Original Medicare is an excellent federal health program. However, the coverage may be insufficient, and a Medicare Supplement plan can fill the gap. Also known as Medigap, it’s a private insurance plan that requires Medicare Parts A and B. It can bring healthcare costs down.
Are you looking for a Medicare Supplement plan? The choices abound, but they’re not all the same. Read on as we explore some of the most important considerations.
1. Determine Your Needs
When choosing a healthcare insurance plan, including Medigap, one of the most important is identifying your needs. Consider your current health condition, family history, and other factors that might affect your health needs in the future. Such is necessary to determine suitable coverage, so you’ll put your money where necessary.
It’s also important to note that if you are a Medicare beneficiary, you may want to check if Medicare covers specific tests and procedures, such as the Medicare cologuard coverage for colorectal cancer screening, which can be critical in maintaining your health.
The coverage levels can vary, and your budget is one of the deciding factors. Nonetheless, don’t just think about how much you can save in the premiums you’ll pay today. Instead, consider the long-term savings in case of a health emergency.
You can choose from ten Medicare Supplement plans. Each plan is designated by a letter. Below are some of the most popular plans and the things they cover:
- Plan F: Most Medicare beneficiaries are enrolled in this plan. You’ll have little to no out-of-pocket costs, making it a popular pick. It will cover deductibles, copays, coinsurance, and similar expenses.
- Plan G: One of the shortcomings of Plan F is that it isn’t available to those who became eligible after January 2020. If you’re one of them, the next best choice is Plan G. You’ll only need to pay for Part B deductible annually, and you’re 100% covered for your Medicare costs.
- Plan N: The plan covers 100% of the coinsurance costs of Medicare Part B. However, you’ll need to pay a $50 copay for emergency room visits and a $20 copay for an office visit.
2. Know the Cost of the Plan
Many people will consider the cost of Medicare Supplement when picking a plan. Some people might want the most comprehensive policy available, but their budget won’t allow them. Looking at various insurance providers and comparing them based on cost is crucial.
Companies price their premium based on the following:
- Community Rating: Also known as no-age-rated, the premium remains the same regardless of age. However, other factors can affect its cost, such as economic conditions like inflation.
- Issue Age Rating: The premium depends on your age upon purchase of the policy. The younger you are, the cheaper the plan is. It will not change as you age, but inflation can affect the price.
- Attained Age Rating: Its price depends on the age you attain the Medicare supplement plan. Its cost will increase as you get older.
3. Look for Potential Discounts
The good news is there are multiple ways by which you can qualify for discounts. Do your research to minimize the costs without reducing the coverage.
One of the things to look at is a Medigap Household Discount. This is for two people availing of a Medicare Supplement who are living in the same household. However, the two people must apply at the same time. Both policies must also remain in force for the discount to take effect.
Like buying life insurance, you can also get a discount based on your lifestyle. For instance, non-smokers might qualify for a lower rate.
You can also get cheaper premiums depending on the way you pay. It can be cheaper if you set up automatic electronic payments. Meanwhile, you can also have a lower premium if you pay annually instead of monthly.
4. Learn When to Enroll
Determine your eligibility to know if you can enroll for a Medicare Supplement Plan. You need to be at least 65 years old. Nonetheless, there are circumstances when you can apply at a younger age. This is the case for those receiving disability benefits and those diagnosed with end-stage renal disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
More so, you should enroll during the initial Medigap Open Enrollment Period. The six-month window starts on the first day of the month when you turn 65. The insurer cannot deny your enrollment during this period based on your medical or health condition.
After the Open Enrollment Period, you can still apply. However, you might need to go through medical underwriting. The latter is a process in which the insurer determines your health condition to decide on factors like the policy’s price and inclusion.
You can change your Medicare plan after enrollment if you wish. It’s best to talk to a representative from your insurer about the process. Generally, when you switch to a new plan, you have a 30-day free look period. This is the duration you have to try the new plan before you can cancel your old plan.
5. Research About the Provider
Take your time in evaluating the options for a Medicare Supplement Plan. Signing the first policy that lands in your hand can be tempting, but you might regret doing so. Instead, be proactive in learning more about the insurer to be confident that your money won’t waste.
Among others, one of the first things to do is check the State Health Insurance Assistance Program. The latter is available in every state and can help you check the records and verify the legitimacy of the insurer. It’s also where you can find past complaints, so you’ll know what kind of service to expect.
You might also want to check out a local library or go online. This is your chance to look at the company’s financial strength to gauge how long it will last in the business.
Also, don’t forget to read reviews from real people or ask around for their opinions. Their real-life experiences will make it easier to narrow down the possibilities.
Original Medicare can help minimize the financial burden of healthcare costs. Nonetheless, it isn’t enough, so a supplemental plan may be necessary. However, before you buy, consider the factors mentioned above. For instance, you’ll need to determine the coverage you need, explore potential discounts, and know when to enroll.