As you age, taking care of your health becomes even more important than ever. You want to make sure that you have the ability to pay for any care that you need as you get older. However, if you no longer have insurance through your place of employment because of retirement, then you’ll have to rely on Medicare to cover your expenses. You may also need a Medicare supplement to cover other associated costs.
What Is a Medicare Supplement?
A Medicare supplement is a private insurance policy that covers part of your healthcare costs that your basic Medicare policy doesn’t. It is also referred to as a Medigap policy, and it can cover things such as copayments and deductibles. If you happen to travel outside of the U.S., this supplement may also cover any healthcare or medical expenses that you incur overseas.
When it comes to a Medicare supplement, these are different than Medicare Advantage plans, which are plans that help you secure Medicare benefits. A Medigap policy supplements the coverage you already have. It’s not possible to have both a Medicare Advantage plan and Medigap. You’ll have to get rid of the Medicare Advantage plan to get a Medigap policy.
How Do You Qualify for Medigap?
To qualify for a Medicare supplement, you’ll have to meet some criteria. This first is that you’ll have to have Medicare insurance, either Part A or Part B or both. In addition, you’ll have to be a citizen of the U.S. or a permanent legal resident who has been here continuously for 5 years. You’ll also have to be 65 years or older to enroll.
Different Types of Medigap Plans
There are ten different types of Medigap plans, and they are labeled with the letters from A to N. They are available in the vast majority of states, and they each have a different level of coverage. Some of the most popular plans include Plan F, Plan G, and Plan N. These tend to be the most comprehensive plans that cover things such as deductibles, coinsurance, and other charges.
Finding the plan that is best for you will depend on your needs. Again, each of the ten plans has different coverages, so you should be able to find one that works for your budget and for your medical expenses. That’s the nice thing about having a variety of options. If you’re unsure which one is the best one for you, talking to a professional could help you make the right choice.
What Does Medicare Cover?
When you’re trying to determine whether or not you need Medigap coverage, you may be curious as to what Medicare covers. There are different plans available to choose from, including Part A, Part B, and Part D. There is also a Part C, which is the Medicare Advantage. As mentioned, you can’t enroll in supplemental insurance if you choose this option.
Each part of your Medicare plan covers something different. These are broken down below.
In essence, this is hospital insurance. It covers any needs you might have as an inpatient. Thus, if you have to be admitted to the hospital for any reason, this part of your insurance covers 80% of the costs accrued during your stay.
This is your outpatient insurance. This is what is used to cover all your doctor’s visits for any need. It covers routine exams and checkups,as well as items such as ambulance services, mental health services, and durable medical equipment. As long as you aren’t in the hospital, Part B of your plan covers the costs associated with your medical needs.
This part of the plan covers your prescription drug needs. No matter what you are taking prescription drugs for, you need to have coverage. If you aren’t currently taking any medications, it’s still a good idea to add this to your plan. You never know what may happen in the future, and having it and not needing it is a better option than needing it and not being able to get it.
When Do You Get a Supplement Plan?
One of the best times to get a Medicare supplement plan is during the Medigap Open Enrollment period. This time frame varies from person to person because it coincides with when your Part B plan goes into effect. This is typically on your 65th birthday. You then have 6 months to find a plan that will work for you.
It’s important to get your supplement in place during the open enrollment period because then the insurance companies can’t reject you for pre-existing conditions or other bad habits, such as smoking. They also can’t charge you higher premiums, which some do when insuring individuals over 65 years of age.
It’s possible to get a Medicare supplement outside of the open enrollment period, but then you risk being denied coverage for pre-existing or expensive medical needs or having to pay a high premium. Having additional insurance to cover medical costs, especially as you get older, isn’t a bad thing. Thus, it’s a good idea to look into supplemental insurance as soon as you can.
The sooner you can get this coverage, the better. You never know when a medical issue is going to crop up. If you have a supplement in place, you can rest assured knowing that the expenses will be covered. If you don’t have one in place, you will be responsible for paying the expenses out of pocket, and this could mean dipping into your retirement fund.
Reasons to Get a Medicare Supplement
After you retire and leave the workforce, Medicare is used to cover your medical expenses. It can cover a lot of costs that might accrue, but it won’t cover them all. That’s why having a supplement in place can help. In addition, there are some other reasons to get a Medicare supplement, including:
A lot of retired and aging adults live on a fixed income. They don’t have money coming in like they used to, so they have to be careful about what they spend their savings on. If you don’t have to tap into your account to pay for medical costs, this will ensure that you have money in the future.
When you add a Medicare supplement to your plan, you can save your own money, as these will cover the costs that your Medicare plan won’t. Thus, if you get Plan F, this will pay for all Part A and Part B deductibles that you might have. It will also cover hospital and doctor coinsurance expenses.
No Lifetime Maximums
No one can predict the future, so it’s hard to say what will happen to your health as time progresses. You may be in great shape now, but that could change at any moment. If you have a supplement, you have the ability to renew this for life, as long as you pay the premiums. Since these polices don’t have a lifetime maximum, your insurance carrier can’t cancel your policy based on the frequency or amount of your claims.
Should your health take a turn for the worst, having a supplement plan will help. You’ll still be able to pay for the medical expenses that you accrue that Medicare doesn’t fully cover. You’ll also be protecting your savings and saving money. In addition to not being able to cancel your policy, the insurer also can’t charge you higher premiums because of your health conditions.
Keeps Options Open
When you get a Medicare supplement, this gives you the opportunity to customize your healthcare coverage to suit your needs. Since you are unique and you want to be able to find healthcare that fits your needs, tailoring your insurance to fit that is the best choice. You shouldn’t have to make compromises or changes when taking care of yourself to ensure your care fits your coverage. Insurance should work for you.
Since Medigap premiums vary in price based on the type of coverage you need, you can also find a plan that works for your budget. This is another way to help you save money and refrain from tapping into your retirement account for medical expenses. The more coverage you get, the more expensive your policy will be. However, you can find a plan that works for you that won’t leave you broke.
Covers You Outside the U.S.
As mentioned, if you have a Medicare supplement, this will cover you for any expenses that might arise when traveling outside of the U.S. Many retirees enjoy seeing the sights of the world. If you happen to get sick during your trip or need medical attention, it’s nice to know that the expenses will be covered.
Find the Right Supplement
When it comes to finding the right supplement, every individual has different needs. Talking to a professional is the best way to find a Medicare supplement that will cover what you need it to cover and fit within your budget.
Give Senior Solutions Group a call today. We can help you find a Medigap plan that works for you. We can also answer any questions that might arise about coverage or Medicare.