Medicare Supplements

Eight Facts Folks with a Medicare Supplement need to know

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1.Make sure you have a current copy of Medicare & You. This handbook has details about what Medicare covers and provides websites and phone numbers where you can get additional information.

2.Remember that if Medicare does not pay for a medical procedure your Medicare Supplement will not pay for their share. If you are uncertain if a procedure is covered, you can probably find the answer in Medicare & You. You can also call Medicare at 1 800 633 4227 and they are opened 24 hours per day, seven days per week.

3.During Open Enrollment, which is from October 15th through December 7th, you can change Medicare drug plans. Also during this period you can change from a Medicare Supplement to a Medicare Advantage plan. Unless you have creditable drug coverage from a previous employers or the VA, do not drop your Medicare Drug Policy without enrolling in a new one. Medicare Beneficiaries who have gaps in coverage normally pay a penalty when they enroll in a Medicare Drug plan in the future.

4. Medicare Prescription Drug plans often make changes to their formularies, deductibles, preferred pharmacies and other features from year to year. Also, often Medicare beneficiaries have changes in their medications. It is in your best interest to register on and store your prescription drugs as well as preferred pharmacies on their site. This will allow you to quickly check during Open Enrollment to see if you need to change to a different Medicare Prescription Drug plan.

5. To ensure you pay the lowest amount for your prescription drugs make sure you obtain them from an pharmacy that your Medicare Drug plan considers a preferred pharmacy.

6. If your doctor recommends  you take a new drug that is not in the formulary of your current Medicare drug plan, you can contact their customer service and request an exception.

7.You can apply for a different Medicare Supplement at another insurance company any time of the year. Medicare beneficiaries sometimes do this when they find a company with a much lower premium. However, unless you have a guarantee issue because your current plan is being cancelled, you will have to go through medical underwriting. This means the insurance company will ask you medical questions, review your medical records and can decline you.

8. Even if you are enrolled in a Medicare Supplement that provides coverage in a foreign coverage, the coverage is limited and is not the same coverage that you have in the United States. Also, your Medicare Supplement will not pay its share until Medicare pays. Since a hospital in a foreign country is unlikely to file claim with Medicare, you may be required to pay your medical expenses and file a claim for reimbursement when you return home. It may be in your best interest to purchase trip insurance. 

How much will you have to pay for Medicare Part B and D

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Medicare Card

All Medicare beneficiaries must be enrolled in both Medicare Part A and B before they are allowed to enroll in a Medicare Supplement or Advantage policy. The standard Part B premium amount in 2023 is $164.90. Most people pay the standard Part B premium amount. If your Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI) as reported on your IRS tax return from 2 years ago is above a certain amount, you’ll pay the standard premium amount and an Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMAA). IRMAA is an extra charge added to your premium. The chart below shows what you can expect to pay for Medicare Part B based on your MAGI. It also shows the extra amount you will pay for your Medicare Part D (your drug plan) if your MAGI is over a certain level.


Yearly income in 2021: single Yearly income in 2021: married, joint filing 2023 Medicare Part B monthly premium 2023 Medicare Part D monthly premium
≤ $97,000 ≤ $194,000 $164.90 just your plan’s premium
> $97,00–$123,000 > $194,000–$246,000 $230.80 your plan’s premium + $12.20
> $123,000–$153,000 > $246,000–$306,000 $329.70 your plan’s premium + $32.50
> $153,000–$183,000 > $306,000–$366,000 $428.60 your plan’s premium + $50.70
> $183,000–
< $500,000
> $366,000–
< $750,000
$527.50 your plan’s premium + $70.00
≥ $500,000 ≥ $750,000 $560.50 your plan’s premium + $76.40

If you find that your past income will cause you to pay more for both Medicare Part B and your drug plan, but expect your income to be much lower after retirement, you can contact Social Security at 1 800 408 1212 and appeal these additional premiums. Social Security is opened Monday through Friday from 7 AM until 7 PM.