Posts Tagged ‘medigap policy’

Medicare Supplement Insurance

Friday, February 24th, 2012

Medicare supplement insurance, also known as Medigap insurance, is insurance coverage designed to fill in the “gaps” in Original Medicare Plan coverage. Medigap policies help pay some of the health care costs that the Original Medicare Plan doesn’t cover, like copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles. If you are in the Original Medicare Plan and have a Medigap policy, then Medicare and your Medigap policy will each pay its share of covered health care costs. Medigap insurance is different from Medicare Advantage because it only supplements the Original Medicare Plan. If you opted for a Medicare Advantage health plan, you cannot also buy a Medigap policy. Although you do have out-of-pocket expenses with Medicare Advantage, they are typically not as great as with Original Medicare.

Generally, when you buy a Medigap policy you must have Medicare Part A and Part B. You will have to pay the monthly Medicare Part B premium ($96.40 in 2011 for most beneficiaries). In addition, you will have to pay a premium to the Medigap insurance company. As long as you pay your premium, your Medigap policy is guaranteed renewable. This means it is automatically renewed each year. Your coverage will continue year after year as long as you pay your premium.

Insurance companies can only sell you a “standardized” Medigap policy. Eleven standard Medigap policies are available in most states. Each lettered plan — A through G and K through N — offers a different set of benefits, filling different gaps in Medicare Parts A and B coverage. All Medigap plans with the same letter provide the same benefits. Only the premiums and the sponsors of the plans vary. Insurance companies that sell Medigap policies don’t have to offer every Medigap plan. However, they must offer Medigap Plan A if they offer any other Medigap policy.

It’s important to compare Medigap policies, because costs can vary. The standardized Medigap policies that insurance companies offer must provide the same benefits. Generally, the only difference between Medigap policies sold by different insurance companies is the cost.

You and your spouse must buy separate Medigap policies. Your Medigap policy won’t cover any health care costs for your spouse.

Generally, standard Medigap policies cover some or all of the cost of:

  • Your Part A deductible and coinsurance (i.e. the 20% that Medicare doesn’t cover) for hospital stays
  • Your portion of your doctor’s bills for Part B services
  • The first three pints of blood annually, if needed
  • Hospice care coinsurance

Medigap plans do not cover:

  • Long-term care to help you bathe, dress, eat or use the bathroom
  • Vision care, eyeglasses, hearing aids or dental care
  • Private-duty nursing
  • Prescription drugs, or any out-of-pocket costs for Part D plans

(AARP Medigap: Your Supplemental Insurance)

 

Sources used:

  1. http://www.medicare.gov/navigation/medicare-basics/medicare-benefits/medicare-benefits-overview.aspx
  2. http://www.medicare.org/
  3. http://www.aarp.org/health/medicare-insurance/
  4. http://www.kff.org/medicare/
  5. http://www.aarp.org/health/medicare-insurance/info-01-2011/understanding_medicare_medigap.html

Compare Medicare Supplemental Plans Before Deciding

Monday, June 21st, 2010

Many senior citizens would be unable to afford medical coverage if it weren’t for the Medicare program. Medicare is a program that is offered by the federal government and it helps to supplement your medical expenses in many different ways. There are a number of different types of Medicare plans that you can choose from, and each of these is going to have its own benefits. For most people, however, they choose Medicare part A and part B because it gives them coverage for hospitalization and their general medical expenses. It may still be necessary for you to supplement your Medicare in some way or another, and you should compare Medicare supplemental plans before making your final decision.

Fortunately, you’re not going to need to be concerned about checking with different insurance agencies whenever you compare Medicare supplemental plans. The reason why this is the case, is because the Medigap policies (Medigap is the name for Medicare supplement insurance) are standardized and they are regulated by the state. If you choose one particular Medigap policy at one insurance agency, you’re going to receive the same exact coverage from any other agency which offers the same plan. This makes it very easy for you to look at a chart and to choose the one that is right for you, not having to worry about the agency that you go with.

Of course, it would benefit you to look at various agencies when you compare Medicare supplemental plans, simply because the prices that they charge are not going to be standardized. As a matter of fact, you’re going to find a considerable variation in the amount of money that you will spend on these various policies. Although some insurance agencies are going to try to convince you that their policy is a little bit better in some way or another, it really comes down to the bottom line. Remember, there is no variation in the coverage from agent to agent.

Of course, you would want to take a good look at the different options that are available under these various plans. When you compare Medicare supplemental plans in this way, you will find that some of them are going to cover things that you will need while others will also cover items that will not be necessary. If you choose wisely, you will be able to be covered for the majority of your out-of-pocket expenses not paying too much for your premium.

Further Understanding Medigap Coverage

Friday, May 14th, 2010

For everyone 65 or older, preferably those who have just turned 65, taking advantage of Medigap coverage is an option one must consider.  This is because Medigap fills in the gaps that your original Medicare Plan does not cover.  It is very easy to get covered by Medigap, as it is readily available through private insurance carriers, and there is no question about the added security and long-term savings Medigap coverage can offer, but there are some things you would need to know before going any further.

Medigap policies currently come in twelve different types of coverage ranging from A to L.  However, changes to the structure of Medigap coverage will eventually bring that number down to ten, as plans E, H, I and J are retired and plans M and N introduced.  Prior to the introduction of plans M and N, plans K and L were introduced in 2005, so who knows?  There just may be some additional plans added in coming years.  Just the same, all this applies for all states except Massachusetts, Minnesota and Wisconsin.  Federal law mandates that each Medigap plan have the exact same features and benefits for every insurance provider, though premiums may vary depending on the provider.  Insurance providers are not required to offer all plans, so if you’re looking for a specific level of Medigap coverage, shopping around for the right provider is essential.

Purchasing a Medigap plan means that your premiums go directly to the insurance provider, while you continue to pay your Medicare Part B premiums.  As long as these premiums are paid, any Medigap policy purchased after 1990 is renewed automatically for added convenience.  For those with Medigap policies purchased before 1990, some states have carriers that refuse to renew Medigap plans and would require you to purchase a new one.  This is a legal practice in those states, and it may be better in the long run to purchase a new policy anyway.

Medigap policies do not work if you are already a member of an existing Medicare Advantage Plan or other Medicare plans – these would be the only instances where we believe it would not be necessary to get a Medigap policy.  There are, in fact, laws that prohibit insurance providers from selling Medigap policies in these circumstances.  It would be illegal for a provider to sell you Medigap coverage if you are a member of a Medicare Advantage Plan not due to expire, if you already own a Medigap policy and are not about to cancel, or are a Medicaid member, unless Medicaid pays for the Medigap premiums or your Part B premium.

Once you already have a Medigap policy, any health service, hospital or doctor that accepts Medicare will be more than willing to accommodate you.  In some cases, though, you may need to visit only specific hospitals or doctors that support your Medigap plan.  This would be, specifically, if you are a member of Medicare SELECT.  Other than that, having Medigap allows for a lot of convenience and flexibility, and at the end of the day, is money well spent.

Medigap Policies – The Baby Boomers’ Future Is Now

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

It wasn’t too long ago when Baby Boomers, or Americans born immediately after the Second World War, were at the cutting edge of business, government and other industries.  Those idealistic children and youth of the ’60s and ’70s had become the country’s decision makers, and become a part of the Establishment a good number of them had opposed so fervently back in their salad days.  But in about ten to twenty years, a lot of Baby Boomers will be eligible for retirement, with about 30 million needing to enter nursing homes and about 12 million needing long-term medical care.  With a lot of uncertainty hovering around regarding Medicare benefits, it may suddenly become a good idea to focus more on Medigap policies.

What is Medigap in the first place?  A Medigap policy is a supplement to standard, or Original Medicare coverage, and aptly fills in the gaps in the existing Medicare coverage.  Currently, there are twelve different types of Medigap policies available, ranging from Plan A to Plan L, and the health care coverage increases as you go up in plan.  Two new plans are set to be introduced on June 1, 2010 – Medigap policies M and N, while Medigap policies E, H, I and J are due to be phased out.  Still, there are a lot of options available for anybody wanting to take advantage of Medigap.

For those who wonder when the right time would be to subscribe to a Medigap policy, it would be best to do so in the first six months after you turn 65.  Open enrollment period would remain active during this period.  Enrollment in Medicare Part B is a prerequisite, and during this six-month open enrollment period, no insurance company can decline to offer a Medigap policy in any case.  But regardless of when you decide to subscribe to a Medigap policy, it is always best to consult with a Medigap or insurance professional to come up with the policy that would best suit one’s financial and health needs.  And with a wealth of online resources available, the Internet could serve as a good guide for Medigap policies as well.  All it takes are a few clicks of a mouse and you can get all the information you need online.

Historically speaking, it was indeed a great time to be young back in the prime of the Baby Boomers’ lives.  Changing technology and culture made the ’60s and ’70s a turbulent, though nonetheless exciting time to grow up, and the experiences of the past combined with ever-changing trends helped Baby Boomers in becoming productive members of present-day society.  And speaking of trends, we believe that today’s technology and variety of options would make it easy for the soon-to-retire or retiring Baby Boomer to select the right Medigap policy to help him or her enjoy the rest of his or her years without having to worry about a lack of funds or a lack of coverage.

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