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Medicare Supplement Insurance Policy

A Medicare supplement insurance policy is an extra form of coverage that can help make your medical costs more affordable. Supplemental policies can be considered a bridge between your original Medicare insurance and what you can afford out-of-pocket for services that Medicare cannot cover on its own. As seniors age 65 and older have likely discovered, Medicare can cover 80 percent of approved services, leaving a 20 percent coinsurance fee that becomes an out-of-pocket expense if you do not have a Medicare supplement insurance policy. Armed with extra coverage, this coinsurance becomes 100 percent covered, so your only out-of-pocket expense becomes an affordable monthly premium.

About Supplement Insurance Policies

Seniors typically have two options for closing the gaps in their original insurance. They can either choose a Medicare Advantage plan, which replaces their original coverage and places them in a private network; or they can choose a Medicare supplement insurance policy, which works in conjunction with their regular policy to offer more complete coverage. Benefits of a Medicare Advantage plan include having a single policy, including your prescription drug plan. Disadvantages include restricted choice of doctors and heavier restrictions on seeing specialists, including required referrals from an approved doctor in the network.

Since supplement insurance complements your regular plan, your prescription drug benefits are still covered under Medicare Part D, so you will continue to receive benefits under Part A for long-term care and Part B for your regular doctor care, emergency room visits and preventative services. Your Medicare supplement insurance policy will simply cover more expenses and services so you will pay less out of your own savings. The benefits of your policy will depend on which plan you choose.

Choosing a Supplement Policy

There are 10 supplement insurance policies, also called Medigap plans, that you can choose from. Each offer different benefits at different monthly premiums. The least expensive policy, Medigap Plan A, includes your Part A and Part B coinsurance, along with your first three pints of blood. The benefits of this basic plan are included in all other Medigap policies. All Medigap providers must offer Plan A. Knowing what benefits are important to you will help you choose the best Medicare supplement insurance policy. If you anticipate frequently traveling abroad, for example, you will want to be sure that your policy includes foreign travel emergency insurance. If you have a chronic condition like diabetes, you will probably want a comprehensive plan with strong Part B coverage.

Medigap Plan F is the most comprehensive Medicare supplement insurance policy, including all Plan A benefits, your Part A and B deductible, skilled nursing facility coverage, foreign travel emergency coverage and Part B excess charges, which result when the total cost of a service exceeds the Medicare-approved amount. For healthy seniors who want the benefits of Plan F without the relatively high premium, a high-deductible version exists that offers all the same benefits after a $2,000 annual deductible. Plans K and L also offer high-deductible options with different different benefits.

Aside from a plan's benefits, rates will also likely play a big role in determining the best Medicare supplement insurance policy for you. Your monthly premium can depend on many factors, including your age, where you live, when you buy your plan and even your lifestyle. The best time to buy a Medicare supplement insurance policy is within six months of enrolling in both Parts A and B of your original plan. During this period, called Open Enrollment, you are guaranteed the plan of your choice without having to undergo medical underwriting. If you purchase supplement coverage after your Open Enrollment expires, there are many factors that can affect which policies you can buy and what rates you can secure.

If you smoke or use other tobacco products, for example, your rate for supplement coverage can be significantly higher than a nonsmoker. Women also enjoy lower rates than men on average. Medigap companies can also charge different rate to people who live in different zip codes, so be sure to ask for premiums specific to your neighborhood. A final factor that can affect rates is customer service. Sometimes, good customer service justifies higher rates. Since Medigap policies can sometimes become confusing, a company that is willing to explain your options to you and help you make adjustments when you need to can be well worth higher premiums.

When it comes to choosing a Medicare supplement insurance policy, knowing what benefits you need and whether you are paying a fair price can be difficult. Researching your options online and comparing the benefits that different providers offer can help you find the best company in your area with agents that you trust. Researching rates and individual policies can help you feel confident that you are choosing the right plan for you based on your unique needs.


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Beatrice D
Modesto CA

Medicare Supplemental Insurance Testimonial

This site made it easy to get the Medicare supplemental policy that was right for me. I saved a lot of my money and time. Medicare Supplemental Insurance Testimonial