As we all know, Medicare doesn’t ever cover 100% of your medical costs. So, that’s when you start looking for the best Medicare supplement plans, to suit your budget and your needs. But, what do you actually know about Medicare Supplement Plans and their benefits?
What Medicare supplement insurance plans actually do is add additional coverage to fill the gap in coverage between Medicare and your actual medical expenses. A whole host of private companies sell these “Medigap” (that’s what these are called) policies, which are generally used to cover expenses such as deductibles and co-pays.
Coverage can be, in fact often is, difficult to comprehend , and varies from state to state. Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Wisconsin offer their own policies for in-state residents. The other 47 states in the U.S. depend on 11 standard plans that accommodate all types of demands including health, lifestyle, and budget. These plans also vary based on coinsurance requirements including hospital stay, hospice care, travel needs – to name a few.
We considered a number of popular Medicare supplement plans, and identified the three best options in 2018. Our conclusions are based on feedback from customers in the market, reviewed published data and talking to insurance experts. What we found is that no one plan is best for every situation, so we suggest that you shop around with the help and advice of a Medicare expert, such as United Medicare Advisors, to compare plan benefits.
A spokesman with the U.S. Social Security Administration told us , when questioned about
the biggest mistake Americans make regarding Medicare supplemental insurance, that, “Everyone thinks they have enough coverage when they’re 65 if they’re working or if they have insurance through their spouse. They don’t think they have to sign up. Then later they find out they have missed their open enrolment period.”
Tips to the wise
Sign up for Medicare supplement insurance within 6-months after you turn 65 (or older) and also enrol in Medicare Part B
During the open enrolment period, insurers are banned by federal law from denying buyers coverage or charging higher premiums even if they have a pre-existing health condition or disability. However, if you try to sign up outside that window, you will probably pay more in premiums, and may even be refused.
There are three major factors that should be taken into account when you are shopping around for the best supplemental insurance policy:
- Price transparency: You will be faced with a number of expenses, charges, and premiums to figure out. Set your budget, and then look for a company that is upfront about premiums before you sign up.
- Helpfulness: Make sure you have all the information you need to make an informed decision. You should be a sceptical buyer, even though Medigap insurance is strictly regulated. Look for a company that:
- Meets your specific needs
- Has a physical office for face-to-face meetings
- Helpful customer service representatives on the phone, or for online chats
- Coverage: The more coverage choices you are given, the more opportunities you will have to save and get the best, most cost-effective plan. You should only consider companies that offer several or all of the 11 standard plans, then choose the one that works the best for you.
Medicare Supplemental Benefits by Plan Type
- In addition to your original Medicare or an MA Plan, you could join other types of Medicare health plans
- You may be able to get help with paying costs or find other choices if you have limited income and lack financial resources
- You may also have other coverage, such as employer or union coverage, military, or veterans’ benefits