COMPARING MEDICARE SUPPLEMENT PLANS
What type of healthcare plan will wok best for you? It depends, but comparing Medicare Supplement plans will help you better understand your options. When you turn 65, you’ll know exactly how you want to proceed.
Many people experience confusion about their healthcare options as they near age 65. What type of healthcare plan will work best for you? Do you need to consider Medicare Supplement plans?
The answers to these questions depend on the individual, but comparing Medicare Supplement plans will help you better understand your options. When you turn 65, you’ll know exactly how you want to proceed.
The following are some of the factors to take into consideration when you compare Medicare Supplement plans.
MEDICARE SUPPLEMENT PLANS FILL IN THE ORIGINAL MEDICARE GAPS
Medigap plans fill in some of the gaps in healthcare coverage that Original Medicare leaves behind. It can pay for part or all of your copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles.
A copayment is a fixed fee you pay to a provider at the time of service. A copayment to your general practitioner for a checkup, for instance, might cost $10, while the copayment for an emergency room visit might cost $150.
Coinsurance works differently. It establishes how much you owe based on a percentage of a healthcare provider’s total fee. Let’s say, for instance, that you pay 20 percent, while the insurance company picks up the remaining 80 percent. If the total bill is $100, you’ll pay $20.
Deductibles apply to the entire year. Once you reach the deductible, the insurance company will pick up the bills. The Original Medicare Part B deductible is $183 as of 2018. After you’ve spent $183 out-of-pocket on doctors’ visits or outpatient hospital services, the insurance company begins paying.
When you compare Medicare Supplement plans, consider the portion of a given healthcare cost the insurance company pays. For example, Medigap plans C and F pay for 100 percent of your Part B deductible. You won’t have to pay $183 out-of-pocket to begin receiving benefits.
Each Medigap plan covers a different set of gaps. You can choose from 10 different Medigap plans: A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M, and N. The best plan for you depends on your budget and your healthcare needs.
The most comprehensive of the Medicare Supplement plans, Plan F, covers the most. It results in almost no out-of-pocket expenses after you pay the premium, which appeals to many Medicare recipients.
However, more comprehensive coverage leads to higher premiums. If you want to reduce your monthly fixed costs, you can choose from the other Medicare Supplement plans.
MEDIGAP PLANS ARE STANDARDIZED
It’s easy to compare Medigap plans to one another because they’re standardized. In other words, Plan A always looks the same in terms of coverage levels.
Every Plan A covers 100 percent of your Original Medicare Part A coinsurance, Medicare Part B coinsurance or copayments, the first three pints of blood each year, and Part A hospice care coinsurance or copayment. It doesn’t matter which insurance company you choose.
Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Wisconsin standardize Medicare Supplement plans differently than the rest of the states. If you live in one of those states, you’ll still benefit from standardization, but you’ll follow a different chart.
The standardization helps you compare plans faster. You don’t have to run the numbers when choosing between different insurance companies. Just worry about the premiums and the individual insurance company’s reputation and brand image.
INDIVIDUAL INSURANCE COMPANIES OFFER MEDIGAP PLANS
While a Medigap plan always offers the same coverage, you still need to compare them. This is because Medicare Supplement insurance companies set their own premiums for each plan.
To be eligible for Medigap, you must already have Original Medicare Parts A and B. You can then purchase additional coverage in the form of a Medicare Supplement to reduce your healthcare costs. You don’t want to overpay by neglecting to compare different insurers’ premiums.
For instance, Medigap Plan K might cost $120 per month if you buy it from Insurance Company ABC. However, if you get it from Insurance Company XYZ, you might pay $130.
Comparison shopping will help you decide which Medicare Supplement insurance companies offer the best deals in your area. Insurance companies aren’t required to offer every plan in every state, for instance, which is why you must search for quotes based on your zip code.
Some insurance companies charge higher premiums in certain states than in others. You don’t want to make a decision based on faulty research.
Regulations do set forth a few requirements. For instance, if an insurance company decides to offer any Medigap plan, it must offer Plan A at a minimum. It must also offer either Plan C or Plan F.
SOME PLANS COVER SMALLER PERCENTAGES OF COSTS
You might find lots of comparison charts for Medicare Supplement plans. Each uses its own indicators for what each plan covers.
For instance, if the plan covers all of a given cost, the chart might include one of several indicators in the box:
- “100 percent”
- A checkmark
If a box is blank, reads “N/A/” or says “0,” that plan doesn’t cover the particular healthcare cost at all.
However, some Medigap plans offer smaller percentages of coverage instead of simply covering zero or 100 percent. Medigap Plans K and M cover 50 percent of your Original Medicare Part A deductible, while Plan L covers 75 percent. Plans B, C, D, F, G, and L cover 100 percent of the Part A deductible, but Plan A doesn’t cover any portion at all.
YOU’LL WANT TO KEEP YOUR MEDIGAP PLAN
You might feel tempted to choose the least expensive Medigap plan because you’re in excellent health. However, if you decide to switch plans later, you’ll find yourself subject to underwriting.
Insurance companies can then take into consideration your overall health, pre-existing conditions, chronic illnesses, and more. They can charge you a higher premium or deny coverage entirely.
Choose a Medigap plan you’ll want to keep for the rest of your life. That way, you can enroll during your Initial Enrollment Period and avoid underwriting altogether. Consider your current income and expenses as well as forecasts for the future.
Comparing Medicare Supplement plans might seem confusing, but it becomes easier when you have all the facts. Since Medigap is standardized regardless of the insurance company you choose, you can feel confident comparing options based on premiums.
Consider upfront as well as out-of-pocket costs. Compare those potential and existing costs to your monthly budget and total savings.
Once you know what plan you’re most interested in, use Ensurem’s Medigap Quoter. You can select the plans you might want to buy and get quotes immediately. Compare the plans side-by-side to decide which will work best for you.