Medicare Parts A and B provide coverage for your hospital and provider services. However, if you only have Parts A and B, you will be responsible for some significant deductibles and copays. Most Medicare beneficiaries have some sort of additional coverage to help with these costs.
Although there are a few options for additional coverage, Medicare Supplements, or Medigap policies, are one of the most common ways to fill in the gaps.
How The Plans Work
With a Medicare Supplement, you are responsible for a monthly premium amount and then most, if not all, of the deductibles, co-insurance and copay amounts are covered by your plan. This is the easiest way to budget for your health care expenses. You know what the premium amount will be each month and as long as Medicare approves your services, the Supplement will pay most of the other charges.
So, if you go into the hospital, Medicare pays for the cost of the inpatient stay except for the deductible ($1,340 in 2018). Then, your Supplement pays the deductible. Your cost for an inpatient stay of less than 60 days is $0.
If you do to the doctor or have lab work done, Medicare pays for 80% of the cost and your Supplement pays the other 20%. You may be responsible for a small deductible/co-pay depending on the Plan you choose.
There are different Supplemental plans you can choose from. The plans are standardized by the government so you can be sure you are receiving the same coverage no matter which insurance company you choose to enroll with. The standardized plans range from Plan A to Plan N. The most popular Plans are F, G and N.
Plan F will cover all of the Medicare approved charges and you should not have any copays or deductibles to pay. Under both Plans G and N, you will be responsible for the Part B deductible ($183 in 2018). You may also be responsible for small copays at the doctor if you choose Plan N. The premium amounts for Plans G and N are generally lower than the rates for a Plan F.
If you are comfortable paying the monthly premium, a Medicare Supplement is a close to “full coverage” as you can get.
Freedom of choice
You’ll have freedom to go to any doctor, any hospital, anywhere in the United States (as long as they accept Medicare) without the need for referrals. This allows you and your doctor to have complete control and freedom of your medical care.
Don't forget Part D
Remember, if you choose a Supplemental plan, you will need to enroll in a Part D plan to help cover the costs of your prescriptions. Even if you aren’t currently taking any prescriptions, you may want to enroll in a plan to avoid the penalty.
Related Post: How do I find the right Medicare Part D plan?
What's not covered
Keep in mind, Medicare and Medicare Supplement plans will not cover dental, vision or any type of long term care. There are separate plans available if these services are important to you.
When to enroll
Some companies allow you to enroll in a Supplement up to 6 months prior to your 65th birth month. Most will start the process 3 months prior to your 65th birth month and will allow you to enroll without any health questions for several months. You need Medicare Parts A and B to enroll in a Supplement.
If you are ready to enroll, or need help choosing a Medicare supplement plan, but don't want an agent to come to your home, schedule a video conference with us today.
We are independent career insurance agents and will find the right plan and company for you.