If you’re approaching the age of 65, you may be wondering what your options are for health insurance. One of the most popular choices for seniors is Medicare Supplement plans. Also known as Medigap plans, these policies can help cover some of the costs that Medicare doesn’t cover. It’s important to understand what they are and how they work before signing up. Read on to learn more about Medicare Supplement plans and why they might be right for you.
What Is a Medicare Supplement Plan?
A Medicare Supplement plan is a type of health insurance policy designed to help pay for some of the costs that original Medicare (Parts A and B) doesn’t cover, such as co-pays and deductibles. The plans are offered by private insurance companies, but regulated by the federal government, so benefits are standard from one company to another. This makes it easier to compare different policies when shopping for coverage.
How Do They Work?
Medicare Supplement plans are sold in “lettered” categories (Plan A through Plan N). Each plan offers a different level of coverage, with some offering more comprehensive coverage than others. For example, Plan C covers all the same services as Plan A but also includes coverage for co-insurance charges related to hospitalization and skilled nursing facility care and foreign travel emergencies. No matter which plan you choose, it will offer protection against high out-of-pocket expenses related to medical care not covered by original Medicare.
You must have both Parts A and B of original Medicare in order to qualify for a supplement plan—the two work together to provide maximum protection in case of illness or injury. Additionally, you cannot have any other form of supplemental or secondary insurance; if you do have other forms of coverage, you won’t be eligible for a supplement plan until you drop them. Lastly, while supplement plans offer a wide range of benefits at an affordable cost, they do not cover prescription drugs or long-term care; if these are important considerations for you then consider enrolling in a Part D drug plan or long-term care insurance policy instead.
How Much Does It Cost?
The cost of your supplement plan depends on several factors including where you live, your age, and the type of policy you choose. Generally speaking though, premiums tend to be relatively low—often less than $100 per month—and many companies offer discounts if multiple people sign up with them at once. In addition to premiums there may also be an enrollment fee; however this is typically small compared with the overall cost and is usually waived if you sign up during your initial enrollment period (when you first become eligible). You should also keep in mind that while most states require insurers to accept anyone who applies during their initial enrollment period regardless of preexisting conditions or health status, some states allow insurers to deny applicants based on preexisting conditions after this time frame has passed so it pays off to apply early!
Understanding what Medicare Supplement plans are and how they work is essential when navigating your options as a senior citizen preparing for retirement. While these policies can help protect against high out-of-pocket expenses related to medical care not covered by original Medicare, it’s important to remember that they don’t cover everything—prescription drugs or long term care being two examples—so make sure any other necessary coverage is acquired separately before signing up for a supplement plan!