Medicare Supplement Insurance
Medicare Supplements, also known as Medigap Plans, help to cover some or all of the costs that Original Medicare does not cover. Having a Medicare Supplement policy will typically provide you with the maximum flexibility in provider choice. With a Medicare Supplement, you can see any provider that accepts Medicare and is accepting patients. There are no Networks or other issues to worry about.
How much of the costs are covered really depends on which Medigap plan that you purchase. There are Medicare Supplement Plans A-N, and all have different coverage. If you are on Original Medicare, then I believe that it is important to have a Medigap Plan in place. If you do not buy a Medicare Supplement Plan, you are putting yourself at some financial risk. If you do not purchase a Medigap policy, you will likely have to pay out-of-pocket for all of the costs of the deductibles and co-pays of Medicare.
Medicare Supplement plans are standardized by The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (a.k.a.: CMS), so once you decide on the right plan for you, you can easily compare plans from various Insurance Companies. Insurance Companies selling the same Medigap plan can charge very different premiums. Remember, it pays to compare! You can call every company yourself and find out their current rates, or you can find an Independent Insurance Agent who will be able to tell you which plans are the best value for you. The Insurance Companies do change their rates on plans, as their costs go up, so it pays to have an agent you are working with to get you the lowest rate. Given the fact that a Plan F Medicare Supplement from one company covers exactly what another companies Plan F will cover, it pays to shop around for the lowest rate. Some companies do have some extra benefits with their Medicare Supplement plans, but they are typically just bells and whistles. Some of the bells and whistles are nice. They may include:
24-hour nurse hotlines
Certain discounts for various items
Even a basic gym membership, at no additional cost
- Your Part B Premium
- Your Medicare Supplement Plan F Premium
- Your Premium for your Part D Rx Plan
- Any copays and deductibles for your Part D Rx Plan
Medicare Supplement Plan G has been gaining popularity in recent years. It functions exactly like Plan F, except for the Part B deductible. You agree to pay the Part B deductible each year, and after that, it pays everything else. The Part B deductible is $233 per year as of 2022. Quite often we can find Medicare Supplement Plan G premiums that save you more than $233/year. This means that you come out ahead in the long run.
Medicare Supplement Plan N is becoming another very popular choice with people new to Medicare Plans. The Medicare Plan N costs less then the Plan F, and can be a good alternative to a Medicare Advantage Plan. The Plan N is a like a hybrid plan that covers most services, but there are co pays and deductibles that you will need to pay.
The largest costs to consider with the Medicare Plan N are as follows:
- $20 co-payment for some doctor office visits
- $50 co-payment for Emergency Room visits (not if you are admitted as an in-patient)
- Your annual Medicare Part B deductible
- Medicare Part B excess charges (some doctors may charge up to 15% over what Medicare allows)
If you think the Medicare Plan N might be a good fit, please feel free to call and find out more about your options.
What is Not Covered by Medicare Supplement Plans?
Medicare Supplements only pay after Medicare has first paid its share. If Medicare approves a claim and pays the part that Medicare owes, it will forward the remainder of the bill to your Medicare Supplement.
Some things that are not covered by Medicare or your Medicare Supplement are:
- Routine dental, vision and hearing exams
- Hearing aids
- Eyeglasses or contacts
- Long-term care or custodial care
- Retail prescription drugs
Choosing a Medicare Supplement
Since Medigap plans are standardized, you will know exactly which benefits you are purchasing. Also, all Medicare Supplement plans are guaranteed renewable. Therefore, you don’t have to reapply each year. There are several factors that you will want to know about each insurance carrier before you choose your Supplement though:
Rates – What is a Medicare Supplement premium? It’s the monthly rate that you pay to the insurance company that provides your Medicare Supplement coverage? Find out what premium each insurance carrier will charge you. Are they offering a low premium? Is it competitive with other Medigap insurance companies in your area?
Rate trend history – Most policies will have an annual rate increase to keep up with medical inflation. What kind of rate increases has the carrier you are considering had over the last 3 years? Are the rate increases reasonable or significantly higher than the competitors?
Financial ratings – A number of rating companies dig into the financial stability of each insurance carrier. These companies give reports, or grades, on the fiscal health of the insurer. Ask your agent what the A.M. Best and Weiss Ratings are for each carrier. Then consider this information when making your selection.
Get a personalized analysis of which Medigap insurance carrier offers the best pricing, financial rating and rate trend history. Request quotes here.
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We understand that Medicare matters can get quite complicated. It is better to get help understanding Medicare before you sign up for a plan. With our help, you will have in-depth health insurance knowledge of the benefits offered by basic and supplement plans.
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