What To Know About Medicare Supplemental Insurance

The basic Medicare program, sometimes referred to as original Medicare, offers some of the most robust insurance options for seniors. Unfortunately, Medicare is also one of the more confusing insurance programs. Let's discuss each part in more depth.

Original Medicare is divided into multiple categories, known as parts. Each part provides different coverage, such as focusing on inpatient hospital care or prescription drugs. To add to the confusion, some plans are offered through the federal government, while others are from private insurance companies.

If you combine Medicare plans, you get coverage for most of your medical needs, but even with multiple plans, there are some gaps. One of the ways you can fill these gaps is by purchasing Medicare Supplement Health Insurance, also known as Medigap.

Medicare supplemental insurance plans are health insurance policies that help to cover expenses not covered by Medicare. They are offered by private insurance companies and can help to cover costs such as deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments. There are a variety of different medicare supplemental plans available, and each plan offers a different level of coverage. Some medicare supplement plans may also offer coverage for things not covered by Medicare, such as prescription drugs or vision care.

To be eligible for a medicare supplement plan, you must be enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B. You will also need to have a medigap policy that is issued by a private insurance company. If you are already enrolled in a medicare advantage plan, you will not be eligible for a medicare supplement plan.

Medicare supplement plans are available during open enrollment, which takes place from October 15th to December 7th each year. During open enrollment, you can enroll in or change your medicare supplement plan. You may also be required to sign up for a medicare supplement plan if you move to a new state or if you lose your current health insurance coverage.

The cost of medicare supplement plans varies depending on the plan you choose and the insurance company you select. Most medicare supplement plans require you to pay a monthly premium in addition to your Medicare Part B premium. You may also be responsible for paying an annual deductible and copayments for services covered by your plan.

Medicare supplement plans can offer a variety of benefits, including peace of mind and financial protection. If you are enrolled in a medicare supplement plan, you will have the assurance that your out-of-pocket costs will be limited should you need to use healthcare services not covered by Medicare. Additionally, medicare supplement plans can help to protect you from high medical bills in the event of an unexpected illness or accident.

Understanding Medicare Supplemental Insurance Plans

In order to purchase a Medicare Supplemental Insurance plan, you must have either Medicare Part A or B. Unlike the standard Medicare plans, Medigap coverage only applies to an individual and does not extend to family members. Supplemental plans are also separate from the standard Medicare plans, so the two plans have different premiums, deductibles and copays.

Medicare Supplemental Insurance is divided into multiple plans, also known as parts. Like the original Medicare plans, there are Parts A-D. Supplemental insurance has even more plans, including parts F, G, K, L, M and N. Most of these plans provide the same basic coverage, with small differences. Having so many parts may seem confusing, but it allows you to better customize your insurance options, so you are not spending extra on features you do not need.

Additionally, not all states offer the same Medicare Supplemental Insurance plans. If you are unsure where to purchase supplemental plans, you can use a free online search tool provided by the federal government to look up insurance providers and plans in your state.

Medigap insurance coverage is accepted by the majority of doctors, hospitals and medical specialists. If your doctor normally accepts original Medicare insurance, your supplemental plan should be compatible. This allows you to keep the same doctor or health specialists if you decide to sign up for a supplemental plan after signing up for original Medicare coverage.

Reasons to Purchase Medicare Supplemental Insurance Plans

There are several ways Medicare Supplemental Insurance assists you. For most seniors, the biggest appeal of purchasing a Medigap plan is to cut down on out of pocket expenses from the original Medicare Part A and B. With the original Medicare insurance, you are required to pay any costs after your initial deductible out of pocket. When you are finished with the deductible from your original plan, your supplemental insurance activates and provides coverage for any future coinsurance or copayments you owe.

Medicare Supplemental Insurance also has long-term benefits. Under original Medicare A and B, you only get limited coverage for hospital or skilled nursing facility visits. For many seniors, the number of days needed to recover from surgery or other rehabilitation services exceeds the limited coverage offered by Medicare. In these situations, your only option is to pay out of pocket, which is quite expensive, or risk your health by leaving early.

Supplemental insurance provides extra time in rehabilitative facilities, as well as covering expenses for hospice care. All of the supplemental plans have coverage for hospice care. With the exception of Parts A and B, all Medigap plans help with skilled nursing facilities. Parts K and L offer limited coverage for nursing facilities, only covering 50 and 75 percent of the costs.

Original Medicare coverage does not extend outside of the United States. Medigap plans C, D, F, G, M and N all offer 80 percent coverage for medical expenses in a foreign country.

Purchasing a Medicare Supplemental Insurance Plan

You can purchase Medicare Supplemental Insurance during the traditional Medicare enrollment period. The first period is open enrollment, which always starts on October 15th and goes until December 7th. After open enrollment, your next option to apply for a supplemental plan is during the general enrollment period. General enrollment opens at the start of a new year and runs until the end of March.

Applying for a supplemental insurance plan is different beyond the first open enrollment period, which officially begins when you turn 65 years old. If you do not purchase a supplemental plan after the first enrollment period, the private insurance company has the option to deny or increase your supplemental costs based on your medical history. Insurance providers also have the option to not sell a plan beyond your first enrollment period.

Companies Selling Medicare Supplemental Insurance

There are different companies selling Medicare Supplemental Insurance in each state. A few of the largest private insurance companies offer supplemental plans all across the United States. The cost of plans largely varies depending on where you live. Additionally, companies may change the eligibility requirements depending on where you apply. Some companies also exclude certain supplemental plans, so you may have to shop around with different providers to find the best plan for you. If you are unsure where to start, consider some of the largest insurance companies, such as: