6 Tips to Choose the Right Medicare Supplement Plan

Tips

Health care needs and costs increase with a person’s age.  These costs can harm the monthly expenses and make it difficult to gather funds to treat untimely health complications.

Medicare is an affordable health care policy offering health benefits to senior citizens (aged 65 and older) and people who meet special criteria, which is provided by the federal government. There are two main types of Medicare plans including Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B. The Medicare Part A plan provides hospital insurance, whereas the Medicare Part B provides medical insurance. However, in some cases, these plans might not suffice in providing a comprehensive health coverage, leading to an increase in the medical expenses. Medicare Supplement Plans come in handy when the basic Medicare plans fail to cover medical costs incurred by an individual. The Medicare Supplement Plans help in bridging the gap between the two main Medicare plans.

Here are some advantages of enrolling in Medicare Supplement Plans that you should be aware of:

  • Medicare Supplements cover for expenses that are not included in the original Medicare Part A and Part B.
  • Some Medicare Supplement Plans cover for 100% of expenses after the original Medicare plan covers its share.
  • They can cover deductibles, copayments, coinsurance, and emergency foreign travel for a medical procedure.

Following factors can help you choose the right Medicare Advantage Plan that can supplement your original Medicare plan:

Cost of buying supplement plans
This is the first and foremost factor you should consider while buying a Medicare Supplement Plan. A survey suggests that the average cost of buying a Medicare Supplement Plan is roughly $185.
The three different pricing considerations mentioned below can help you choose the best supplement plan for yourself:

  • Issue-Age– These premiums are age-specific as they offer cheaper initial premiums for younger applicants.
  • Communityrated– These policies are priced same for everyone regardless of the age.
  • Attained-age The prices of these premiums are based on the policy holder’s current age. The prices tend to increase with the age of the policyholder.

To know the approximate premium cost, ask your insurer before choosing the right policy.

Choices
There are a total of 10 Medicare Supplement Plans, namely, Plan A, Plan B, Plan C, Plan D, Plan E, Plan F, Plan G, Plan K, Plan L, Plan M, and Plan N. Medicare Supplement Plans are standardized as they can be clubbed with any other original Medicare plan. This means Medicare Plan B with Supplement Plan C sold by one insurer will have the same features as a Plan B and Plan C sold by another insurer.

The difference between these 10 Medicare Supplement Policies differs only on the basis of the deductibles. While some Medicare Supplement Plans require higher-cost sharing, they cover more expenses and reduce the out-of-pocket costs. Therefore, it is important to deduce and evaluate which plan meets your medical requirements based on your overall health and affordability.

Mentioned below are some popularly chosen as supplements to the original Medicare plans:

  • Plan A– It is the most basic plan, paying for copayments and coinsurance. However, the doesn’t include nursing facility costs.
  • Plan F– This plan is popularly chosen if the insured is traveling abroad to treat a health condition.
  • Plans K and L– These Medicare Supplement Plans come with an out-of-pocket limit, which means the policyholder will have to initially pay some of the medical expenses before Medicare Supplement Plans kick in.

Out-of-pocket costs
Also referred to as cost-sharing, the out-of-pocket costs need to be considered while choosing a Medicare Supplement Plan. Plans K and Plan L have a higher out-of-pocket limit and cost-sharing factors when compared with other Medicare Supplement Plans. However, you can opt for Medicare Supplement Plans covering 100 percent of coinsurance. A point to remember is that the percentage of cost-sharing keeps changing every year based on inflation.

Compare
The official website of the federal government has a tabular chart comparing 10 different Supplement Plans based on the deductibles, percentage of share of the cost of doctor visits, lab tests, and outpatient services. Do not forget to consider coinsurance cost if you are staying in the hospital after getting treated for a medical condition.

Alternatives
Medicare Supplement Plans do not cover the expenses for vision and dental procedures and prescription drugs. Hence, you might have to sign up for Medicare Part D plan for Medicare Advantage Plans. These Advantage Plans cover for prescription drug expenses.

Consult with a broker
Choosing the right Medicare Supplement Plan can be overwhelming and tedious given the fact that there are 10 of the same. Contact a broker, as they can help you choose the right plan based on your medical condition, age, and affordability. Remember that you will pay for the same premium amount regardless of whether you buy a policy independently or through a broker. A good broker will advise and provide you with the best Medicare Supplement Plan based on your lifestyle. It is ideal to look for an independent broker who works with a variety of insurance companies.

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