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How to Choose Medicare Supplement Insurance plans


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A bird’s eye view of Medicare Supplement Insurance plans

Medicare Supplement Insurance plans (Medigap) are offered by private insurers. Medicare Supplement Insurance plans work alongside Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) and Medicare Part B (medical insurance).

Medicare Supplement Insurance plans help pay some of the costs not paid by Medicare such as deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance.

The popularity of Medicare Supplement Insurance plans may have gotten a further boost when the federal government standardized the benefits of Medicare Supplement Insurance plans in the early 1990s. Only Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Wisconsin have different standardized benefits for Medicare Supplement Insurance plans.

How to compare Medicare Supplement Insurance plans

Although the standardization of benefits makes it easier for you to compare Medicare Supplement Insurance plans, the task may seem daunting. You may have up to eleven (11) types of Medicare Supplement Insurance plan types from which to choose. You can find these standardized types by using the Medicare Supplement Comparison Chart on our website, which is also available on the government-sponsored website, medicare.gov.

A few points may help you focus your analysis of Medicare Supplement Insurance plan options.

First, Medicare Supplement Plans C and F will no longer be available to new Medicare enrollees beginning in 2020. You’ll still be able to keep Plan C or Plan F if you already have it. You can even apply for a new Plan C or Plan F, as long as you’re eligible for Medicare before January 1, 2020.

Second, the Medicare Supplement Comparison Chart focuses on 10 different health care costs that a Medicare Supplement Insurance plan could cover. These health care costs include:

  1. Medicare Part A coinsurance and hospital costs up to one more year after Medicare benefits are used up
  2. Medicare Part B coinsurance or copayment
  3. First three pints of blood
  4. Medicare Part A Hospice copayment or coinsurance
  5. Skilled nursing facility coinsurance
  6. Medicare Part A deductible
  7. Medicare Part B deductible (not available to new Medicare enrollees after 2019)
  8. Medicare Part B excess charges
  9. Foreign travel emergency (up to plan limits)
  10. Out-of-pocket limit

Consider your finance objectives with a Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan  

Are you a person who doesn’t like surprise costs impacting your budget? If so, you may prefer a Medicare Supplement Insurance plan that provides the most comprehensive coverage for covered services not paid by Medicare.

Medicare Supplement Insurance plans that provide this broader coverage include Plan F (only available to new Medicare enrollees through 2019) and Plan G. You might pay a higher premium for a Medicare Supplement Insurance plan that offers more comprehensive coverage. A new, high-deductible Plan G might become available in 2020, according to America’s Health Insurance Plans.

If you can tolerate some out-of-pocket health care expenses during the year, but you want to protect your finances from potentially catastrophic costs, you may find Medicare Supplement Insurance plan K or Plan L attractive. These two Medicare Supplement Insurance plan types provide an out-of-pocket limit on the amount you would have to pay for covered services during a benefit year. Once you reach this limit, Medicare Supplement Insurance plan K or Plan L pays 100% of covered services for the rest of the benefit year. Medicare has no limits on the amount of cost-share you might have to pay during a benefit year.

Depending upon your lifestyle and personal preferences, you may be comfortable selecting Medicare Supplement Insurance plans that do not include coverage for emergency care while traveling abroad. Or you may know that your doctors participate in Medicare and accept the Medicare approved amount for covered services. Refer to this Medigap plan benefits chart, which may be useful when comparing Medigap plans.

You likely want to focus your attention are Medicare Supplement Insurance plan types that cover a portion of the costs related to Medicare covered services that are potentially very expensive. These health care services are ranked below from highest to lowest probable cost:

  • The deductible you may have to pay each time you are admitted to a hospital
  • The coinsurance you may have to pay for other hospital services
  • The coinsurance you may have to pay if you are admitted to a skilled nursing facility after hospital discharge
  • Your 20% coinsurance for outpatient lab tests and other outpatient services
  • Your 20% coinsurance for physician visits

Most Medicare Supplement Insurance plan types cover hospital deductibles. However, Medicare Supplement Insurance plan K and Plan L cover only a portion of your costs: Plan K covers 50% and Plan L covers 75%. You would be responsible for the balance. Plan A does not cover the hospital deductible.

All 11 Medicare Supplement Insurance plans provide coverage for Part A coinsurance and hospital costs up to an additional 365 days after Medicare benefits are exhausted. If you select the high-deductible Plan F, however, you’ll need to pay Medicare-covered costs up to the deductible amount of $2,300 before your Medicare Supplement Insurance plan pays anything. Keep in mind the changes in Plan F availability noted above.

Most Medicare Supplement Insurance plan types cover skilled nursing facility coinsurance. Again, however, Medicare Supplement Insurance plan K and Plan L cover only a portion of your costs. Neither Plan A nor Plan B will pay any of a skilled nursing facility coinsurance.

All Medicare Supplement Insurance plans cover the Part B coinsurance for physician and outpatient services. However, Plan K and Plan L cover only a portion (50% and 75%, respectively). Plan N pays 100% of the Part B coinsurance, except for a copayment. You would pay up to $20 for some office visits and up to a $50 copayment for emergency room visits that don’t result in hospital admission.

Compare Medicare Supplement premiums

Although insurers may offer the same Medicare Supplement Insurance plan types, they don’t have to charge the same premium rate and you can compare prices. You can find out more about the Medicare Supplement Insurance plans available where you live by entering your zip code below.

The purpose of this communication is the solicitation of insurance. Contact will be made by an insurance agent/producer or insurance company.

Medicare Supplement insurance plans are not connected with or endorsed by the U.S. government or the Federal Medicare program.

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