Medicare supplement plans or Medigap are insurance policies sold by private companies, which are meant to bridge the gaps in the original Medicare plan. For many of those who’ve taken out Medigap insurance themselves, the main purpose is to cover whatever isn’t by the original Medicare plan. Note that the latter pays for much, but not necessarily all of the expenses covered with regard to healthcare services and supplies.
Among other notable distinctions and advantages, a Medicare supplement plan may also cover some of the services not covered by the original Medicare, especially when you’re traveling outside the United States. It’s safe to say that there are many convincing reasons why investing in Medigap comes with its own merits.
But, before jumping right into buying one, it’s important to equip yourself first with as much information as you can gather about Medicare supplement plans. This article gives you a rundown of those basics.
The Basics Of Medicare Supplement Plans
First up is a brief background on what a Medicare supplement plan is. This insurance policy is meant to limit the amount you’ll have to pay for medical services once you’re on Medicare. For instance, with Medicare Plan A and Medicare Plan B, there are deductibles and other costs you’ll have to pay that don’t have an out-of-pocket maximum. This means you’ll have to find supplementary insurance to cover for those out-of-pocket expenses.
Under the original Medicare, you’ll still have to pay for the deductibles, co-pays, and a certain percentage of the services you receive from doctors. If you don’t want to shoulder costly out-of-pocket expenses for those, the Medigap can pay for those expenses for you.
Medicare supplement plans are classified from plan A to plan N. Each has its own distinctions, so it’s best to read on it more. You can start your research for more information on Medicare plan G inclusions.
The Benefits Of Medicare Supplement Plans
Like other insurance policies you’ll sign up for, Medigap plans also have their own set of advantages and disadvantages. These are some of the benefits to signing up for one:
• It comes with different plan options, depending on which best suits your individual healthcare needs.
• It helps cover certain costs, like copayments, deductibles, and coinsurance.
• It may cover a greater percentage of expenses you may incur for emergency medical services when traveling outside of the United States.
The Important Information You Have To Know About Medicare Supplement Plans
Before deciding to invest in one, here’s a list of some of the most important information you’ll first have to gather about Medicare supplement plans:
• Before applying for a Medicare supplement plan, you’ll first need to have Medicare Part A and Part B.
• Medigap policies that were sold after January 1, 2006 don’t have prescription drug coverage. To avail of such, you’ll need to join Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (Part D).
• A Medigap policy and Medicare Advantage Plan are two different things. Both are insurance policies to get more Medicare benefits. A Medigap policy, however, only supplements the original Medicare benefits you have.
• It’s illegal for a company to sell you a Medigap policy if you’re already a holder of a Medicare Advantage Plan, unless you’re switching back to holding only the original Medicare plan from the government.
• To successfully keep your Medigap policy, you’ll have to pay for monthly premiums to a private insurance company. These monthly premiums are an addition to the monthly premiums you’ll also have to pay for the Part B premium you pay with your original Medicare plan.
The ‘Guaranteed Renewal’ System
A Medigap insurance policy is one that comes with a ‘guaranteed renewal’ system. This means that your Medicare supplement plans are guaranteed renewable. You can’t be cancelled out of them unless you forget to pay your premiums.
The Disadvantages Of Medicare Supplement Plans
A little earlier in this article, the advantages of Medicare supplement plans were discussed. Now, it’s time to tackle the drawbacks. These aren’t meant to drive you out of investing in a Medicare supplement plan. Rather, it’s for you to weigh these disadvantages in relation to your personal circumstances. By doing so, you can make an ascertainment as to whether or not the benefits to you far exceed the disadvantages.
These are their potential drawbacks:
• Not all Medigap plans cover skilled nursing facilities or services like hospice care. So, be sure to check the plan offered to you by the insurance provider if you want to have coverage for those skilled nursing facilities.
• Medigap plans don’t cover prescription drug expenses, fitness memberships, as well as vision, dental, and hearing checks.
If you’ve long been thinking about the possibility of purchasing Medicare supplement plans, the list of basics to know above should be helpful and insightful in helping you make an informed decision. If you’re convinced now to go this route, the advantage for you to enjoy is that you can apply for the Medicare supplement plan at any time.