Health Care Reviews: A Guide to Medicare Supplement Plans

Health-Care-Reviews-A-Guide-to-Medicare-Supplement-Plans.Do you or your loved one need extra health insurance on top of Medicaid? Figure out your best option with this comparison of Medicare supplement plans.

Are you planning on retiring soon?  If so, then you definitely deserve this restful time after all your years of serving both your family and society as well. The good news is that you are now eligible to receive Medicare health coverage.

Do you know what Medicare covers or doesn’t cover?  Are you familiar with the different Medicare supplement plans out there that provide additional levels of coverage?

Use this article to do your own Medicare supplement plans comparison so that you can sidestep any financial burdens further down the road.

What is Medicare?

Medicare is the federal government’s health insurance program that delivers health care coverage to senior citizens who are 65 years old and older. Medicare funding comes from many funding sources including the federal government’s budget as well as deductions taken from American workers’ paychecks.

Medicare in the US is not limited to retired senior citizens. Younger adults who have certain medical conditions can also receive Medicare assistance. Medicare is managed by the US Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) who report that there are almost 58 million Americans enrolled in Medicare.

Congress enacted Title XVIII of the Social Security Act in 1965 that created the Medicare program. Medicare was Governmental leaders created Medicare to help seniors, who couldn’t obtain health insurance, in spite of their income or medical history.

How Medicare Works

Medicare pays for members to visit physicians, hospitals or other health care specialists who will accept Medicare.  Medicare is considered a “fee-for-service.” A fee-for-service means that the Medicare enrollee pays part of the cost for each medical expense and the Medicare system will pay for the balance.

What Medicare Can Cover

Medicare offers separate plans with varying benefits, each labeled with a different letter. There are two original parts to Medicare that are currently offered o all eligible members.  These original parts are called Medicare Parts A and B.

Part A Medicare pays for costs like hospital stay fees and in-home health care assistance. Part A Medicare enrollees aren’t required to pay a monthly premium for these expenses.

Part B Medicare covers expenses like physician exams or medical equipment expenses. Part B members pay a $134 monthly premium to cover these fees.

Both Parts A and B can’t be used for other common medical costs like prescription drugs or hearing tests.  You can sign up for extra coverage through private, outside insurance companies at higher costs to pay for these kinds of medical costs.  This extra health care coverage is called “supplement plans.”

What are Medicare Supplement Plans?

A Medicare supplement insurance plan (occasionally referred to as a “Medigap” plan) pays for additional health care expenses after what Medicare Parts A and B can pay for. Examples of the other types of expenses include co-payments, deductibles or health care expenses incurred while traveling abroad.

What do Medicare Supplement/Medigap Plans Offer?

There are currently eight additional plans available that offer additional medical coverage beyond what’s provided in Parts A and B. You can enroll in these Medicare Medigap plans at most private insurance companies and pay higher premiums for this additional coverage. Medicare will then reimburses these Medigap plan companies to cover your Part A and Plan B expenses.

It’s important to understand what these different insurance plans have to offer. No two plans are entirely alike. Here’s a comparison of the each of these eight Medicare Medigap plans:

Medigap Plan C

Medigap Plan C can pay for dental, vision and hearing exam costs. Plan C, however, is scheduled to phase out and will not be available to new Medicare enrollees starting in 2020. People who were eligible for the Medicare system before that time can still choose to sign up for Plan C coverage after 2020.

Medigap Plan D

Medigap Plan D is supplementary coverage that pays for prescription medication expenses. Insurance companies will also offer this type of Medigap plan. Enrollees who reside in a Medigap Plan D service area can apply for this type of coverage.

Medigap Plan F

Medigap Plan F pays for hospice care co-payments and nursing facility expenses. Plan F will also cover up to 80 percent of any unplanned, emergency medical expenses you might run up while you’re traveling abroad. Plan F can also cover all of your Part A and Plan B benefits for an additional 365 days, once they’ve been expended.

Medigap Plan G

Medigap Plan G can help cover hospitalization expenses for another 365 days beyond what Parts A and B will cover. Nursing facility, hospice co-pays, and blood transfusions are also covered by Medigap Plan G.

Medigap Plans K, L, and M

Medigap Plans K , L, and M are similar because they all pay portions of healthcare fees beyond what Parts A and Plan B can cover. Medigap Plan K will help pay for another 50 percent of nursing facility and hospice care costs while Medigap Plan L will help cover 70 percent of these like costs. Medigap Plan M will cover another 20 percent of these expenses.

Medigap Part N

Medigap Plan N pays for fees associated with ambulance transport or lab work expenses. Medigap Part N can also cover imaging and other health care services.

Next Steps

Have any lingering questions about these Medicare supplement plans?  Will a Medicap plan work for you and your spouse when it’s time to retire? If you’re expecting to retire after the scheduled end of Medigap Plan C in 2020, then you will also need to find alternatives to make your health care coverage complete.

You can find out more about each Medicare supplement plan on this Medigap comparison chart that highlights the benefits of each of these plans. If you’re thinking of retirement, familiarize yourself with this chart so that you can compare Medicare supplement plans. Get the most out of that benefit you’ve worked a lifetime to enjoy.

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