Medicare Supplement Plans

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About 30% of those enrolled in Medicare also purchase a Medicare Supplement Plan (Medigap). Medicare (Parts A and B) doesn’t pay for everything, often leaving beneficiaries on the hook for out-of-pocket costs. That is where supplement plans come in – to fill the gaps in the Original Medicare plan coverage by covering some co-payments, co-insurance, and deductibles. 

If you’re preparing to enroll in Medicare and want to learn more about Medicare Supplement Plans and that changes in 2020 that may affect you, here is what you should know:

What Options are Available for the Best Medicare Supplement Plan?

You can only use a Medigap plan if you have Original Medicare (Parts A and B). As of 2020, people looking to enroll have eight different Medicare Supplement Plan options: A, B, D, G, K, L, M, and N. Each plan includes the same standardized benefits, regardless of the Medigap insurance provider or location. Additionally, different Medicare Supplement Plans may have various levels of coverage.

For instance, Medicare supplement Plan N has different insurance coverage levels than Plan G. Medicare Supplement Plan policies are also guaranteed renewable. As long as you’re paying the premiums every month, they can’t be canceled for health reasons. To make it easier to review the options available, Health.com has reviewed the top medicare supplement plans for Americans.    

How Much Do Medicare Supplement Plans Cost?

The cost varies depending on the Medicare supplement insurance plan provider. Typically, premiums cost anywhere from $70/month to around $270/month. Plans with higher monthly premiums often have lower deductibles, however, while plans with lower monthly premiums often have higher deductibles. Various factors may influence the cost of the Medigap plan:

  • Which Medicare Supplement Plan you want
  • Which insurance provider offers the Medigap plan
  • The geographical area that the plan covers
  • How the Medicare Supplement Plan is rated – some charge the same premium to everyone regardless of age, while others charge according to your age when enrolling, and others still charge according to your current age, which sees your premium increase yearly.

Key Takeaway – It’s essential to look into the specific plan you want and find out more about all the costs involved to make an informed decision.

Features of Medicare Supplement Plans

Medicare Supplement insurance plans offer predictably, or even no co-pay plan options that give you more control of your medical expenses and future costs. Understanding what you’re getting from Medigap is vital if you’re just getting started. Here, we look at some of the features of Medicare Supplement Plans:

  • Medigap helps cover some of the out-of-pocket costs that Medicare doesn’t pay
  • You can see any medical doctor or visit any medical facility that accepts Medicare
  • No medical facility network restrictions so long as they accept Medicare
  • You get to enjoy coverage anywhere you travel across the U.S.
  • You don’t need any referrals to see a medical specialist
  • You’re guaranteed coverage for life, as long as you pay premiums on time
  • Predictable rates that help you stay ahead of unexpected out-of-pocket costs
  • A wide range of plans available to fit your budget and health needs
  • Combining a Medicare Supplement Plan with a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan could give you more complete coverage
  • Rates are subject to change and often apply to all members of the same class insured under your Medicare Supplement Plan who reside in your state or area

How Do Supplement Plans Work with Original Medicare?

Medicare Supplement Plans (Medigap) are standardized plans. Each of them has an assigned letter and offers the same basic benefits as the rest, no matter the type of insurance company you choose. Keep in mind, though, that the letters assigned to Medigap aren’t the same as those of Medicare. For instance, Medigap Plan A isn’t the same as Original Medicare Part A hospital insurance. 

Medicare supplement plans do not replace your Original Medicare in any way. They work alongside your Medicare coverage to help cover some of the expenses that you would have to pay on your own, such as Medicare Part B co-payment or co-insurance of meeting your annual Part B deductible ($198 in 2020), or after using the first pints of blood each year. 

What Are the Additional Benefits of Medicare Supplement Plans?

Some Medicare Supplement Plans may offer additional benefits besides the normal basic benefits. However, the benefits you get and the cost charged may vary depending on the plan you choose. The benefits could include:

  • Medicare Part A deductible
  • Medicare Part B excess charges (in case a healthcare provider charges more than the Medicare-approved Part B charge)
  • Skilled nursing facility care
  • Foreign travel emergency care

Changes You Need to Know – Medicare Supplement Plans 2020

There are a few changes in Medicare Supplement Plans in 2020 that you should know about before you enroll. This is important, as they may affect your specific situation:  

  • Medicare Supplement Plans in 2020 cannot pay your Medicare Part B deductible
  • A new high deductible Medicare Plan G will be made available
  • Out-of-pocket maximums for Medicare Plans K & L will increase

For those who live in states that standardize Medicare Supplement Plans differently – specifically, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Wisconsin – look out for additional charges to your plan. It’s highly advisable to talk to your state’s health insurance assistance program for specific information. 

Consider Your Options

When shopping for Medicare supplement Plans in 2020 or beyond, make sure to check for the latest updates or changes with your local or state insurance assistance program, and carefully consider your options before you buy a plan, to ensure it is suitable and meets your medical needs and budget.

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