Just the thought of trying to choose a Medicare supplement plan can give you a headache and feeling of dread. Plan A in the Medicare group has the fewest benefits and is the least expensive and Plan J has the most benefits and is the most expensive. Somewhere in between, you should be able to find a plan that’s right for you.
The best way to look for a plan is to go to www.medicare.gov, the official government website for Medicare and peruse the wealth of information available to find out about eligibility, what you get with basic Medicare coverage and the types of plans that you’ve got to choose from. The site also offers a telephone number if you want to talk to a representative about which plan is right for you.
Medicare supplement plans are only available for one person, not a family or husband and wife. Try to find a plan during the first six months after you enroll in Medicare, Part B. Insurers have to accept you into their plan during that time even though you may have had preexisting conditions. After the six month time period, policies could cost more.
You should know that Medicare Supplemental plans which charge higher premiums don’t get you any more coverage than you’d get for the same plan with a lower premium – and, procedures for filing claims are exactly the same. Medicare’s Medigap plans increases the amount of health insurance if you’re eligible and have enrolled in Part A and B. Also, Medicare’s Medigap plans usually increase every year on January 1st, the same time that benefits are adjusted.
Along with the raises to Medicare plan premiums each year, you should know that Medicare also adjusts rates for “attained age.” So, between about 80 and 90 years old, the premiums are at their highest – just when they’re least affordable. Medigap policies are also adjusted according to others in your geographic area, so that everyone is paying the same premium.
You can purchase an issue-age or community-rated Medigap policy that charges the lowest premium. It may be a bit more expensive at first, but your premiums aren’t raised every year as you age. Medigap policies are provided by companies like Blue Cross, Blue Shield and Humana and offers extra coverage that might help healthcare deficiencies offered under the Original Medicare, Part A and B.
Some questions you should ask before you sign up for a Medicare Supplement plan are what the coverage is on the services you know you’ll need, how does the supplement work with other health care coverage you might have – such as from an employer — and how much you’ll pay out of pocket for hospital stays and doctors’ visits. Other questions might concern drugs and prescriptions you’ll need and whether or not you’ll be covered elsewhere if you travel a great deal.
Medicare and Medigap sounds complicated and can be confusing, but one of the professional health insurance representatives at Medicare can work with you and help you to find the best possible policy and premium for you.