Can I supplement my Original Medicare coverage with an exchange plan instead of Medigap?
Insurers selling plans on the exchange are not allowed to sell Medicare enrollees coverage that duplicates what that enrollee will receive under Medicare. Thus, if you are already enrolled in Original Medicare (Medicare Parts A and B), you will not be able to purchase a plan through the health insurance exchange/marketplace. Even if you were able to enroll in a plan through the exchange, getting a Medigap (Medicare Supplement Insurance) policy – even one of the more comprehensive and costly ones – would almost certainly be a cheaper option than purchasing through the exchange. Of course, if you are under 65 and live in a state that does not require insurers to sell Medigap policies to people of that age, then that kind of coverage may not be an option. In cases such as this, you could look into getting a Medicare Advantage Plan or Medicare Part D to help with some of the expenses not covered under Original Medicare. We offer numerous Medicare FAQs and articles that can teach you more about these options, their costs, and how they fit in with other forms of Medicare coverage.
If you are not already covered by Medicare, then you are welcome to purchase a plan through the exchange. You may then keep this plan and renew it after you have enrolled in Medicare. In this situation, Medicare would be the primary payer for your medical expenses. If this is a path you are interested in taking, there are a few things that you should be aware of. First, while you will be able to renew your existing exchange coverage for future years, you will be unable to purchase a new plan from the exchange for the reasons outlined above. Second, being enrolled in Medicare prevents one from qualifying for premium subsidies (also called premium tax credits) and other forms of financial assistance, which can severely impact the affordability of an exchange plan. After enrolling in Medicare, you should receive a letter from the exchange informing you of your loss of eligibility for subsidies. Overall, getting Medicare Supplement Insurance, Medicare Part D, or a Medicare Advantage Plan will likely cost you less than trying to supplement Original Medicare with a plan from the exchange.
I am disabled but not yet eligible for Medicare. Can I purchase a plan from the exchange?