Medicare Supplemental Insurance Plans – also known by the name Medigap – are a form of private health coverage that covers some, or all, of Original Medicare’s costs, including deductibles and copays. Medigap is regulated by both state and federal agencies. It is different from other forms of insurance like retiree health benefits or group plans.
It is best to compare the benefits offered by each Medicare Supplement policy, and then do the math. You can find the best plan for your budget by comparing your monthly premiums to your expected out of pocket medical expenses. Take into consideration your health status now and in the future, as you will also need to consider your family history. You should make a decision as soon as possible, before the one-time enrollment period that begins at 65 years old ends. During this time, you are guaranteed access to Medicare Supplement policies of your choice without being turned down or having your coverage revoked.
In general, the higher the premium per month, the more comprehensive a Medicare Supplement policy is. However, premiums vary by insurance company and can change yearly. Some Medicare Supplement policies offer extra benefits, such as foreign travel protection or dental care and vision care.
Plan F is the most common plan, as it covers most out-of pocket costs associated with Original Medicare except for the Part-B deductible, which is $226 by 2023. Plans G and N also come in high-deductible versions.
The Medicare Supplement insurance policy you purchase will also exclude certain things, such as expenses incurred while the policy is not in effect and the cost of non-Medicare-eligible services like routine eye care and dental work. It won’t pay for a stay in hospital or nursing home if the patient is not receiving hospice or respite coverage.
Medicare Advantage Plans don’t require you to have a Medicare Supplement policy, but it’s a good idea that you consult your insurer before switching. You should check with your current provider to ensure that your Medicare advantage plan is a credible coverage.
If you do decide to switch plans, enroll in the Medicare Part D drug plan before the open enrollment period ends on December 7, which runs from Oct. 15. If you decide to sign up for a Medicare Part D drug plan later, but you didn’t do it during the open enrollment period, you will be charged 1% of your Medicare-approved base monthly rate. Call the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services for more information. In addition, you should check with your local health department to ensure that the Medicare Advantage plan is credible in your area. Before signing up for Medicare, you should also check to see if your Medicare plan is credible when you move from one state to another.
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