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Vermont Medicare Supplemental Insurance

Vermont Medicare supplemental insurance is private coverage used to pay expenses that Original Medicare doesn't include. It is available through 15 Vermont companies. Since each supplemental policy, also called a Medigap policy, is standardized by federal and VT guidelines, you can be sure that you are comparing apples to apples when you research individual Medigap plans across Vermont. For example, Plan N in Montpelier, VT is the same as Plan N in Killington, VT. The only difference among plans is cost. This might seem like a simple matter of comparison with that knowledge, but in truth, many factors can determine what you pay for Vermont Medicare supplemental insurance, making a little research vital to finding the perfect company for you.

Understanding Medicare Supplemental Insurance

Before you look into the costs of different Vermont Medicare supplemental plans, it helps to understand exactly what Vermont Medicare supplemental insurance is and why you need it. If you are nearing the age of 65, you have probably already done some research on Medicare, the federally run insurance plan for seniors age 65 and older. You may already know that there are two basic components to Original Medicare, Part A and Part B. Part A covers inpatient hospital care, hospice, home health care and skilled nursing facility. Part B covers general care, such as visits to your doctor, outpatient hospital visits and, increasingly since 2011, some preventative services such as flu shots. Most people qualify for premium-free Part A coverage since they pay a tax while working that covers it later on. Part B, however, does require a monthly premium. You must be enrolled in both Parts A and B to purchase Vermont Medicare supplemental insurance.

Medicare covers 80 percent of costs related to services covered, leaving Vermont seniors to pay the remaining 20 percent coinsurance out-of-pocket. This is why most seniors need a form of supplemental coverage, like Vermont Medicare supplemental insurance. The minimum Medigap insurance policy, called Plan A, covers your hospital copayment and Part B coinsurance, including coinsurance for preventative care after your deductible has been paid, and your first three pints of blood drawn within a year. There are 10 total Vermont Medicare supplemental insurance programs, each of them them more comprehensive that Plan A.

Speaking with a local insurance agent can help you determine the right plan for both your financial and medical needs. If you enjoy skiing the slopes of Stowe and Killington, for example, you might want a comprehensive plan with strong outpatient hospital coverage in case of an emergency. If you love traveling outside Vermont and take an annual trip to Europe every year, you will probably want a Vermont Medicare supplemental insurance plan that includes coverage for medical emergencies abroad. Not all Vermont companies will offer all 10 plans, so doing some online research before speaking to agents to determine the plan that makes the most sense for you can allow you to spend more time with potential companies that offer the plan you truly need.

Paying for Supplemental Insurance

Several factors determine what you will pay for Vermont Medicare supplemental insurance, including your gender, age, which policy you choose, whether you use tobacco products and even what county you live in. One of the best things you can do to secure a low rate is to apply during your Open Enrollment period, which includes the six months after you sign up for Part A and B. During this period, you cannot be denied a policy based on your lifestyle or preexisting conditions, nor can a company charge you a higher rate for your desired supplemental plan. Nearly all companies will raise your premium each year as you get older, but how much can depend on some of the factors previously mentioned. If you are female and a nonsmoker, for example, your rates will probably be less than your pack-a-day husband.

One strategy that can often backfire is trying to buy less coverage than you need to secure lower monthly premiums and annual fees. Even if you feel confident that you are healthy enough to get by with less coverage, the out-of-pocket costs from one emergency hospital visit or unexpected illness often justify the extra insurance. If you consider yourself healthy and are looking for a lower-risk alternative, you might consider the high-deductible Plan F option, which starts Medigap coverage after a $2,000 deductible. If you have a recurring health condition, you might consider a plan with a maximum deductible like Plan K or L. These options pay 100 percent of your copays after a certain annual amount. No matter which plan you choose, however, a Vermont Medicare supplemental insurance agent can best explain to you why certain policies are priced differently, or why the same policy in your county might be different than the one next to you.


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