by Russell Noga | Updated June 19th, 2023
Medicare Supplement Insurance helps make the cost of healthcare more affordable for millions of Original Medicare beneficiaries.
That’s because it helps to cover the out-of-pocket expenses that aren’t covered by Medicare Part A and Part B, such as copays, coinsurance, and deductibles.
Needless to say, if you recently enrolled in Medicare or you’re planning on enrolling in the near future, supplementary insurance is a sound investment.
Before you purchase supplementary coverage, however, there’s no doubt you have a lot of questions.
“Do you have to renew Medicare Supplement every year” is a common question that a lot of beneficiaries ask.
If this is a question that you’re wondering, too, keep on reading to find the answer – as well as other helpful information.
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What is Medicare Supplement Insurance?
For those who are new to Medicare, before we jump in and discuss if Medicare Supplement policies have to be renewed each year, it’s first important to understand what this coverage entails and how it works.
Medicare Supplement Insurance is private insurance coverage that is designed to, as the name suggests, supplement Original Medicare. In other words, it doesn’t replace Original Medicare but rather, it works with it. This insurance is also known as Medigap, as it “fills in the gaps” that aren’t covered by Medicare Part A and Part B; things like copays, coinsurance, and deductibles, for example.
There are 10 different Medicare Supplement Insurance plans that are named for letters. The plans are sold by private insurers and are regulated by the US federal government via the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
The benefits vary from plan to plan, with some lettered plans covering more of Medicare’s out-of-pocket expenses, and some covering less.
While plans are sold by private insurers, all plans must offer the same standard benefits, as required by the federal government, regardless of the insurer or the location. To illustrate, Medicare Plan F has to offer the same coverage, whether it’s sold by Mutual of Omaha in Texas or by Aetna in Florida.
How Does Medicare Supplement Insurance Work?
As stated above, Medicare Supplement Insurance “fills in the gaps” in Original Medicare coverage. Part A covers the cost of inpatient care and services, while Part B covers the cost of outpatient care and services.
When you receive medical care, after the benefits that Original Medicare provides have been applied to your bill, your Medigap plan will kick in and cover the cost of the benefits that it provides.
For instance, if your Medigap plan includes coverage for the Part A and Part B deductible – expenses that aren’t covered by Original Medicare – your insurer will pay those expenses.
It’s important to note that because Medicare Supplement Insurance is separate coverage, it has separate monthly premiums, apart from Original Medicare.
To maintain your coverage, your monthly premiums must be kept current. Premiums vary and depend on several factors, such as the Medigap plan, the insurer, your location, your age, when you apply for coverage, your health, your sex, and other key factors.
What Does Medicare Supplement Insurance Cover?
There are 10 Medicare Supplement Insurance plans: Plans A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M, and N, and benefits vary from plan to plan. Therefore, the expenses that Medigap covers will depend on the specific plan you have.
With that said, however, most pans will cover at least some or all of the following:
- Part A coinsurance and hospital expense
- Part A hospice coinsurance or copays
- Part B coinsurance or copays
- The first three pints of blood required for medically necessary blood transfusions
In addition to these benefits, some supplement plans will also cover the following:
- Part A deductible
- Part B deductible
- Part B excess charges
- Emergency medical expenses while traveling outside of the United States
Due to changes that have been made to Medicare, individuals who became eligible for Medicare benefits after January 1, 2020, can no longer purchase Medigap policies that cover the cost of the Part B deductible.
This includes Plan C and Plan F. If you had one of these policies prior to this date you can keep it and if you were eligible for Medicare benefits before this date but you haven’t yet enrolled, you can still purchase Plan C or Plan F.
Do You Have to Renew Medicare Supplement Insurance Each Year?
Whether or not your Medigap plan has to be changed each year depends on several factors, including your specific plan and your specific situation, and most importantly the amount of your premiums.
Medicare Supplement plans are renewable each month and not on a yearly basis, provided you keep paying your monthly premium.
This means that when you apply for coverage and your insurer approved your application, your policy will automatically renew.
It’s important to note, however, that you do need to make sure that you continue to pay your monthly premiums in a timely manner; as long as you do, your policy will be renewed every year.
There isn’t anything special you need to do in order to renew your coverage; it will be renewed automatically.
Do note, however, that while Medicare Supplement plans are renewable, your premiums may go up when your coverage reaches its anniversary, typically once per year.
Insurance companies set the rates for the Medigap plans they offer and they can raise the premiums.
There are two main reasons why your insurer may increase your coverage. Examples include:
- Increased age
- Changes in the cost of providing coverage (inflation)
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Review Your Medicare Supplement Renewal
It should be noted that although Medicare Supplement plans to renew automatically each month, you should check the renewal details to see if anything has changed.
Remember, insurers can increase premiums, and they all offer identical benefits within each plan letter.
We check the rates each year for our clients so they don’t have to, and they’re always paying the least amount possible for the best coverage that they qualify for.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you have to renew Medicare Supplement every year?
Contact Us for a Free Consultation on Medigap Plans
If you have questions about Medicare Supplement plans, call our team at 1-888-891-0229. We offer professional advice on Medigap policies.
Our fully licensed agents offer free consultations to give you all the information you need about Medigap.
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.