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Medicare Supplement Laws Vary by State

Medicare guidelines that regulate the minimum standards for Medicare Supplements or Medigap benefits are published by the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). These Medicare guidelines are then sent to the state insurance departments to guarantee their compliance with CMS’s minimum standards.

From that point, though, the individual states are free to determine how best to access these policies for their citizens and the range of differences can be quite extreme.

For example, some states don’t allow health questions for any of the plans offered.  That is quite noble in theory, but the reality is that those states’ monthly premiums are often three or four times higher than what other states charge for the same benefits.

There are numerous other variables, some states using unisex rates while others charge different rates for males and females, some states charging more for tobacco usage while others do not, and some states requiring companies to charge the same rates for every age beyond 65.

One other key difference is in how those who have Medicare eligibility due to disability are treated.  The states aren’t required to offer Medicare Supplements to underage disabled citizens, and some states don’t offer them at all.  Other states offer only Plan A or Plan B, while others offer all of the plans.  Some states even provide a separate 6-month guaranteed issue Open Enrollment period when the disabled first receive Part B and then a second one when they turn 65.

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