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Best Supplemental Insurance for Medicare

The best supplemental insurance for Medicare for you can vary depending on a number of factors, including your medical history, lifestyle and your level of savings. Online research is one of the best ways to help you determine which supplemental plans are right for you. Educating yourself about Medicare and your full range of options can arm you with the knowledge you need to make the best choices regarding both your plan and your insurance provider. Since Medicare cannot cover all the costs associated with your health care when you are a senior, finding a form of supplemental coverage, also called Medigap, is essential to many seniors who might not otherwise have the means to afford complete coverage.

Medicare Basics

Medicare is a federally offered insurance plan available to seniors age 65 and older, as well as some United States residents who are younger than 65 but have certain medical conditions. Medicare consists of two important parts. Part A covers inpatient hospital treatment, hospice care and skilled nursing facility and home health care. There are limits to the number of nights you can spend in a year without added coverage. Part B covers general care, including emergency room visits, regular doctor visits, some preventative care and other outpatient hospital services. Overnight hospital stays up to three nights are covered by Part B. Parts A and B combined are referred to as Original Medicare, which covers 80 percent of an approved amount for all services offered. This leaves a 20 percent coinsurance fee that is out-of-pocket unless you have supplemental insurance. This is where a Medigap plan can help. The very minimum plans cover coinsurance, and the best plans also cover deductibles, excess charges and emergency travel insurance.

Medigap Plans Explained

Seniors can choose from 10 federally approved supplemental plans, each offering different benefits at varying monthly premiums. All companies must offer Plan A, which encompasses "core benefits," including coinsurance for Parts A and B, as well as the first three pints of blood you need withdrawn in a given year. All plans must offer these core benefits. The most comprehensive plan, and the one most people consider to be the best supplemental insurance for Medicare based on the number of people who buy it each year, is Plan F. In addition to core benefits, this policy covers deductibles, excess charges, hospice care, skilled nursing facility and emergency travel insurance. The next most comprehensive policy is Plan G, covers all the benefits of Plan F without the Part B deductible.

For some people the best supplemental insurance for Medicare offers more choice. Seniors in good health who have the financial means to cover an annual deductible should a medical emergency arise might consider a high-deductible option. These plans, which include a high-deductible version of Plan F along with Plan K and Plan L, offer comprehensive coverage after a deductible is met. The deductible can range from $2,000 to $4,600. The high deductible option is not the best supplemental insurance for Medicare for people who are trying to save money on their monthly premium, even if this option offers lower rates. The out-of-pocket costs that can arise in the face of an emergency make this an expensive plan if you ever need to use your supplemental insurance.

Determining the Best Plan

Finding the plan that will offer the best supplemental insurance for Medicare for you starts with understanding your needs. Do you have any preexisting conditions? Do either of your parents have chronic conditions like Type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure? Assessing what your needs might be in the future will help you determine the best supplemental insurance for Medicare given your personal situation. Your finances will also play a role. If you have a small nest egg, the best supplemental plan for you will actually be one with higher coverage, even if it comes with a slightly higher monthly premium. Since you can never predict when you might need to use your medical coverage, more is usually better when it comes to the best supplemental insurance for Medicare.

Your lifestyle will also affect the best supplemental insurance for Medicare for you. If you plan to travel extensively, you will certainly want to choose a plan that offer foreign travel emergency coverage. If you have chronic health conditions and need a little extra help with day to day activities, the best policy for you should include skilled nursing facility or home health care. Researching your options and comparing rates among different local companies can help you determine the provider that offers the best supplemental insurance for Medicare in your area. Only by thoroughly examining your options can you feel confident that you have the right plan for you at the greatest value.


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