Is it time to buy a Medicare supplement?
There are nearly 10,000 Baby Boomers turning 65 and becoming eligible for Medicare each day. You may be one of them.
If so, you need to decide how you will protect yourself from the high cost of health care or more specifically, the gaps in Medicare coverage.
You’ve probably heard that choosing to insure only with Medicare can lead to some unexpected costs.
When you have Medicare you are subject to deductibles and possible per day charges for inpatient care.
Outpatient procedures require an annual deductible and 20% coinsurance for Medicare covered services.
These gaps are the main reason to consider a Medicare supplement. Here are 10 reasons why buying a Medicare supplement may be right for you.
10 reasons to get supplemental coverage
1. Avoid the high cost of hospitalization. There is a good chance that you will require inpatient care sometime in the future. The Part A hospital deductible is $1316. There is a per day charge of $329 for days 60-90 and a $658 per day charge for days 91+.
2. Eliminate the unpredictable costs of outpatient care. Everyone visits a doctor at some point. Emergency room visits and diagnostic testing costs can be astronomical. The Part B deductible of $183 must be met before Medicare pays anything. 20% of the expenses for covered services may not sound too bad until you realize that there is not an annual out-of-pocket maximum. That 20% share of expenses can get out-of-control before you know it.
3. Have greater control over your budget. Choose the right plan and you may have your share of expenses for Medicare-covered services paid by the supplement. Medicare supplement Plan F for example will fill the gaps comprehensively. A supplement will also allow you to avoid the co-payment and coinsurance amounts required by a Medicare Advantage plan.
4. Freedom to choose your own providers. Having a supplement will allow you to continue to choose any provider that accepts Medicare. This is in stark contrast to many Medicare Advantage plans that require a PPO or HMO network.
5. Comparing Medicare supplement coverage is easy. Medicare supplements are standardized. Plan N for example, will have the same benefits no matter which insurance company offers it.
6. There are several easy to understand plans available. In most States (Massachusetts, Minnesota and Wisconsin have there own versions) there are 10 plans and a high deductible Plan F option to choose from. Gaps are covered to varying degrees depending on the plan chosen.
7. You have a generous Open Enrollment Period. The Open Enrollment Period lasts for 6 months. An insurance company cannot refuse to sell you any policy they offer, cannot make you wait for coverage and cannot charge you more due to a pre-existing health condition.
8. You may have Guaranteed Issue Rights. There are several instances when you may have the right to buy a Medicare supplement without being subject to underwriting. These Guaranteed Issue Rights are normally triggered by a change in your circumstances, such as losing your group insurance coverage.
10. Medicare supplements give you peace of mind. Once you buy a Medicare supplement, other than paying the premiums, you don’t have the worry about what your potential out-of-pocket medical expenses may be. You can rest assured that you are protecting your savings and protecting your loved ones from the ravages of run away medical expenses.
Thanks for the email
Larry, I’m glad you enjoyed the update. Anyone else interested in medicare updates can request our free mini-course.
I am confused by the different quotes I’ve gotten between medicare.gov and PlanPrescriber for Part D and Medigap plans.
For instance, United Healthcare Medigap plan F was quoted at $137.00 per month on PlanPrescriber but their website through Medicare quoted $171.00.
Terry, Perhaps you need to sort this out with a local insurance agent. Depending on your situation, underwriting may have an effect on your premium.
I wish you give examples like daily hospital rate, doctor visit, etc under each plan…so confusing…scenerios would be great
Why would anyone pay for a medicare supplement when you can get a medicare advantage plan for 0 premium?
Joann, you’ll easily answer that question yourself when you understood the differences between the two types of plans. Once you are familiar with the benefits and limitations associated with each type of plan you will know that neither type of plan will be right for everyone all of the time. You’ll soon find that price is not the main consideration, otherwise we would all only eat dollar menu fast food when we wanted to dine out.