Medicare Supplements (Medigap)
Medicare can be complicated. There’s so much to know and it can be confusing when learning about how the many parts fit together to provide health insurance. If you’re beginning the research process, you may be wondering if Medicare has any supplemental insurance options.
Medicare supplemental insurance is one of the best ways to lower your medical costs and still have access to the healthcare you need. Medigap doesn’t change your Medicare coverage. Instead, it pays for a percentage (or all) of your out-of-pocket costs. This means that you could only pay a fraction of what you’d owe without Medigap.
Considering enrollment in a new type of insurance is a big deal. It’s important to do the necessary research and learn everything possible about the options you have available. Let’s discuss the possibilities and go into detail about what coverage this type of insurance provides.
Medicare’s supplemental insurance is called “Medigap.” It’s sold through private insurance companies that have a close working relationship with Medicare. This is crucial, as they’re able to help their beneficiaries make important decisions and select the best Medigap policy for their Medicare plan.
There are currently ten Medigap plans. Each of these plans is assigned a letter and offers varying amounts of coverage. When selecting a specific Medigap policy, there are a few things you should keep in mind.
Reducing costs is the primary reason why many people choose Medigap. Only having to pay a percentage of medical bills can provide huge financial relief and offset the cost of Medigap. When selecting a policy, take a look at your past Medicare bills. This will show the areas that you’ve spent the most on previously. Now, see which Medigap policy offers the most substantial coverage in that area.
If you’re planning on traveling, that should be taken into consideration. If you have a health condition that requires blood transfusions, that can also be looked at when selecting a Medigap plan. There are so many things that must be taken into consideration when selecting a Medigap policy.
Medigap policies only provide coverage for one individual. If you’re wanting to purchase Medigap coverage for someone else in your family, you’ll need to do that separately. If you’re not sure which policy is best for them, don’t hesitate to reach out to an insurance provider who can answer your questions and help guide you in the right direction. It’s important to take your time and be sure you’re making the right decision when choosing a policy. Being confident in your choice will provide you with peace of mind
Why Buy Supplemental Insurance?
As with any insurance decision, it’s very important to research. There are two primary things you should research when learning about Medigap
- Understanding each policy and what it offers is essential.Though there are ten plans, many are very similar. The small variations are important, however, as they’re what will be the difference between a good plan and a great plan. Each individual has specific needs that Medicare can help provide for. Understanding what those needs are and how they translate to insurance will guide your decision and save you money in the future.
- Looking through the insurance providers in your area and their Medigap offerings will help you know that you’re getting a fair deal. Because Medigap is sold through private insurance companies, you have a choice about who you’ll buy it from. When looking into the agencies in your area, know that it’s always okay to ask for a quote. Being able to compare prices is one of the best tools you’ll have in determining the right insurance.
Working With an Insurance Provider
Insurance providers are not only important because they offer policies, but also because of the help and assistance they can provide. While you’re researching, take note of the tone of different agencies and the interactions you have with their employees. Did you feel welcome, heard and understood? Were your needs listened to and taken into account when suggestions were made? All of these things are very important and an excellent indicator of an insurance agency’s quality.
Finding the Right Price
The only way to gain an accurate understanding of Medigap prices is to ask for quotes from different insurance providers. Price may be the defining factor when selecting a Medigap policy, so make sure you get quotes and find the right provider.
Prices of Medigap plans can vary depending on a few factors. How old you are, where you’re buying the policy and your health history can all be factors. It’s important to remember that Medigap is like an investment: purchasing now will save you money in the long run.
Premiums can vary greatly. They can range from $30-$300 and sometimes more. The type of policy you select will most likely be the biggest determinant in premium amount. As coverage increases, your premium will most likely as well. Location is another big factor in premium price. Different states have varying pricing strategies and insurance providers may formulate their prices differently. If you’re concerned about the premium of a Medigap policy, ask around to local insurance providers and get quotes.
If you’re looking for the lowest premium, consider purchasing one of the high-deductible options. These plans have an increased deductible that must be paid for out-of-pocket before your Medigap coverage begins. This is a great option for those that aren’t planning on using their coverage but want to have it just in case. While the deductible amount may seem daunting, it’s important to remember that medical bills are high and just one hospital stay can result in a large bill. If you pay off the deductible, your Medigap coverage will begin and you’ll have access to all the same benefits.
Medigap Areas of Coverage
There are three main areas of coverage that Medigap offers. Not all policies include all three areas of coverage and some include varying percentages. Coinsurance, deductibles and copayments are the three main areas of cost that Medigap can reduce.
There are a few other things besides the main three areas that Medigap plans do cover. They can include coverage for blood transfusions, foreign travel exchange and more. Because Medigap offers coverage in so many different areas, it’s an extremely practical solution if you’re looking to lower your medical bills. It won’t ask you to simply select just one area of coverage and instead offers options for people in many different situations.
Because Medigap plans are so similar, it’s hard to make a bad choice. While you should think carefully about your initial enrollment and which policy is best for your situation, each policy provides excellent coverage and can significantly reduce medical bills. Enrolling in Medigap is one of the best ways to lessen how much you owe while still having the same great Medicare coverage.
Just like most Medicare services, Medigap requires a monthly premium. By paying this premium on time, you’ll keep your coverage and still have access to the same benefits. This premium is separate from any premiums that you pay for Original Medicare. So if you pay a Part B premium, you’ll pay that as well as your Medigap premium.
Paying the monthly premium is incredibly important. Keeping your Medigap coverage relies on your timely payments. The good news is that the insurance company you purchased your policy from cannot cancel it due to any new health concerns. If you’re diagnosed with a serious health problem, you won’t need to worry about your insurance being canceled. This is one of the best features of Medigap, as it ensures you’ll be protected in a wide variety of situations. Enrolling in renewable insurance policies is one of the best ways to plan for the future.
When receiving healthcare, your Medicare policy will always be billed first. From the remaining amount that you owe, your Medigap policy coverage will extend. A Medigap policy is not intended to be the first line of defense. This is one of the primary reasons why it’s required that you have Original Medicare. Medigap can only work synchronously with another policy.
New to Medigap?
If you’re enrolling in Medigap now, you’ll have slightly more limited options. Those who enrolled early in 2020 still have access to all of the Medigap policies. If you’re just enrolling now, know that you still have many options and Medigap is completely worth it. It’s best to purchase Medigap when you’re enrolling in Medicare for the first time. Medicare has very specific enrollment periods that must be met. If you’ve missed the Initial Enrollment Period, consider purchasing a Medigap policy during the Open Enrollment Period.
Prescription Drug Coverage
Prescription drug coverage can be purchased through Medicare in various ways. Medigap is not one of those ways. Since 2006, Medigap plans are not able to provide drug coverage within their benefits.
If you have Original Medicare and are wanting to enroll in prescription drug coverage, consider Part D. This branch of Medicare provides varying amounts of coverage for medications in different tiers. Enrolling in Part D is an excellent way to reduce the amount you’ll pay at the pharmacy and ensure you have access to the medication you need.
If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, it’s possible to build drug coverage into your policy. The best way to do this is by speaking with your insurance provider and learning more about the options available to you. If you’re concerned about the price you’re paying for prescription drugs, know that there’s coverage available. You deserve to have access to the medication you need and Medicare can make that happen.
Under 65 Disabled Working Individuals
As long as you are medically disabled, you can keep your Medicare coverage, even if you decide to go back to work. You will not have to pay for your Part A premium for the first 8.5 years but will then have to pay your premium. If you cannot afford your Part A premium, you can see if you qualify for a Medicare Savings Program. The Qualified Medicare Beneficiary program helps to pay for Part A and Part B premiums as well as cost-sharing expenses such as deductibles and copayments. The Qualified Disabled and Working Individuals (QDWI) Program helps to pay your Part A premium once you lose your premium-free Part A because you go back to work. There are qualifying monthly income limits and resource limits to qualify for the program.
Medigap and Employer Health Coverage
Part A covers your inpatient care in a hospital or skilled nursing facility, as well as hospice and home health care.
It’s extremely important to remember that Medigap does not extend beyond the coverage of Medicare. If something isn’t covered by your Original Medicare policy, you’ll be expected to pay for it out-of-pocket entirely. Your Medigap policy will not cover any of the costs. This is one of the reasons why it’s so important to select providers and services that are covered by your health insurance. Taking advantage of your coverage and learning to maximize your benefits is one of the best ways to reduce your medical bills.