If you’re looking for a Medicare Supplement plan, it can be hard to sort through all of your options. These plans have many things you have to navigate first before you can understand their policies. They also have different types of plans for you to choose from.
To make things easier for you, here’s a guide on how to choose a Medicare Supplement Plan without feeling too overwhelmed.
Know the Difference Between Medicare and Medicare Supplement Plan
Medicare is an insurance program for people over the age of 65, primarily irrespective of their income. At the same time, it also serves young people who are disabled or dialysis patients.
When you’re enrolled in Medicare, you get coverage for your healthcare costs in two ways:
Part A deals with things like hospitalization and other related services.
Part B deals with everything from doctor visits to medical tests.
If you have traditional Medicare coverage (or “original” or “traditional” Medicare), you can also choose to get extra protection through a stand-alone Medicare Supplement Plan (also known as Medigap).
It supplements your original Medicare coverage by covering some of the things that original Medicare doesn’t pay for, like copayments and deductibles. It also helps with some of the out-of-pocket expenses that Original Medicare doesn’t cover at all.
Learn About the Letter Plans – A, B, C, D, F, G, and N
There are many different Medicare Supplement plans to choose from, but there are a few that you’ll see most often. The original plans, A and B, were introduced in 1980 and have since been joined by C, D, and F. N is the newest addition to this lineup and was added in 2006.
The A plan covers hospitalization costs for up to 100 days per year with no coinsurance or copayments required once you’ve paid your deductible. This plan also covers 80% of eligible expenses after you meet your annual out-of-pocket threshold (in 2020, that amount is $2,960).
Once you hit this cap on spending for medical coverage during a calendar year, you won’t pay more than 20% of any additional bills until January 1st of next year, when it resets again at zero dollars.
The first three letters are called “original” supplement plans because they were created before other types became available under Part C (Medicare Advantage). They typically cost less than other options even though they may be better suited for someone’s needs due to what coverage is included or excluded from each one’s benefits package.
Compare Your Options and What They Offer
There are several factors to consider when choosing a Medicare supplement plan. The first is the deductible. It is the money to be paid for healthcare services before your coverage kicks in. If this is too high, you could end up paying a lot out of pocket before receiving any help from your insurance provider.
The second important factor to look at when comparing plans is the coinsurance rate (this means how much of your healthcare costs you are responsible for). A higher coinsurance percentage means that more of your overall expenses will be paid by you as opposed to covered by insurance and vice versa.
The comparisons you make should be between options available within your own state. For instance, let’s assume that you live somewhere in Connecticut. It’s a place that promises high income, has a robust education sector and provides its residents with an extensive transportation network. However, what about its Medicare plans? How will you find the best one among all the plans that the state has to offer?
For that, you’ll have to compare the available Medicare Supplement plans in CT. When comparing, you’ll, of course, compare the facilities each plan provides. At the same time, you must also compare their costs and annual deductibles. You can also look into the changes in costs for Medicare Supplement plans in Connecticut over the years and try to predict future costs.
Costs may also change every year. Sometimes they will increase, and sometimes they’ll decrease. For instance, in 2023, Medicare Part B monthly premiums will cost $164.90, which was $170.10 in 2022. That’s a $5.20 decrease. All this information is provided on the Medicare website.
Compare Rates of Base Costs and Annual Deductibles
Base costs are the monthly premiums, and annual deductibles are the amount you pay for covered services before your plan begins to pay. The lower the base cost, the more you will have to pay out of pocket each month. Medicare does not cover all expenses. Some things, like dental care and eye care, require additional coverage called supplemental insurance.
Consider Going with a Medigap Plan That Pays 100% of Covered Services
When you’re shopping for supplemental insurance, it’s important to remember that Medicare supplement plans are only meant to fill in the gaps left by Medicare. However, some of these plans pay 100% of covered services.
This means that if your doctor recommends an expensive treatment that isn’t covered by traditional Medicare, you might be able to cover the cost with a supplemental insurance plan such as Medigap.
Additionally, some supplemental insurance plans cost less than others and can save you money on your monthly premiums.
According to the 2020 health insurance coverage report by the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 54% of the population receive health insurance through their employers. Unfortunately, these insurance plans don’t cover everything. As a result, people have to seek other options, which is why they opt for a Medicare Supplement plan. This, too, can prove to be a hard task if one isn’t aware of how to approach it.