Nov 072011

Seniors and other Medicare recipients that are residents of the state of Illinois need to take advantage of the current enrollment period for Medicare supplement (Medigap) and Medicare Advantage plans. These are all plans that popular insurers such as AARP (UnitedHealth) and (Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) have available to Illinois residents. There are many online resources available to research the best medicare supplement plans for those living in the state.

Perhaps the most important website for Chicago residents to be aware of is the Illinois Department of Insurance homepage.  This page explains in great detail about different aspects and coverage types for Medicare supplement plans and the differences between Advantage and Medigap plans. It also gives a good overview on how best to shop for plans.

Another section of this website provides insights on coverage related to pre-existing conditions that seniors may have. The State of Illinois notes that Medigap supplement plans offered in the state are required to cover “pre-existing” conditions, provided that the senior had creditable coverage prior, or had applied for the supplement plan within the 6 month eligibility time (ie six months after enrolling in Medicare B).

Another important aspect in the state is the “30 day Free Look.” Seniors are entitled to try the supplement plan for up to 30 days, then return the policy for ANY reason. The senior can get a full refund and need not justify why. This may help seniors that are frightened about choosing the wrong policy see how AARP or other companies treat them. It also means that if a senior inadvertently chooses a plan that his or her doctor doesn’t accept that the senior may leave that plan.

Let’s take a look at some of the plans offered this year (assumes a 70 year old senior):

2012 AARP UnitedHealth Medicare Supplement Plan A Rate (basic coverage for covered doctor visits and hospital cosinsurance)

(non-smoker) level one rate 115.20. Level 2 rate (based on questionaire) is 157.12.

Smokers would find rate quote at 126.74 for level one and 172.83 for level two.

For AARP Medigap Plan B the rate is quite higher — it covers 100 percent of Medicare Part A deductibles, and thus much more complete coverage:

(non-smoker) level one rate is 174.62. Level 2 rate is 238.12.

(smoker) level one rate is 192.08. Level 2 rate is 261.93.

We hope that this helps to answer common questions such as “What is the cheapest Medicare Supplement plan?” or “What companies are offering Medicare Supplement plans in Illinois?” The answer will differ among individuals, as every person will have different coverage needs.