medicare supplemental plans
Medicare Supplemental insurance plans are a type of health insurance policy that pays for the 20% of healthcare expenses that Medicare doesn’t cover.
Medicare Supplemental Insurance plans cover 10 million Medicare beneficiaries. Also referred to as Medigap plans, these policies help pay for your share of Medicare expenses, such as your deductibles and co-insurance.
Many people feel surprised to find that Medicare covers only 80% of your Part B expenses. The other 20% can be devastating to you financially if a serious illness arises. Medicare Supplements pay that 20% for you, among other things. Supplemental insurance for seniors with Medicare essentially buy you peace of mind.
About Medicare Supplemental Insurance
medicare supplementsMedicare supplements came into being shortly after Medicare was signed into law. Because you are required to pay for some things, like 20% of outpatient expenses, supplemental policies were created to pay those expenses for you. This allows people to have peace of mind about their healthcare. They feel less worry over how much each medical visit will end up costing them.
Some of the primary advantages of a traditional Medicare supplement policy are:
Freedom to choose your own doctors and hospitals
No referrals required to see a specialist
No out of pocket expenses (with Plan F) for any Medicare-covered services
Nationwide coverage – you can use it anywhere in the United States
Medicare Supplemental Plans Comparison
To see a list of all the Medicare supplemental plans available – take a look at our Medigap supplement chart. This chart appears in the “Choosing a Medigap,” booklet published by Medicare itself. The chart details the benefits that are included in each Medicare supplement. These are are labelled Plan A – Plan N.
Some of our clients have found Medicare’s handbook hard to read. We’ve tried to use simpler terms here on our Boomer Benefits website. Our pages about the different Medicare supplements include examples of how the coverage would pay.
Some Medicare supplements cover just the 20%, while others pay for your hospital and outpatient deductibles. There are Medigap policies that cover ALL the gaps, leaving you zero out of pocket. There are others where you agree to do some cost-sharing and in return you get a lower monthly premium. An insurance agent who specializes in Medicare supplements can help you determine which one best suits you.
Common Questions about Medicare Supplemental Insurance
What is the open enrollment period for Medicare supplemental plans?
When people first active Medicare Part B, they have 6 months to enroll in any Medicare supplement without health questions. The insurance company will approve your application with no pre-existing condition waiting period. We call this the open enrollment period Medicare supplements. It is a one-time window.
Can you change Medicare supplements anytime?
You can apply to change at any time, but if you are past your open enrollment window, you will have to answer health questions in most states. The Medicare supplement insurance company will review your health history and medication history. They can accept or decline you. Only California, Oregon and Washington have established exceptions to this rule.
What is guaranteed issue for Medicare supplemental insurance?
In certain circumstances, an insurance company must accept you for coverage without asking health questions. For example, if you are on Medicaid and you lose your Medicaid eligibility, you have a short window to apply for Medigap without health questions. Another example would be for someone coming off employer health coverage that is primary to Medicare. They will have a short window to apply for certain Medigap plans under guaranteed issue rules.
Do you have to have supplemental insurance with Medicare?
No, supplemental is optional. However, you would be responsible for expensive hospital deductibles and copays as well as 20% of the cost of all outpatients services. This includes things like surgeries and chemotherapy which would be financially devastating without some form of supplemental coverage.
Find the Right Medicare Supplemental Insurance
We can help you find the right Medicare supplement for you.
Sometimes too many choices is NOT a good thing.
For many years, Medicare supplement policies varied greatly between companies. This made it difficult for people to compare apples to apples. So in 1990, our federal government standardized the plans. The benefits for a Plan F, for example, must be uniform from one insurance company to the next.
Unfortunately, the problem is that Medicare has Parts and Plans. Since they use letters like A & B in both places, people still get confused.