What does Medicare Supplement Insurance offer that basic Medicare does not? In essence, it provides more coverage on top of what Medicare already gives you. If you have Medicare and you feel like you need some more coverage, then this type of insurance is just what you will need.
Medicare pays for a lot of basic services, and it covers you for parts of many others. But it can also leave you with a lot of expenses to pay on your own. Supplemental insurance comes in here, offering you coverage for different expenses. There are a lot of plans, and each of them will cover some of the same items as well as a few things that only a few other plans cover.
So what kind of coverage can you get from these plans? Well, you could be covered for more hospital stay expenses. Medicare only covers some of your costs for a short while. With many supplemental plans, you get an additional 365 days of coverage.
Popular Medicare Supplement Plans
A few of the most popular plans are Plan F, G, and Plan N.
- Covers 100% of the gaps in Medicare Part A and B
- No deductibles, no co-pays, and no coinsurance to pay
- The most comprehensive plan offered by Medicare
- Just like Plan F except you must pay the Part B deductible yourself
- After the deductible is met Plan G pays 100% just like Plan F does
- You almost always save money on Plan G over Plan F
- Similar to Plan G, on Plan N you still pay the annual Part B deductible yourself
- After you pay this deductible you might have a co-pay each doctor’s visit, but never more than $20
- There is a $50 co-pay if you visit the emergency room and you’re not admitted
- Plan N does not cover Part B excess charges
Visit our Learning Center at the top of this page to watch the videos on each of these plans.
Medicare Insurance coverage is often only the start of the process for many seniors. That is because to cover additional costs, more coverage may be required. That is where Medicare Supplement Insurance comes into play. There is a total of ten different Supplement plans available offered by dozens of insurance companies nationwide. At first, this can seem very complicated, but it will be easier to understand once we break down the various plans and explain which offer the most benefits. This will help you select the best plan for you.
Defining Medicare Supplement Insurance
The first thing to know is, having Medicare Part A and Part B are required before you can qualify for Supplement benefits. That is because these policies are designed to cover what Medicare doesn’t. Additionally, there’s no overlapping in coverage allowed. If you have an insurance plan through an employer or other source, you cannot qualify for a Medicare Supplement Insurance if your existing policy covers any of the same benefits.
Private insurance companies offer different Supplement insurance coverage. Nearly all major insurance companies offer Medicare Supplement Insurances, also known as Medigap coverage by some insurers. Of course, not all companies will provide the same exact plans, but all letter plans are required to offer the same coverage. Insurance carriers are allowed to set rates on their own.
Medicare Supplement Insurances
In all, there are a total of 10 Supplement plans available. Each plan is categorized by low-coverage or high-coverage plans. Each plan is referred to by a letter. The three high-coverage plans are the most popular, as they offer the most coverage benefits and reduces stress.
These high-coverage plans are Plan G, Plan F, and Plan N. They cover most to all of the extra costs left after Medicare’s 80%. Coverage includes Medicare Part B excess charges, copayments, and in Plan F Part A and B deductibles. Other benefits include Part A, nursing care, and Part B coinsurance, and foreign travels. You’re also covered for up to 3 pints of blood annually.
Plan F covers all of these, giving the most coverage out of all the plans. It covers the additional cost of any Medicare-approved service or treatment. The other plans only cover part of these benefits, with Plan G being the second runner up, as it covers everything except Part B deductibles.
While Plan F is the most comprehensive plan, it is often the most expensive option. If you have a lot of medical visits, it may be worth the cost, but you may save more by going with lower coverage. For example, Plan G and Plan N offer similar benefits with lower premiums.
Medicare Supplement Insurance G offers all the benefits of Plan F. The only difference is Part B deductibles are out of pocket. Also, Part B excess charges are a possible expense. However, in most cases, the excess charges are not much, and Plan G often saves money in the long run over Plan F. That is something many insurers avoid saying when you’re looking into Medicare Supplement Insurances, because they want you to believe the most expensive plans are the best of the best.
It is best to compare and carefully think about the different premium costs and selecting a plan that fits within your budget and offers the best rate between companies. After doing the math, you may notice the lower coverage plan will be cheaper over time for your needs. Premiums are a monthly cost, which can quickly add up in time for higher coverage insurance. Consider how much you could save with a lower premium plan.
Best Medicare Supplement Plan Rates
Just like car shopping, you do not want to purchase the first one you’re offered by the first company. It’s a process that you should carefully think about to ensure you get the Supplement plan that will help you the most.
We’ve covered some of the more beneficial plans above, but the following are some tips for what you should look for to find the best package for you.
First, ensure the plan includes any recurring costs. Even smaller recurring fees will quickly add up. By finding a plan that will cover these fees, you do not have to worry about constantly having the budget for them.
Another important consideration is the premium costs. You should be sure that you’re paying less in premiums than you would if you paid out of pocket for some of the expenses. If you can pay out of pocket for copays and still pay less with a lower premium, that may be the smarter option for you. If the plan costs you more in premiums than paying for medical bills out of pocket, choose another one.
Think about the future. Consider a plan that includes benefits you may need in the future, even if you do not need them now. For example, nursing care may not be something you need now, but it’s better to be prepared for the future before the time comes. Also, if a chronic health condition occurs, you should ensure coverage for deductibles and copays.
No matter what your current situation is, there’s a package out there that will benefit you. Just remember, comparing plans between companies is always the best approach to get the best deal. You can do this manually by looking at each insurance companies rates or reach out for help from a professional agent. There are many online tools available for getting quick quotes from dozens of carriers as well.
We offer a free comparison tool that allows you to do this without leaving the site. But, we always encourage shopping around for Medicare Supplement Insurances no matter which approach you choose.
And you could be covered for the cost of traveling to another country to receive your medical care. Many supplemental plans cover as much of 80% of these costs.
You could also receive coverage for deductibles and co-payments. These are costs that tend to occur every time you go to the hospital. Different plans will cover various deductibles and co-payments, elevating you with very little to pay on your own.
Medicare Supplemental insurance can also cover you for nursing care. This coverage only applies to approved nursing care facilities, but it can be a great way to cut down on some very expensive care.
And while Medicare only covers a small portion of the blood that many people need, supplemental insurance provides coverage for an additional three pints of blood every year.
Some procedures and treatments will cost you more than Medicare opts to pay. These excess charges can also be covered by your supplemental insurance.
Each plan is different, however. You will have to look at each one in turn to see what kind of coverage it offers you and match it up against the kind of medical expenses you are expecting to pay. Even with pre-existing conditions you can get a great rate on supplemental insurance premiums. And the sooner you sign up for them the better. This lets you lock in your rates and pay lower amounts from year to year than those who joined at a later time.
The rates will go up from year to year, so the sooner you can get the plan you want the better it will be for your finances. And each insurance company gets to set its own rates. They may have to listen to Medicare when it comes to providing coverage for each plan, but the rates are theirs to decide.
Medicare Supplement Insurance isn’t for everyone. Many people will be fine with just Medicare’s basic coverage, but for those who need that extra help, these insurance plans can come in very handy.
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