Medicare supplemental insurance; benefits and considerations
What is the medicare supplemental plan?
A medicare supplemental plan is a private insurance policy that can assist in paying for some of the health care costs that medicare does not cover. These costs include coinsurance, copayments, and deductibles. Medicare supplemental plan is extra health insurance that you buy from a private company to pay extra healthcare costs. It is often referred to as medigap. It is important to note that medicare policies do not cover long term care and other smaller health care costs like eyeglasses, hearing aids, dental care, etc. The purpose of a medigap plan is for you to get repaid for the costs you pay for directly from your pocket.
A medigap or medicare supplemental plan is often confused with medicare advantage plan and this should not be the case. Medicare supplement plan is set to add to your original medicare benefits while medicare advantage plans are ways to get medicare benefits.
Why you need a medicare supplemental insurance plan
We are aware that the original medicare plan pays for most health-related expenses, but it does not cover costs that could be incurred if one gets seriously injured or ill and this is exactly where medicare supplemental insurance plan steps in. For instance, if you are on admission in a hospital, you have 100 percent hospitalization coverage no doubt, that is after deductibles have been extracted. However, if you are in the hospital for more than 60 days, you have to pay additional money outside your insurance coverage. There are also co-payments for situations like outpatient medical care, frequent doctor visits, long stays in nursing facilities, prescription drugs (although this can be settled by purchasing a standalone prescription coverage it comes with holes that suggest you might be spending more), getting an in-house nurse, etc.
Benefits of medicare supplemental insurance plan
As has been earlier mentioned, medicare supplemental plan covers all the expenses that medicare does not cover. This partly depends on the level of coverage you opt for.
Expenses that are not covered by medicare can be substantial. More often than not, in cases where you need extensive treatment, medicare does not cover this so if you have a medicare supplemental plan, that is what you fall back to. If you do not have a medigap plan then extra costs are sorted out from your income.
The following are instances of some benefits of medicare supplemental insurance plan, medical part a coinsurance costs up to an additional 365 days after medicare benefits are exhausted, medicare part a and part b hospice care coinsurance or copayments, coinsurance or copayments.
Also, private insurance companies offer medicare supplemental policies at a very affordable rate. But then, the higher the coverage, the higher the price as is the case with any health insurance plan and a less expensive plan would attract more deductibles.
Another benefit of medicare supplemental insurance plans is that they are standardized.
Finally, medicare supplemental insurance plans can be used anywhere a care provider accepts medicare payments.
What you should consider before opting for medigap insurance plan
There are steps to follow when considering these plans. These steps are important because they serve as guidelines in choosing which exact plans you want to opt for.
The first step in selecting a medicare supplemental plan is analyzing your options. There are currently 10 plans on the market which are lettered from a – n. These plans do not vary according to the insurance companies involved. Your biggest decision will be to pick the appropriate plan. All plans offer basic benefits but some plans offer extra benefits.
The second step is selecting the best insurance company depending on the plan you want. Plan c in company x is the same with plan c in company y and this makes shopping for options very much easier. All you need to do is compare prices, networks, deductibles, and copays among various companies. As extra advice, go with an insurance company you trust because going for a company all for it’s cheap prices just might result in unreliability.
It is important to know that an insurance company cannot sell a medicare supplement insurance plan to you or your loved one if you already have coverage through medicaid or medicare advantage.
Another important step is your knowledge of how policies are priced. Once you are done selecting the plan or plans you like, the price will likely be your main consideration. Nevertheless, don’t instantly opt for the plan with the lowest price as that could be the one that will have a rapid increase in rates as the years go by. There are three types of pricing and they include
- Attained-age rated
- Community-age rated
- Issue-age rated
- Rated; these plans base their premium on the age you were when you first bought a policy. The longer you are when you first bought a policy, the higher your premium will be.
- These medicare supplement insurance plans charge premiums that are the same across the board, plans do not depend on age.
- Rated; once you enroll in the policy, these plans base their premiums on your age. Therefore, the younger you are when you enrolled in this type of plan, the lower your premium will be.
- Pricing policy, it is important to note the various types of pricing to help narrow down costs.
- Should also put into consideration eligibility status this may vary according to the insurance companies. To enroll in a medical supplement insurance plan for most companies, you must be enrolled in both medicare part a and part b.
If you have gone through all these steps and you’re still indecisive or you cannot comprehend the terms available, it wouldn’t be such a bad idea to seek the services of an insurance broker. Worried about extra costs? Worry no more because, by law, brokers can’t add a commission to the price of a policy. So that simply means that you would pay the same amount for a plan regardless of whether you buy directly from the company or through an agent.