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Supplement Insurance with Medicare

Supplement insurance with Medicare is an essential part of the financial health plan for many seniors who are concerned about affording their medical costs during retirement. Medicare on its own can cover 80 percent of costs related to Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B insurance expenses, but for many seniors, that isn't enough. A separate form of supplement insurance can close that 20 percent coinsurance gap, leaving you with a predictable monthly premium and no financial surprises in the face of a medical emergency. Depending on the plan, supplement insurance with Medicare can even cover your deductibles, skilled nursing facility care and other services. Comparing policies for supplement insurance with Medicare online can help you find the best plan for you at a monthly premium that fits in your budget.

Benefits of Supplement Insurance

If you have no current medical problems, you might wonder if you really need supplement insurance with Medicare. The truth is, medical emergencies can happen to anyone. Researching the costs of an emergency room visit can help you understand what you might if you have an accident without a supplement policy. A broken bone or a series of tests for an unexpected illness can leave you with a bill that might take you some time to pay off, even with 80 percent covered by Medicare. If you have supplement insurance with Medicare, your supplement insurance company will cover the remaining 20 percent coinsurance, leaving your monthly premium unchanged. This consistency is one reason for purchasing supplement insurance for Medicare. When you are living on a fixed income during retirement, keeping your expenses consistent can help you plan for the future and better manage your savings.

Depending on the policy you choose, supplement insurance with Medicare can offer a number of other benefits as well. Supplement insurance with Medicare, also called Medigap, is available through 10 different policies, labeled Plan A through Plan N. Plans E, H, I and J are no longer available to purchase. The most comprehensive policy, Plan F, covers 100 percent of your Part A and Part B coinsurance and deductibles, skilled nursing facility care, foreign travel emergency insurance and Part B excess charges. Excess charges result when the total cost of a procedure or treatment exceeds the Medicare-approved cost, which determines what percentage Medicare will cover. Health providers can charge up to 15 percent more than the approved cost for Part B services in most cases. Without supplement coverage for these charges, you are responsible for paying them on your own.

Types of Supplemental Policies

If you have set aside savings for your medical expenses or have some other form of private coverage in addition to your Medicare policy, you can opt for a simpler policy with low monthly premiums. Keep in mind, however, that you can only have one Medigap policy. The most basic Medigap policy is Plan A, which covers your coinsurance for Part A and B services, along with the first three pints of blood you need drawn in a given year before Medicare takes over. The services encompassed in Plan A are called "core benefits," and are a part of every Medigap policy. Local Medigap providers do not need to offer every policy available, but all must offer Plan A. Researching local Medigap providers online can help you find companies that offer the plans that most interest you.

If you want a low monthly premium with the option of full coverage when you need it, there are a few high-deductible plans that offer comprehensive coverage after an annual deductible has been met. These policies include Plans K, L and a high-deductible version of Plan F. Under all these plans, you need to pay the annual deductible before your insurance will cover 100 percent of the services offered. Under Plans K and L, you must pay a portion of costs related to services you use until your deductible is met. Although these plans often have the lowest premiums, the potentially high out-of-pocket costs can make them more expensive that they first appear. Before enrolling in a high-deductible plan, ask your Medigap provider about your options for changing to a standard plan if you later change your mind.

When you are living on a fixed income, supplement insurance with Medicare can help keep your health costs down and your expenses predictable. Having the peace of mind that a potential injury or illness will be easily covered if you have an accident can allow you to live life to the fullest, enjoying all your favorite activities during retirement, whether it's skiing, sailing or traveling. Researching your options for supplement insurance with Medicare online can help you find the best local company for you with a policy that fits your needs and a premium that fits your budget.

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