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Medicare Supplemental Medical Insurance

Medicare supplemental medical insurance is a great resource for people of all backgrounds who want to gain financial peace of mind during their retirement. Supplemental insurance works with your regular Medicare plan to fill in the gaps where you would otherwise have to pay out of pocket. Your original plan can cover 80 percent of the total Medicare-approved cost, which certainly helps but still leaves a significant coinsurance expense. If you have no other form of insurance, this remaining 20 percent must come from your savings. Choosing the best Medicare supplement Medical insurance plan ensures that you are fully covered without risking your nest egg.

Considering Insurance Options

Seniors have two options for supplementing their primary medical insurance. The first is a Medicare Advantage plan. This type of supplemental coverage replaces your regular original plan with a private network plan. The benefit to an Advantage plan is convenience. You have one consolidated plan for your medical expenses, including prescription drug coverage, an aspect of your medical care that is traditionally part of a separate plan. The downside to a Medicare Advantage plan is the lack of flexibility. When you're on a private network, you can only visit medical providers that are part of your network. If you need to see a specialist, you will likely need a referral first from your regular doctor.

Your second option for lowering your out-of-pocket health expenses is Medicare supplemental medical insurance. Supplemental coverage does not replace your primary plan. It simply adds to your original plan, filling in financially where Medicare falls short. With a Medicare supplemental medical insurance policy, you get all the benefits of your original plan. One major benefit is that you can continue to see any doctor that accepts Medicare. You also do not need a referral to see a specialist. Another benefit of Medicare supplemental medical insurance is the variety of policies.

You can choose from 10 standardized supplement plans, also called Medigap plans. Each policy offers different benefits at different monthly premiums, so you can choose the one that is right for your budget and health care needs. One potential disadvantage of supplemental coverage is the lack of consolidation. You will have separate plans for your primary insurance, supplemental coverage and drug plan. This can also be seen as an advantage, however, since you can change your Medicare supplemental medical insurance without disturbing the other components of your health care.

Choosing a Supplement Plan

There are several factors to consider when choosing Medicare supplemental medical insurance. One of the most important things to consider is the level of coverage you need. Your current health conditions, lifestyle and plans for retirement are all important considerations, as well as your family history and any preexisting conditions you might have. For example, if you plan to visit friends in a different country often, you probably want foreign travel emergency coverage. Or if you have diabetes, you will want to make sure you choose a plan with high daily needs coverage. Your budget is also likely on your mind, since heading into retirement you are probably on a fixed income. Examining your options thoroughly will help you find the supplemental plan that satisfies both concerns.

The most basic Medigap policy, Plan A, covers all your coinsurance and the first three pints of blood you need drawn in a given year. All Medigap policies include these basic benefits. Plan A is a good option for healthy seniors who have strong savings and can withstand high out-of-pocket costs if necessary, but prefer a low monthly premium and don't need much day-to-day coverage. The most comprehensive Medicare supplemental medical insurance policy is Plan F. This plan covers all coinsurance, deductibles, excess charges and skilled nursing facility. Plan F is a popular choice for seniors who are risk averse or want to feel fully covered in the face of an emergency. Comprehensive plans are good options for people who have little savings and would face tough decisions if forced to pay high medical expenses out of pocket.

Another important factor in choosing Medicare supplemental medical insurance is the provider. Researching local Medigap companies can help you determine which providers offer the best plans for you at the greatest value. Medigap companies must legally offer identical services for the same lettered plan, but prices can vary across companies. Your monthly premium can even vary depending on your age or even your zip code, so researching plans before buying one can ensure that you are choosing the best option for you. There are many factors to consider when choosing Medicare supplemental medical insurance, but no matter which plan you choose, you can feel confident that you can pay for the health care you need when you need it.

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