Medicare is a great asset to have. However, it is not capable of covering 100% of every expense. Medicare leaves behind a deductible (amount of money you pay out of pocket before Medicare pays anything), coinsurance (Medicare pays 80%, you pay 20%) and copays (a set fee paid to visit certain professional services).
Supplemental insurance covers what is left behind after Medicare pays. With Medicare you pay a deductible, coinsurance and copays out of pocket. The supplemental insurance picks up a portion, if not all, of what Medicare leaves for you to pay.
The answer is yes. There is an additional cost to have supplement insurance. You pay to have Medicare and you pay to have a supplement. Just paying one deductible from Medicare could cover 4-6 months of supplemental coverage. The cost for supplemental insurance varies from company to company and also the extent of coverage.
The best coverage possible would cover the Medicare deductible, coinsurance and copays. It should pick up any charges left behind by Medicare. It should also cover the charges once Medicare benefits have exhausted.
Unfortunately, the answer is yes. Most supplemental insurance coverage only pays for the portions left behind that Medicare allows. What that means to you is if Medicare denies a charge as not allowed, your supplement has the right to follow suit. If Medicare denies a charge, chances are good your supplement will too.
Just like any purchase, you should shop around for supplemental insurance. Not every company offers the same coverage for the same price. Some companies even have various plans to choose from. Make sure you check their rating. Any Insurance Commissioner’s office and the Better Business Bureau can tell you if the company is good. You need to make sure they are good at paying claims in a timely fashion. Also verify that they have been in business for at least a few years. This is important because you need a company that has the funds to pay your claims. New companies do not always have the funds readily available to pay claims.