Monday, September 17, 2012

A Look Into Medigap Supplemental Plans

Supplemental Medicare Insurance plans are available for seniors to purchase when they are eligible for Medicare.  Everyone knows insurance is needed on top of Medicare to ensure that you’re covered beyond the basics.  The incidentals that are not covered by Medicare Plan A or Plan B are the items that can end up wreaking havoc on a senior’s limited budget.  It is important to understand what options are available and what plans are best set up to meet your exact need. 

Let’s begin our research by exploring Plan F Supplemental Medicare Insurance.  Plan F is the most widely purchased supplemental plan by far.  This plan pays expenses occurring with Medicare Part A and Part B such as deductibles, the twenty percent co-insurance cost associated with Medicare Part B and covers excess charges occurred when using a non-participating doctor.  The nice part about Plan F is you basically pay the premium and never see another bill.  Sounds like a good plan right?

Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan F offers a few drawbacks as well.  It comes down to math and the cost of insurance verse the costs that arise with plan increases and actual deductible paid.  Other plans cost much less when paying the monthly premium.  Consider if you are paying $45 more a month for Plan F than another supplemental plan that does not cover the deductible of Plan B which is about $170 bucks.  You are paying upwards of $500 so that you don’t have bills coming in for you to pay for the deductible.

Since Plan F is the most widely written plan it also inevitably has the most claims each year.  Generally people whom are the sickest choose Plan F for their Medicare coverage.  This means that participants of Plan F often are subjected to increase premiums more often that other plans.

Plan G and Plan F within the Medicare Supplemental Plans are virtually alike with the difference being in the premium paid monthly and that Plan G requires participants pay out of pocket for the Plan B deductible.  One thing to consider when choosing Plan G over Plan F is that your health might dictate moving between supplemental plans so it might end up that later you are not able to qualify for Plan F so choose wisely when first applying for a Medicare Supplemental plan. 

Another option in supplemental insurance that is rather new is Plan N.  Plan N is along the same route as many insurance carriers of our modern era which requires office co-payments for each visit to the doctor.  You are also required to pay out of pocket for the Medicare Part B annual deductible.  The advantage is that the monthly premiums are much less that they are with Medicare Supplemental Plan F.

When choosing a Medicare Supplemental Insurance Plan the best option is to use the numbers to help you figure out the best option for you.  Consider how many trips to the doctor you usually take to the doctor time the co-pay for Part B and subtract the difference in monthly premiums and see where you come out on top.

Filling The Voids Left With Medicare Part A and B With Medigap Insurance

When a participant becomes eligible for Medicare and is enrolled in Medicare Part A and B there is usually a gap left between what expenses are covered and those that are not.  This is where the purchase of Medicare Supplemental Insurance, often know as Medigap, becomes important. Medicare Supplemental Plans are sanctioned by the federal government.  This means that the coverage for one Supplemental Plan G and another Supplemental G purchased from two different insurance companies is the same.

 No matter where you purchase the supplemental plan the coverage is the same.  The price you pay might not be as that is set by individual private insurance companies. That agreement is set up between you and the insurance company. Payment for you premium goes directly to the insurance company and not to the government. This is why it is important not only to shop for the plan that best suits your lifestyle but also an insurance company that you trust and feel comfortable with.

A question that is often asked is who should consider adding on supplemental insurance along with Medicare Part A and B.  People automatically assume the coverage in from Medicare Part A and B will suffice.  The problem comes into play with the limitations that surround the initial coverage. Medigap is exactly what you would think; insurance that fills in the voids left by Medicare. Some of these voids include; acupuncture, chiropractic services, deductibles, coinsurance, copayments, dental care, eye exams, hearing aids, preventative health care, travel and prescription drugs.

The tricky part is knowing which Medigap Insurance policy will work best for your situation.  This is where it help to work with an insurance professional.  Most Medicare Supplemental Insurance agents will start by asking their clients a few basic questions.  Coverage cannot be denied if purchased within the grace period allotted so that is not something that you should be concerned with when enrolling in Medicare and Medigap soon after you turn sixty-five. 

Another thing people are often concerned with is the cost of Medicare Supplemental Plans.  Many factors play into the rate you will pay for the premium you choose. Of course the more coverage that comes with the plan the more you will spend on the plan however that is not all that goes into the fees associated with coverage.  Factors such as; the plan chosen, age, gender and where you live play a role in setting the premium.  Also different insurance companies have different cost associated with their plans so even though the insurance is guaranteed to be the same no matter where you purchase it, the price is not.

The best time to enroll in Medigap insurance is within the six months after you have become eligible for Medicare. I say this because this is the period in time in which insurance companies cannot deny you coverage under any circumstance.  It is prohibited by law for them to do so.  If you choose to wait the insurance company has the right to ask questions related to your medical health and make a decision to grant you coverage on this or to grant you coverage at an increased rate.   This could be substantial when living within a retiree budget.