WHEN CAN YOU ENROLL IN A MEDIGAP PLAN?
Medigap plans are health insurance plans that provide extra
protection beyond Medicare by filling in some of the “gaps” in Medicare
coverage. In Massachusetts, these plans
allow continuous open enrollment. You
must have Medicare A and B to enroll, and cannot be enrolled in a Medicare
Advantage plan. Anyone who is eligible may enroll or change
plans or coverage levels at any time, with changes effective the first of the
following month. Note that Medigap
policies do not cover prescription drugs, which are covered separately under
Medicare Part D.
In Massachusetts, seven insurers offer the same two Medigap
plans, Core and Supplement 1. The Core
plan pays some of the co-pays for Medicare covered services, while the
Supplement 1 covers all the deductibles and co-pays for these services. This means that a Medigap policy will
generally pay only when Medicare approves payment. With a Medigap policy, you are free to choose
any doctor or hospital that accepts Medicare and you do not need referrals to
see a specialist.
ALWAYS REMEMBER THAT IF YOU ARE TURNING 65 YOU SHOULD
CONTACT SOCIAL SECURITY TO ENROLL IN MEDICARE. MEDICARE ELIGIBILITY HAS NO
CONNECTION TO YOUR ELIGIBILITY FOR SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS. ALSO COVERAGE FROM THE HEALTH CONNECTOR DOES
NOT EXEMPT YOU FROM THIS REQUIREMENT TO ENROLL IN MEDICARE, AS YOU WILL LOSE YOUR HEALTH CONNECTOR
SUBSIDY WHEN YOU TURN 65. IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS, YOU SHOULD CONTACT
YOUR SHINE REGIONAL OFFICE AT 1-800-243-4636 OPTION #3.
SHINE (Serving Health Information Needs of Everyone) volunteers can help you! They offer free, unbiased, confidential
counseling on all aspects of health insurance to anyone on Medicare. Call your senior center and ask for a SHINE
appointment. You can also call
1-800-AGE-INFO (1-800-243-4636), then press or say 3. Once you get the SHINE answering machine, leave
your name and number. A volunteer will call you back. You can now visit us on the internet at www.shinema.org
“SHINE’S MEDICARE AND MORE” PROGRAM
The Central MASS SHINE Program is now sponsoring a monthly
Cable TV program called SHINE’s MEDICARE AND MORE”, we hope your local cable
channel will pick it up. This program is
designed to educate and update MEDICARE beneficiaries and their families on
MEDICARE and other programs that can assist you with your health insurance
needs. If you do not see it on your
local cable channel give, them call and ask about it.
CENTRAL MASS SHINE WEBSITE
You can visit us on the web at www.shinema.org. Our site has valuable
general information and links to other agencies that can assist you with you
insurance needs. We also have a link to