Medicare Supplement Plan FAQ

What is Medicare Supplement Insurance?

Medicare Supplement Insurance is a private health insurance policy designed to help pay some or all of the costs that are not covered by Medicare Parts A and B.

Who is eligible?

Anyone who is covered under both Medicare parts A and B is eligible for Medicare Supplement Insurance coverage. This includes disabled individuals who are under 65.

Can I be turned down?

No, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois are guaranteed issue policies, meaning they will accept you regardless of your health history and cover any pre-existing conditions.

When can I apply?

You can apply for Medicare Supplement Insurance during open enrollment. Open enrollment includes a six-month period from the date you enrolled in Medicare Part B if age 65 or older, or up to six-month after you turn 65 if you were eligible for Part B benefits before age 65.
If you become eligible for Medicare Part B benefits before age 65 because of disability or ESRD (permanent kidney failure), you are guaranteed the Medicare Supplement policy of your choice during the first six months you are age 65 and enrolled in Part B.

What if I apply and change my mind?

If you apply today, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois will send you an ID card and a policy to review for 30 days. Return your first premium only after you are convinced the insurance protection is right for you. Even after you send your first premium payment and your coverage is in effect, you can still change your mind. Simply return your policy and ID card within 30 days of the effective date. As long as you have not filed any claims, you will be under no obligation, and any premiums paid will be refunded.

Does Medicare Supplement Insurance coverage include prescription drug benefits?

No, Medicare Supplement Insurance is designed to fill in the “gaps” with Medicare Plans such as Part A (which covers hospital and skilled nursing facility care) and Part B (which covers doctor bills and other medical expenses). For prescription drug coverage, you can select a separate Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan.

Can I enroll if I do not have Medicare Parts A or B?

No, you must be entitled to Medicare Part A and/or enrolled in Medicare Part B to be eligible for a Medicare prescription drug coverage.

To learn how to get Medicare Part A and/or Part B, please call Medicare at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), 24 hours a day/7 days a week. For the hearing or speech impaired, please call 1-877-486-2048.

You may also contact your State Medicaid Office or the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213, Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. CST. For the hearing or speech impaired, please call 1-800-325-0778.

Does Everyone Need a Policy?

Not everyone needs a Medicare supplement policy. If you have certain other types of health coverage, the gaps in your Medicare coverage may already be covered. You probably don’t need Medicare supplement insurance if

  • You belong to a Medicare Advantage plan
  • Medicaid or the Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB) Program pays your Medicare premiums and other out-of-pocket costs.
  • You are covered under an employer group health plan

What if I (or my spouse) plan to work after age 65 and continue receiving group health care benefits?

Check with your group plan administrator. You may be able to choose either your group plan or Medicare plus Medicare Supplement coverage. If you stay with your group health care plan, a Special Enrollment Period lets you delay purchasing Part B until you need it.

Can I go to any hospital or doctor I choose?

As a member, you are free to go to any doctor or hospital you choose for care. Your coverage will be recognized across the country. If you are a Med Select member you must go to a participating hospital for all non-emergency admittance.

How does the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois Medicare Select Plan differ from the standard plan?

A Medicare Select plan works just like a standard Medicare supplement plan with one difference. With Medicare Select, all scheduled inpatient hospital stays must be at a Med-Select participating hospital in order to have coverage for the Medicare Part A deductible.

If you do not go to a Med-Select participating hospital for a scheduled non-emergency hospital stay, you must pay the Medicare Part A deductible. However, in an emergency admission, you are covered at any hospital, regardless of whether you go to a Med-Select participating hospital.

To qualify for a Med-Select plan, you must live within 30 miles of one of our Med-Select hospitals.

Do Medicare Supplement plans cover prescriptions drugs?

No, for your prescription drug coverage needs, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois offers BlueCross MedicareRxSM, affordable Medicare-approved prescription drug coverage plans.

Will I need to switch doctors?

No, you may continue to see your own doctor. Medicare Supplement plans are convenient and flexible, giving you freedom of choice.

Can I see a specialist whenever I want?

Yes. Just remember that your out-of-pocket costs will be less if you choose a physician who accepts Medicare assignment.