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Supplemental Insurance for Medicare

Supplemental insurance for Medicare can be an important part of covering your full health expenses after you retire. If you are new to Medicare, you might not realize that your plan only covers 80 percent of services listed offered. Without a supplemental policy, you face these coinsurance expenses on your own. The best supplemental insurance for Medicare fills the gaps in your original coverage to save you from having to come up with extra money on everything from hospital stays to regular office visits. Because of this, supplemental coverage is also called Medigap. Researching providers of supplemental insurance for Medicare in your area can help you find the right policy for you based on your age, income, health concerns and other factors unique to you.

Supplemental Insurance Basics

Supplemental insurance for Medicare is a form of private coverage that you can add to original Medicare to take care of many expenses that would be out of your own pocket if you relied on Medicare alone. Original Medicare consists of a hospital component called Part A and a general care component called Part B. Educating yourself on the services offered with each Medigap plan can help you determine the best policy for you, given your current health conditions and what services you think you'll take advantage of. Researching supplemental insurance for Medicare online can help you choose a plan that will allow you to cover all your medical expenses without paying for services you don't need. One of the best aspects of supplemental insurance for Medicare is the wide variety of plans available.

The federal government has approved 10 standardized Medigap policies, labeled Plan A through Plan N. These are the only types of supplemental insurance for Medicare that companies can legally sell, so make sure you know your options before you enroll. Medigap Plans E, H, I and J are no longer available to purchase, but if you enrolled in one of these policies before it was dropped, you are allowed to keep it. The most basic Medigap option available is Plan A, which covers your coinsurance for Medicare Parts A and B, as well as your first three pints of blood. All Medigap plans must offer the benefits included in Plan A. Moreover, all Medigap insurance companies must offer Plan A.

Types of Supplemental Insurance

The most comprehensive supplemental policy is Plan F, which adds deductible coverage for Medicare Part A and B, along with Part B excess charges, skilled nursing coinsurance and foreign travel emergency insurance. Other options for supplemental insurance for Medicare include high deductible plans and cost-sharing options. If you are in good health and are comfortable with the risk of paying a high deductible should a medical emergency arise, the high deductible Plans K and L might be right for you. There is also a high deductible version of Plan F. If you are on a fixed income and worried about your budget, you might be tempted to forego comprehensive insurance in favor of a low monthly premium, but opting for a more comprehensive plan can save you from having to come up with big out-of-pocket expenses in the long run if you become ill or have an unexpected medical accident.

Since individual Medigap policies are standardized, each will offer identical benefits. That is to say, Plan F at one company will offer exactly the same services as Plan F at another, even if one policy is significantly more expensive than the other. A number of factors could be at play if a Medigap provider charges higher monthly rates for a policy, none of which will have anything to do with plan quality. One common reason for a rate difference is the way companies charge seniors as they get older. Supplemental insurance companies can have different pricing structures for the rates charged as people age, with some providers offering a "locked in" rate and others opting to raise the rate by a certain percentage as you get older.

Younger applicants might think the "locked in" rates are high, while older applicants will see a bargain. This is just one example of how rates can vary for identical plans. Another little-known factor that can affect your rate is where you live. Providers can charge different rates to residents of different zip codes, so researching local options will help you find rates that are lowest for your area. One of the final factors that can affect the monthly premiums of supplemental insurance for Medicare is customer service. Customer service can be an important benefit if you have questions about your plan or need to make a change, so in some cases, a higher monthly premium may be worth the friendly service. One of the best ways to feel confident in your decision is through a simple online search of providers in your area.


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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