Medicare offers a basic plan along with a lot of optional insurance coverage plans that add more coverage onto the basic package. Medicare Part B is the most common addition, but there are tons more. We’re going to look at some of those here, along with basic Medicare to give you an aide of what is available to you.
Keep checking back for the Medicare Part B Premium and Deductible Amounts
What Medicare Sells
You should understand right away that not all Medicare insurance is purchased through Medicare. You can buy supplement plans and other forms of Medicare coverage from private insurance companies. For this section, however, we are going to talk about the bits of coverage you get directly from the source.
Medicare is a government medical insurance program that is aimed at seniors. For most of the coverage plans, you have to be 65 years or older to even be eligible. The basic plan is called Medicare Part A, and it covers hospice care, nursing care, and other expenses related to your hospital stay. It won’t cover the entirety of many of those expenses, but it does offer you some excellent base coverage.
Medicare Part B is also exclusively for Medicare, and it comes with coverage for numerous doctor’s services and medical tests. A lot of procedures you might have performed on you in a hospital would be covered under this plan. Like Part A, it won’t cover all aspects of each expense it offers coverage for. Both of these parts of Medicare leave you with deductibles and co-payments to take care of on your own. Part A leaves you with coinsurance as well, and Part B leaves you with excess charges sometimes.
Medicare also sells Part D, which is meant to cover the cost of prescription drugs for Medicare subscribers. This coverage is echoed in other Medicare plans, so be careful about the overlap that can be caused by signing up for multiple plans. If you have two plan with the same coverage being offered, you will have to drop one of them. Part D is usually a plan people will sign up for until they are ready for a Medicare Advantage plan.
These make up all of Medicare’s offerings. Anything else you purchase will come from outside of Medicare, but Medicare still approves it. If you buy a supplemental plan or an Advantage plan, then you still get something with Medicare’s approval. The coverage for all these other plans is all designed and decided by Medicare, not private insurance companies. What makes them different is that Medicare sets prices for its own plans- Medicare parts A, B and D- and private insurance companies set their own prices for what they sell.
What Private Providers Sell
Now if you go to private insurance companies, you won’t find anything like Medicare Part B. They cannot sell you the base plan or any of its base additions. They can sell you any of the Medicare supplement plans (sometimes called Medigap plans) or Medicare Advantage plans. Now there are lots of these- ten supplemental plans and nearly as many Advantage plans. That means that not all insurance companies that sell these plans will offer you every one of them that Medicare has created. They don’t have to, and they don’t have to abide by any set prices either.
That gives them lots of leeway for customization as to what they offer and how much they charge for it. That means that if you want to get a good deal on the plan you think will work best for you, then you have to compare rates and offerings between insurance companies.
Supplemental plans can cover a lot of what you don’t get covered with the basic Medicare plans. They provide coverage for any number of the following expenses:
- Medicare Part A and B co-payments
- Medicare Part A and B deductibles
- Medicare part A coinsurance (hospice care)
- Medicare Part B excess charges
- Skilled nursing care at specified facilities
- Some additional blood each year
- Medical care that is administered outside the country on an emergency basis
Like the other plans, their coverage is not full coverage. Not one of the ten plans that fall under the supplemental category can be added onto a Medicare plan and cover every medical expense you have left to pay. They are designed to add some coverage, and there are enough of them that you should be able to find one that works pretty well for you. The high-coverage ones can take care of people who have a lot of medical expenses, and the other plans can take care of everyone else.
Advantage plans are identified as Medicare Part C. They are also sold by private insurance companies, and they are differentiated not by their coverage but by the way they work with a network of health providers. Each insurance company that sells advantage plans has a network of clinics and hospitals that they partner with. Those networks determine where the plans will be valid and how much coverage you get for your medical expenses at each medical facility in the country.
How to Cut Your Costs
Because many of these plans are offered from various companies at a variety of prices, you have a great opportunity to save some money. You can pay less than the market average for many of them, you simply have to know where to look.
A great place to start looking is on our website. There we offer the tools you need to compare rates between insurance companies. You can search for the plan you want to sign up for and see what some of the insurance companies near you are charging for that plan. It’s easy and fast, and best of all, it won’t cost you anything. You can use the site as often as you need to find great rates on plans you need. You won’t find Medicare Part B there, but you will find rates on all supplemental plans and Advantage plans.