Medicare coverage gives good health care coverage to any senior who is over the age of 65. The government program has allowed millions of Americans to get health care that they wouldn’t be able to afford through a private insurance company.
The program with Medicare is that it doesn’t pay for everything. In fact, there are plenty of major healthcare expenses that the program won’t pay for, and those bills could drain your savings account. The two Parts of Medicare will pay for things like inpatient care, services from doctors, and preventative services, but there are dozens of gaps in the coverage, and that’s where Medicare Supplemental plans come in. These insurance policies give you additional coverage that could protect your retirement savings accounts.
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What Is a Medicare Supplement Plan?
There are several ways that you can protect yourself from expensive hospital bills, but a Medigap plan is one of the best ways to do that. These policies are sold by private insurance companies, and they fill in all of those holes that original Medicare doesn’t cover. When you’re shopping for additional health care, it’s vital that you make the best decision for your family.
There are ten different Medigap plans that you can choose from (depending on which state you live in), and all of them are going to cover different expenses or a portion of expenses that Parts A and B don’t cover. Medigap plans will plug in the holes of Medicare. It can be confusing trying to decide between the ten available plans, but it’s vital that you get the perfect supplemental coverage for you and your loved ones.
Medigap Plan A Explained
Now that we have discussed the basics, we can start looking at the specifics of Medicare Supplement Plan A. I know that shopping for insurance coverage can be a confusing and frustrating task, especially when you’re dealing with anything related to Medicare, but that’s why I am here to help.
Medigap Plan A is going to be the most basic of the options. Plan A is going to leave behind more coverage gaps than the other options available. One of the advantages of Plan A is that it’s going to be the most affordable plan. It gives less protection, but it keeps more money in your pocket.
With Plan A, you’ll get the basic supplemental coverage that every plan offers, like paying for Part A coinsurance and an additional 365 days of hospital costs after your original Medicare benefits have been used up. If you’ve ever had a stay in a hospital, you know that it can be a massive bill. In fact, having to stay in the hospital for a day or two can easily equal thousands and thousands of dollars. If you ever have an extended stay, you could easily rack up tens of thousands of medical bills.
Part A will also cover any Part B copayment or coinsurance fees that you would be responsible for. Some of the plans, like Plan K or L, will only pay for half or 75% of those coinsurance fees, but Plan A will cover all of them. In most cases, that will not be a huge expense, but it could add up to a dangerous bill the more that you use your Medicare Part B coverage.
Similarly, Plan A will also pay for any Part B preventative care coinsurance bills that you would encounter. Medicare Part B pays for preventative care treatments, like depression screenings, HIV screenings, Diabetes screenings, and much more. If you have additional Medicare supplemental coverage, then you won’t be required to pay the copayments, those will be paid for you. In most cases, the copayments would only be around $20, but that’s, more money in your pocket.
The other coverage areas of Medigap Plan A are, the first 3 pints of blood and Part A hospice care coinsurance. All of the other gaps in Medicare won’t be covered by Plan A. As you can see, Plan A can be an excellent insurance plan to have, but there are plenty of services and treatments that you will still have to pay for out-of-pocket.
One of the most notable portions that Plan A doesn’t cover is Medicare Part B excess charges. Whenever you go to the doctor and get any treatment or service, there is a pre-approved amount that Medicare will pay for. Legally, the doctor or hospital is allowed to charge 15% more than what Medicare has approved, and that rate above the approved amount is the excess charge. If you don’t have Medigap coverage, then you would be responsible for those bills. In most cases, excess charges are not going to be a huge financial strain., but you never know what treatment you will need.
Choosing a Medigap Policy
Deciding between the ten plans can be difficult. You want to ensure that you have quality health care, but you don’t want to pay for additional coverage that you don’t need. There are several key categories that you will need to consider to ensure that you’re getting the best plan possible.
The first thing that you should look at is your finances and your budget. The goal of your Medigap policy is to ensure that your retirement savings aren’t drained by medical bills, but your supplemental insurance policy shouldn’t break your bank every month. Before you apply for any Medigap plan, you should take a long and hard look at your budget to determine how much you can afford every month.
The next thing that you should look at is your health and family history. The older that you get, the more money that you’re going to spend on health care and medical costs. Before you purchase any Medigap plan, you should look at your chances of having any severe health problems. If you have a family history of poor health or severe health problems, then you should invest in a more comprehensive Medigap plan like Plan F. On the other hand, if you’re in decent health and you have a healthy family tree, then you can consider taking a risk by purchasing a small Medigap policy.
Enrolling in a Medicare Supplemental Insurance Plan
Once you’ve decided on what kind of policy you want, enrolling is easy. All that you will need to do is contact a Medigap insurance agent, and they will walk you through the process. The WHEN you apply is going to be the most important factor.
It’s vital that you take advantage of the Medigap Open Enrollment period, which is a 6-month window that starts the month that you turn 65. During this period, the insurance company can’t reject your application, regardless of your health. During open enrollment, the plans are guaranteed acceptance. If you’re in poor health, this could be your only option to get supplemental coverage.
Another benefit of enrolling in the six months is that the insurance company can’t charge you more for your coverage. Typically, the insurance company is going to review your health and any conditions that you have, and depending on your health, they could charge you much higher premiums. During the Open Enrollment Period, you’ll get the lowest rates, regardless. Open enrollment can save you thousands of dollars every year.
If you’ve already missed that window, don’t worry, there is still an excellent chance that you can get affordable Medigap coverage. You can’t put a price on the peace of mind that supplemental coverage will give you.
I know that navigating the Medicare waters can be difficult, especially because they keep changing. If you have any questions about Medigap Plan A or any of the other plans, you should check out my other posts. I have plenty of information about Medigap and supplemental coverage. It’s vital that you have all of the information that you need to make the best choice for your healthcare needs.
If you’re still confused, you can contact me or an experienced Medigap insurance agent. Those agents can answer any questions that you have or point you in the right direction.
The Bottom Line – Understanding Medicare Supplement Plan A
While Medicare is a valuable resource, it doesn’t cover everything, potentially leading to hefty medical bills. Medicare Supplement Plans, or Medigap plans, bridge these gaps, ensuring your retirement savings remain intact. Plan A, the most basic option, offers coverage for significant expenses like hospital costs and Part B copayments. However, it leaves many areas uncovered, including Medicare Part B excess charges. Choosing the right Medigap plan depends on your budget, health, and family history. Enrolling during the Medigap Open Enrollment period can secure you the best rates and guaranteed acceptance.