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Compare Medicare Supplement Insurance

Always compare Medicare supplement insurance before you buy a policy to ensure that you receive the best possible coverage for your needs at the greatest value. Thoroughly researching providers in your area will allow you to determine what plans are available at what prices, so you can make a well informed decision of medicare supplemental insurance prices based on your full range of options. Since Medicare alone can only cover 80 percent of an approved total cost for services it offers, seniors must pay the remaining 20 percent coinsurance fee from their income or savings if they do not have a supplement plan. The expense that seniors can face without a financial safety net is an important reason to compare Medicare supplement insurance to find the best plan for you.

When you compare Medicare supplement insurance, one of the first decisions you must make is the kind of added coverage you want. You can supplement your Medicare plan either through a Medicare Advantage plan like HMO, which replaces your original insurance in favor of a single, private plan, or through a separate private supplement insurance policy, also called Medigap. Unlike a Medicare Advantage plan, supplement insurance doesn't replace your original coverage; rather, it works in conjunction with Medicare to simply "fill the gaps" where you need it. With a Medigap policy, you can see any doctor that accepts Medicare, and you don't need a referral to see a specialist. Compare the freedom of a supplement Medigap policy to an Advantage plan, which restricts your choices to a network but might also include drug coverage, and you can see the advantages and disadvantages of each of these policies.

Compare Supplemental Insurance

The best place to start when you want to compare Medicare supplement insurance policies is with the plans themselves. The federal government has approved 10 standardized Medigap plans, each with different benefits at different average monthly premiums. Taking the time to compare Medicare supplement insurance options is essential to finding the best one for you. All Medigap policies offer a basic amount of coverage described as "core benefits," which include your coinsurance for all basic services and your first three pints of blood. Medigap Plan A offers these "core benefits" for the least expensive monthly premium. You might choose this plan if you have a large nest egg saved up for emergencies, but are in good general health and don't want to pay a high monthly premium. Plan B, which includes your deductible for inpatient hospital services, might be a good option if you have a family history of chronic illness but are otherwise healthy.

It's important to compare the services covered in each plan carefully. For example, Plan B does not include general doctor's office or emergency room visits, so this plan might not be right for you if you enjoy activities like skiing or scuba diving and want your plan to include catastrophic insurance. Your lifestyle will play an important role as you compare Medicare supplement insurance policies, so you should also consider all activities you plan to enjoy during retirement when choosing your plan, even if they don't seem terribly risky. If you intend to travel extensively, for example, you will likely want to compare plans with foreign travel emergency insurance.

If you don't want the anxiety of risking a medical emergency without coverage, or if you have a small nest egg for retirement, your best option is likely the comprehensive Plan F. This popular policy covers all your coinsurance, deductibles and skilled nursing faculy, along with your foreign travel coverage. Although Plan F has a higher average premium than other plans, when you compare Medicare supplement insurance options across the board the added coverage is often worth the expense. If you are in good health and want the benefits of a low premium with a comprehensive "just in case" policy, you might want to compare Medicare supplement insurance policies with high deductibles. High deductible versions of Plan F, along with Plans K and L, offer a low monthly rate but don't include full benefits until you've paid an annual deductible.

Compare Supplement Policy Rates

Another important factor to consider when you compare Medicare supplement insurance policies is your rate. Although Medigap plans are standardized, meaning that each lettered plan must offer the same benefits regardless of rate, companies determine their own pricing structures. A little research is therefore required to find the best value. Rates can vary depending on when you purchase your policy, your lifestyle, preexisting conditions, your medical history, or even factors such as your zip code. How a company determines rates for people of different ages can also affect your rate. A little online research allows you to compare your full range of Medigap plans to see which one fits your budget and covers all your medical needs.

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