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What is Medicare SELECT


If you are looking for a Medigap Plan with low monthly premiums, a Medicare SELECT plan may seem like a good option. But Medicare SELECT plans have strict limits on the doctors and hospitals you can use.

It’s important to weigh both the costs and the benefits before deciding if a plan is right for you.

Medigap Plans pay the gaps in Parts A and B. There are ten standard Medigap plans, Plan A through Plan N. Each program offers different benefits.

These supplemental plans pay for things like co-pays, deductibles, hospice care, medical emergencies while traveling, and doctors’ charges that exceed the amounts paid by Medicare.

To sign up for a Medigap Plan, you must have Part B. You can’t have both a Medicare Supplement and Medicare Advantage.

What is the Medicare SELECT Plan

Medicare SELECT plans limit you to a network of specific doctors, specialists, and hospitals. If you go to a healthcare provider or hospital that is outside the network, your coverage will not pay unless it’s an emergency.

You’ll be responsible for paying anything that Part A and B don’t cover.

You usually need a referral from your primary care doctor to see a specialist or go to the hospital. In this way, Medicare SELECT operates much like an HMO.

Medicare SELECT plans are not in every state. Insurance companies decide whether they want to offer this type of policy in a particular area.

How Do I Enroll in Medicare Select?

The best time to enroll in Medicare SELECT is during your Initial Enrollment Period that begins with the month you are 65 or older and enrolled in Part B. During this period; you can’t be denied coverage or charged extra because of your health.

When you first turn 65, you become eligible for the Guarantee Issue rights, meaning coverage and application is a guarantee. If you enroll later, you may have a harder time getting coverage, and it may cost more.

Many people apply for coverage after the Initial Enrollment Period. The easiest way to understand your eligibility and options is to talk with an agent.

Is Medicare SELECT the Best Plan for Me?

Before deciding on Medicare SELECT, find out whether the doctors and hospitals you like to use are in the policy.

If you want to see the doctor out of the network, you save a small amount of premium but end up paying more than a regular Medigap Plan.

Also, consider how important it is to be able to choose your specialists as well as where you would go for severe illness.

Think about how often you travel out of your immediate area. Consider the hassle of going to your primary care doctor every time you need a referral. Weigh these against the potential monthly savings in a SELECT plan.

If you do decide on a Medicare SELECT plan, you have 12 months to change your mind. Within this time frame, you can switch to a standard Medigap policy.

You can switch to another plan if you move out of your insurance company’s coverage area or if your insurer decides to stop offering your SELECT program in your area.

However, before signing up, understand that standard Medigap has far more significant benefits. If in the first 12 months of coverage, you decide standard Medigap is more suitable than a SELECT plan, you can switch without worrying about underwriting.

Insurance companies can charge various premiums for the same level of coverage. Be sure to compare apples to apples when researching policy options.

Medicare SELECT vs Medicare Advantage

As stated above, these plans work very similarly to an HMO Medicare Advantage Plan. There are similarities. These plans are available in specific areas; also, they restrict doctors and hospitals. Select plans are different from Medicare Advantage plans because they don’t have a copayment schedule like the Medicare Advantage plans. Also, SELECT plans don’t include Part D, dental, or any other benefits.

However, depending on the Medigap company, you might be able to purchase an Active & Fit benefit; or some other wellness coverage.

What is the History of Medicare SELECT Plans

SELECT plans go back to the early 1990s. They were available in 15 states, including Florida, California, Alabama, Michigan, Ohio, and Texas. Then in 1995, these plans were made available to all regions. By 1998, SELECT plans became a permanent law. Implementing SELECT plans is different across each state.

Compare Rates on Medicare SELECT Plans

The select Plan is basically an HMO that fills the gaps of Medicare. There is no coverage on ancillary benefits, and the doctor limits are strict.

Medigap standard options are better, especially if you can afford the slightly higher premium. The lower premium in exchange for a network may work for some, but it’s not something most will recommend starting

At MedicareFAQ, we help you find the best Medigap or Medicare SELECT policy for your needs. We answer your questions and get quotes from the top insurers in your area.

Call us today to get started or fill out our online form to compare rates online.

Lindsay Engle

Lindsay Engle is the Medicare expert for MedicareFAQ. She has been working in the Medicare industry since 2017. She is featured in many publications as well as writes regularly for other expert columns regarding Medicare. You can also find her over on our Medicare Channel on YouTube as well as contributing to our Medicare Community on Facebook.

3 thoughts on “What is Medicare SELECT

  1. Mostly, my point was that the Medigap select plans are being marketed as a supplement unless you are smart enough to ask about the preferred list of providers you must use or have payment excluded. Read the contract. Great article. I thought a supplement was a supplement covering the 20% until I found this article! Why BCBS in AL you ask. 1. Probably 95% of providers accept BCBS. 2. Checked on a Humana supplement G and some of my doctors did not participate. 3. The marketplace has nothing to do with Medicare to my knowledge but all insurers in AL have pulled out of that but BCBS. While others may sell insurance, they are not interested in providing a competitive market and may not cover a lot of counties. 4. Some of the Aetna policies in my area are underwritten by Continental Insurance in Brentwood, TN. Not good or bad just not Aetna. 5. In my mind if you buy a Medicare supplement it needs to be long term with a company that will be there and it does not need to be a select supplement PPO or HMO that if someone gets in the mix who is not a select or preferred provider then it is not covered. 6. I found a lot of complaints on Humana and United Healthcare. Valid or not I cannot say but where there is smoke…Note that some companies charge more for a Medigap Select than other for a full Medigap. Great site. Keep up the good work.

  2. Lindsay, I am 66 and just got SS and Medicare A & B. No one explained Medigap Select until I shopped BCBS of Alabama. They have a Blue Advantage plan and C Plus Medicare Select supplements only. My goal was to enroll in a Plan G supplement plan. After reading the C Plus I realized that they required C Plus Preferred Providers for the 20% and coverage was excluded except for emergency care if they were not. I called BCBS of Alabama and they told me they cover anything Medicare approves. I pointed out the Plan G contract and the Summary of Benefits on their website under enrollment requires the C Plus Preferred Providers and exclusions. The reps and advisor kept telling me that is not the way it works. I emailed their advisor with their documents attached requesting a contract or benefit summary document that supported coverage of the 20% for any Medicare approved process. Any other insurers in the state do not seem to have a good base of doctors in their plans. At the end of the day I enrolled in the Blue Advantage Plan because of the coverage exclusions in the C Plus Plan G. If you are paying $185 for a select plan (not good for travel, moving, HMO/PPO process, potential loss of benefit if someone gets in the mix that is not in the plan, not so low risk) plus $43.20 for Part D and approx. $30 for dental; you are looking at $250 plus $145 for Medicare B. Also, these plans go up each year. I feel robbed out of a Medicare Select Plan because the only major insurance company in Alabama (95% of Doctors) only has Advantage or Select Supplement plans with exclusions. The did not have a real supplement plan. Thoughts?

    1. Hi Gilbert! Happy to help! Is there a reason you want to stick with BCBS? I ask because when I do a generic search in Alabama for Plan G, there are tons of other carriers that offer it. The premiums start at around $109 per month. Again, this is a general estimate, we need to get more information from you to get an accurate quote. You signed up for a Medicare Advantage, which works completely different than a Medicare Supplement plan, like Plan G. It sounds like you may be eligible for Trial Rights, which should grant you guaranteed issue if you wanted to leave your Advantage plan and enroll in a supplement plan. I would recommend giving us a call, we can definitely help!

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