If Medicare isn’t covering all of your health costs, Medicare supplemental insurance, or Medigap, could be an option for you. There are a total of 12 Medicare supplemental insurance plans, with varying benefits and costs. Plan A is the least expensive and offers the least amount of benefits, while Plan L is quite the opposite, offering the most benefits at the most expensive price.
The best time to buy Medicare supplemental insurance is when you will be accepted regardless of any pre-existing health conditions. This time line lasts only 6 months after you become a part of Medicare part B. The benefits of each Medicare supplemental insurance plan does not vary from company to company, even if an agent tells you otherwise. The only thing that changes from one company to another is the cost of the premiums.
Do not make the mistake of paying a higher premium for the same plan thinking that you will get something more because of it. This is not the case! Just because a premium is different for the same plan does not mean that plan changes in any way from company to company. It would be a good thing to remember also that premiums tend to rise every year due to inflation.
Another expense you should be wary of is the deductible. This is the amount of money you must pay before the Medicare of Medigap coverage will take over your claims. Some Medigap plans split the deductible with you, and some take advantage of co-pays or co-insurance. A co-pay is anything after the deductible that the insured person pays whenever a medical situation is assessed. Co-pay is technically a type of co-insurance, but co-pays are fixed rates while co-insurance can change depending on how much must be paid.
On June 1, 2010, laws changed many of the plans for Medigap, including removing and adding plans entirely. To determine which plan is best for you, consult with a Medicare professional. You may start thinking about how much you’re willing to pay, whether you want to pay some of your medical bills as a trade off for a lower premium, whether you want to pay a deductible yearly or whenever you are admitted into a hospital, etc. Each Medicare supplemental insurance plan combines certain benefits is various different ways, so choosing a personalized plan is easier once you know the answers to a few simple questions.
When purchasing Medicare supplemental insurance, be wary of insurance agents telling you that you get more when you pay higher premiums. Many times, insurance agents will try to get you to go for the higher premium, but you don’t have to. Plans are the same across companies. Also be aware of things like the amount of the deductible or co-pay. If either of these is too much for you, you are essentially uninsured because of your inability to pay for medical care under an insurance plan.
If Medicare isn’t covering all of your health related costs and needs, consider looking into a Medicare supplemental insurance policy to help fill in the gaps in your insurance.