.
The insurer must accept your application to join the Medigap plan. The provider can’t charge you more in monthly premiums than the average rate if you have a pre-existing condition, and they can’t refuse your application.
Failing to join a Medigap plan during Open Enrollment means undergoing medical underwriting.
If you have pre-existing conditions, the provider can deny your application or charge you higher-than-average premiums for your plan premiums.
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What are the Best Alternatives to Medicare Supplement Plan B?
Medigap Plan N is a good alternative to Medigap Plan B. You get the same basic coverage but better benefits for Part B services.
You also have unlimited out-of-pocket maximums and coverage for traveling outside the United States.
Many healthcare providers don’t offer Plan B as part of their Medigap range. As a result, you’ll have to go with another policy for your Medigap coverage.
Plan N is widely available, and premiums are affordable and fall within the same range as Plan B monthly rates in many states.
With Plan N, you get additional perks from insurers, including discounts on gym memberships, hearing, dental, and vision services, and OTC medications and supplement if you use providers in their network.
Call Us to Learn More About Medicare Supplement Plan B
For more information on Medicare supplement Plan B or any other Medigap plan, call our office at 1-888-891-0229.
Our team of fully licensed Medigap agents offers free consultations and quotes on all Medigap plans.
If you can’t call us right now, leave your contact details on our web form. We’ll get a Medigap expert to contact you. Or you can use the tool on our site to get a free automated quote on a Plan B policy or any other Medigap plan.
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Discovering the most suitable Medicare plan doesn’t have to be confusing. Whether it’s a Medigap plan, or you have questions about Medicare Advantage or Medicare Part D, we can help.
Call us today at 1-888-891-0229 and one of our knowledgeable, licensed insurance agents will be happy to assist you!
Russell Noga is the CEO of Medisupps.com, an online Medicare Agency and resource center helping Medicare beneficiaries learn about Medicare, Medigap and Part D drug plans, and Medicare Advantage plans since 2009. Russell is licensed in all 50 states and has been featured as a keynote speaker, and author of several publications, along with hosting the very popular Medisupps.com Youtube channel.