9 WAYS RETIREES CAN BENEFIT FROM MEDICARE SUPPLEMENT PLANS
When you reach retirement age, you have to decide what healthcare option best fits your needs. Medicare Supplement plans can make budgeting your finances easier and reduce the strain of visiting doctors, hospitals, and other healthcare providers.
Everyone has different circumstances, though, so it’s essential to understand your options and their benefits when it comes to Medicare. The following are nine ways in which you can benefit from Medicare Supplement plans as a retiree.
1. MEDICARE SUPPLEMENT PLANS FILL GAPS IN ORIGINAL MEDICARE
While Original Medicare (Parts A and B) offers some coverage for healthcare costs, it leaves certain gaps. For instance, it often requires beneficiaries to pay high deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance.
A deductible is the amount of money you must pay out-of-pocket for healthcare costs before the insurance company picks up the tab, while coinsurance represents the percentage of healthcare expenses the patient owes. Copayments are paid at the time of service; they’re typically fixed amounts based on the type of service you need.
Medicare Supplement plans may cover part or all of these expenses. You’ll pay an extra premium to a private insurance company, but most of your costs remain fixed instead of unpredictable.
Some Medigap insurance plans cover more than others.This is why it’s essential to buy the best Medicare Supplement for your needs. With 10 plan options, it’s easy to find coverage that meets your specific needs.
2. THE BEST MEDICARE SUPPLEMENT PLAN HELPS YOU MANAGE YOUR FINANCES
There is no best Medicare Supplement plan for everyone, even amongst family members. You and your spouse might start researching Medigap insurance at the same time, but discover you have different needs.
Fortunately, it’s easy to shop for Medicare Supplement plans.
The federal government regulates the plans. They’re standardized across the board, which means that Plan A always offers the same coverage. The same goes for Plans B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M, and N.
However, the premiums differ from one insurance provider to another. Using Ensurem’s Medigap Quoter, you can get quotes from multiple insurance companies by plugging in the plans that interest you. Use your zip code to find companies and plans available in your area.
From there, you can choose the best option that fits your health and budget needs so you can manage your finances the way you want.
3. YOU CAN GET COVERAGE WHILE TRAVELING ABROAD
One of the key benefits of choosing Medicare Supplement plans is that you have the option to get foreign emergency coverage. If you’re traveling abroad and you fall ill or get injured, certain Medigap insurance plans will cover part of your expenses.
Since healthcare costs vary widely overseas, foreign emergency coverage can help you feel safer and more secure in your travels. You’ll know that, if anything goes wrong, you can seek medical care without worrying about huge bills.
With 10 plans to choose from, you don’t have to pay for foreign emergency expenses if you’re more of a homebody than a jetsetter. The flexibility often makes Medigap insurance more appealing to retirees than other options.
4. MANY MEDICARE SUPPLEMENT PLANS ELIMINATE CERTAIN OUT-OF-POCKET COSTS
Several Medicare Supplement plans eliminate all of the costs related to a specific area of healthcare. For instance, Plans C and F pay for the Medicare Part B deductible in full. Similarly, Plans C, D, F, G, M, and N cover coinsurance costs related to skilled nursing facility expenses.
You’ll also discover that some plans cover just 50 or 75 percent of certain expenses. Don’t let that intimidate you, though. Weighing the potential costs against the premium amounts can help you decide what plan makes the most financial sense.
5. YOU WON’T BE SUBJECT TO UNDERWRITING DURING YOUR IEP
For Medigap insurance, you have an Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) that starts on the first day of the month in which you turn 65 and lasts for six months thereafter. During the IEP, you can apply for any Medigap policy available in your area without being subject to underwriting.
This means that insurance companies can’t consider factors like age, medical history, pre-existing conditions, or chronic illnesses when determining your premium. However, if you apply outside your IEP, you might be subject to underwriting.
Also, if you decide to change your Medigap insurance later, you might find yourself subject to underwriting unless you have guaranteed issue rights. Consequently, it helps to find the best Medicare Supplement plan for you during your IEP.
6. YOU CAN SHOP FOR THE BEST INSURANCE COMPANY
Private insurance companies offer Medigap. That’s why you can conduct comparison shopping through Ensurem’s Medigap Quoter. Some insurance companies might charge more for a plan than others, so it’s up to you to compare them and decide who offers the best deal.
7. ALL MEDIGAP INSURANCE PLANS ARE GUARANTEED RENEWABLE
As long as you pay your premiums, your insurance company cannot cancel your Medicare Supplement plan. You’re entitled to keep it for the rest of your life.
The only exception would be if the insurer went out of business. In that case, your coverage would fall under guaranteed issue rights. Since the insurer’s bankruptcy wasn’t your fault, you can switch to another Medigap policy without penalty.
8. SOME POLICIES HAVE OUT-OF-POCKET LIMITS
Plans K and L might not seem to offer as much coverage as several of the other plans. However, each has an out-of-pocket maximum — $5,240 and $2,620 respectively. This means that if you reach the out-of-pocket maximum, your insurance company will pick up 100 percent of your healthcare expenses after that.
9. YOU CAN PROTECT YOURSELF AGAINST PART B EXCESS CHARGES
You might have heard that there is sometimes a discrepancy between what Original Medicare agrees to pay a provider and what the provider charges. Even if it’s only a 10 percent difference, the costs can add up.
Parts F and G offer coverage for Part B excess charges. In other words, if your doctor charges more than what Original Medicare pays, your insurance company will pay the difference so you don’t have to cover it out-of-pocket.
Retirees have lots of options when it comes to post-retirement healthcare coverage. Medigap insurance offers some of the most attractive options, especially when you consider the many plans available.
If you’re interested in preparing for your healthcare costs in retirement, start shopping for Medicare Supplement plans today.