Are you waiting for your Ohio Medicare benefits to begin? Perhaps you know which policy you’re going to select and you have already selected your Supplement contract. But, it’s getting there that’s the immediate concern since your current private health insurance ends soon and you have a gap to fill.
Fortunately, there are some great “gap fillers” that will provide solid healthcare coverage until you’re ready to enroll in Medicare, along with supplement coverage. And these plans are issued by companies you’re familiar with, such as Anthem Blue Cross, Humana, UnitedHealthcare, Medical Mutual and Aetna. Smaller less-recognizable companies also can provide worthwhile options, such as Premier, SummaCare, and CareSource.
Need Coverage For A Month, A Year, Or Longer?
The most important issue you face is the length of time you need coverage. For example, if you are less than six months from becoming Medicare-eligible, a very common and inexpensive option is a temporary policy. This type of plan is very affordable, and is generally considered the most economical type of medical coverage.
Although existing conditions are not covered, and virtually all benefits must meet a deductible, it’s a great stop-gap type of coverage that works well. However, it’s important to coordinate your pre-65 and your post-65 healthcare plans so there is no lapse in coverage. Also, if you are currently enrolled in a subsidized Marketplace plan, it may be advisable to retain coverage until you are no longer eligible.
Prices For Temporary Coverage
If you are a healthy 64 year-old female in Montgomery County (rates vary by county), a short-term plan from UnitedHealthcare costs about $122 ($5,000 deductible) or $152 ($2,500 deductible). A $1,000 deductible option is also available and costs just $234. These are monthly rates. Anthem and Medical Mutual also offer temporary contracts, although currently, their rates are higher. Naturally, rates will be less if you are younger and medical conditions could impact the rate.
If the gap between when your existing coverage ends and Medicare begins, is more than 12 months, then a conventional policy is recommended. What type of policy? That depends on how much money you want to spend, the type of benefits you need, and the medical conditions you are being treated for. A federal subsidy my help you pay premiums, although the entire household income is considered in the eligibility calculation. Thus, your spouse’s income must be taken into consideration, regardless if they are to be covered under the proposed policy.
Low-Cost Coverage Until You Reach Age 65
If you are reasonably healthy, a simple high deductible plan (perhaps between $3,500 and $6,800) will keep your Ohio rates low, and still provide excellent coverage. Once the specified deductible has been reached, you can have complete coverage with no further cash outlay for healthcare expenses. However, you also won’t have to pay for most preventive services and you’ll receive a negotiated price break on most other treatment, courtesy of your insurer that is negotiating on your behalf. For example, the cost of an MRI might be reduced from $2,000 to $1,400, while the cost of routine lab services may also reduce from $150 to $30.
If you feel you are unable to medically qualify for a new health insurance plan, as long as you apply during Open Enrollment periods, your acceptance is guaranteed. COBRA, although expensive, will continue to provide benefits for any conditions have. And if you develop new health issues, they will not be excluded from your current health care policy.
For persons that are uninsured and still want to buy a policy until Medicare starts, you can apply for any of the types of policies previously mentioned. Normal underwriting guidelines will be used on any submitted short-term application, and if approved, you won’t have to worry about the gap until Medicare benefits begin. However, no medical questions will be asked for Marketplace coverage, and pre-existing conditions will be covered.
January 2015 – The Ohio Senior Health Insurance Information Program (OSHIIP) netted savings of almost $20 million in 2014. About 200,000 state residents were helped by the program. OSHIIP has a consumer hotline and helps answer questions about prescriptions, Medigap coverage, financial assistance, long-term medical care, and other state residents that are disabled and eligible for Medicare benefits.