Even if you have premiums of Original Medicare’s Part A and Part B, this health insurance doesn’t cover everything. This means you have to pay for out-of-pocket costs for those not included in the plan. These expenses might break your bank, so having a Medicare Supplement plan or Medigap will be of help.
You can apply for Medigap policies in private companies if you qualify. First, you should be at least 65 years old and must have Original Medicare’s Part A and Part B premiums. Also, this insurance only covers you, so it won’t cover your spouse’s healthcare costs.
Choosing A Medicare Supplement Insurance Company
Since Medigap has become an essential plan for seniors to cover unexpected healthcare costs, it’s also vital you choose the right insurance policy provider. Because many private companies offer Medigap plans, one may find it hard to choose the right one.
When choosing, you should check a company’s third-party reviews, like the AARP Medicare supplemental review, so you’ll know their pros and cons. In a review, you must compare and verify if the following are provided:
- Customer service practices
- Pricing models
- Available plans
By comparing each company, you can narrow down your options. If you’re reading various reviews, make sure the rater is reputable and covers every detail of the company. That way, you can wisely choose which policy provider will be worth investing in.
Reasons To Have A Medicare Supplement Plan
As the name suggests, Medicare Supplement Insurance only supplements your Original Medicare benefits. However, there are more reasons why you shouldn’t hesitate to avail of a Medigap policy. Here are some:
1. Regulated Benefits
Not only does the Medicare Supplement Plan have benefits, but it’s also regulated in structure. This means that insurance policy providers are legally bound to offer the same plans. For instance, a company’s Plan F should have the same benefits as other companies offering such. That way, applicants won’t have difficulty during the shopping process.
This is especially true since state and federal laws govern Medigap policies. What’s even better is that only Medigap plans can supplement Medicare benefits. Other kinds of insurance may help pay expenses not covered by Medicare, but these insurances don’t qualify as true Medigap insurance.
Some insurance plans may pay for dental, vision, and prescriptions, but they can’t pay for copayments or deductibles of Medicare. Only Medicare Supplement Insurance can cover deductibles and the like.
As mentioned, no matter what plan is in every company, it’ll be the same for other companies because laws regularize them. The difference between each company will be based on their premiums and customer service.
2. Overall Costs
With Medigap plans, you may wonder if paying for premiums are worth it. Since you’ll be paying premiums from your Original Medicare, paying for Medigap plans may be a burden for some. Before you can weigh if Medigap is worth the extra monthly payments, you need to understand how companies set their Medigap plans’ pricing:
- Community rated – Regardless of age, you pay the same rate as other consumers.
- Issue-age rated – If you buy the premium at a younger age, the premium you’ll be paying will be based on the policy it was issued at the time. Thus, the prices will not increase as you age.
- Attained-age rated – With this, your premiums increase as you get older because your payments are dependent on your current age.
As mentioned, the Medigap plans for each company will be the same as others. However, with premiums, it’s different. Your Medigap policy will depend on your deductible amounts, location, tobacco use, gender, age, and other factors. With such, your premium with Medigap policy can range from USD$50 to USD$1,130 monthly.
Although it may be costly to have a Medigap policy, it’ll be worth it if you factor in your usual out-of-pocket expenses even with Original Medicare premiums. Without a Medigap policy, you might endanger your finances, especially if you don’t have other sources of income or assets to pay for your healthcare costs. As mentioned, Original Medicare doesn’t pay for everything.
As you age, your risk of having costly health issues is high, and they’re expensive. Thus, it may be safe to have a Medigap plan as a backup for your finances, especially if you have recurring health conditions.
3. Foreign Travel
Original Medicare only provides healthcare benefits when you’re inside the US. However, if you plan to enjoy your retirement years traveling outside the US, it may be best to get a Medigap. Medicare Supplement Plans has foreign travel coverage of up to 80% of the medical expenses you incur while you’re abroad. Medigap also covers emergency care during foreign travel for your first 60 days.
These are Medigap plans you can avail of to cover for travels outside of the US:
- Plan N – With this Medigap plan, it doesn’t cover payments up to USD$50 for emergency room visits and up to USD$20 for office visits. However, it covers Part B’s full coinsurance.
- Plan F – This plan requires you to pay up to USD$2,240 from your Medicare-covered costs before Medigap will pay. It’s a high-deductible option that you may want to consider.
By having Medigap foreign travel insurance, you can enjoy your travels. You can even have additional insurance if you plan to stay abroad for an extended period. This additional coverage will help you financially so you can keep visiting doctors or, in case of emergencies, get hospitalized. Here are two additional insurance plans for foreign travels:
- Primary Travel Medical Insurance – It covers claims exceeding your Medigap policy limit.
- Secondary Travel Medical Insurance – It covers travel medical bills with your Medigap plan.
Having Medicare insurance alone isn’t enough for all your healthcare needs since it doesn’t cover everything. You may need to pay from 20% up for some medical expenses. If you don’t have substantial savings in the bank, or your source of income has stopped or is limited, you may be endangering your finances if you have recurring health issues. To prevent this from happening, consider getting Medicare Supplement Insurance. Since it supplements Medicare benefits, it can help you pay for the ones not covered by Medicare.
One of the many advantages of getting a Medigap is its regularized benefits. This means all plans from various companies are the same, and they only differ in monthly premiums. Moreover, Medigap is worth it because it will cover the out-of-pocket expenses for your healthcare needs. Lastly, Medigap will help you with foreign travel if you need to visit doctors or hospitals while outside the US.
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