Health care insurance is constantly changing, especially when it comes to Medicare. The coverage and amount can be confusing, but it's important that you get the perfect health care coverage that you need.
Medicare is an excellent government program that helps millions of seniors get the health care coverage that they wouldn't be able to afford through a private insurance company. The problem is that Medicare doesn't cover everything. There are dozens of coverage areas that the program doesn't pay for, and those bills could leave enrollees with a massive amount of debt or other expenses.
There is nothing that you can do about the rising cost of health care, but there are a few ways that you can offset those expenses and protect your savings from being drained. The best way to ensure that you aren't left with a massive amount of bills and other health care costs is to purchase a Medigap plan.
What is a Medigap Policy?
A Medicare supplemental plans are sold by private insurance companies, and they fill in the gaps that are left behind by traditional Medicare plans. There are 10 ten Medigap plans that you can choose from, and all of them have different coverage amounts or bills that they cover. Each of the plans is denoted by a letter of the alphabet, from A to N.
Unlike a Medicare Advantage plan, Medigap plans don't replace your traditional Medicare coverage. Instead, they work in tandem with your Parts A & B coverage. You will still be responsible for paying your Medicare premiums. It's important that you realize that Medigap Plan C is not the same thing as Medicare Part C. It can be confusing, but they are two completely different policies with very different benefits.
Medigap plans are standardized by the government, which means that regardless of which company that you choose, the coverage is going to be the same. Each company is required to cover the same expenses, the only difference between companies is how much you're going to pay for the plan. Some companies are going to have additional benefits, but mostly they are all the same. Because they are all the same, it's vital that you get dozens of quotes before you pick the one that is going to work best for you.
The best way to do that is to work with an independent insurance agent. Independent brokers work with dozens of highly rated companies across the nation. I highly suggest that you work with an independent agent. If you wanted to get those quotes yourself, you could spend hours and hours calling companies to get those quotes.
Medicare Supplemental Plan C
Now that you know the fundamentals of Medigap plans, let's look at the specifics of Medigap Plan C. Plan C is not the most comprehensive policy available, but you should still consider purchasing one of these plans. You should look at all of the possible options before you decide which Medigap policy is going to work best for you.
Medicare Supplemental Plan C is going to give you more coverage than both Plans A & B, but there are still some gaps that it doesn't cover. If you purchase a Medigap Plan C, you get insurance protection from several key categories. One of the most notable is that you will get Part A hospital coinsurance and costs for an additional 365 days after your Medicare coverage has been exhausted. If you've ever spent the night in the hospital, then you know that it can be an expensive stay. In fact, just a few nights in the hospital can turn into thousands and thousands of dollars. Having some extra protection could make a huge difference in keeping more money in your bank account.
Another category of coverage is Medicare Part A hospice care coinsurance or copayments. More than likely, these coinsurance fees are not going to be massive, but depending on the hospice care that you need, it could end up being a huge expense, and that's where your Medigap Plan C would come in.
With a Medigap Plan C, you will also get foreign emergency travel, which is very important. If you plan on doing a lot of traveling in your retirement, then this is one of the most important parts of your supplemental protection that you can get. More than likely, if something were to happen to you, your original Medicare plans would not give you any support for the hospital fees. If something tragic were to happen or you were to get sick while you were outside of the United States, you would have to pay for all of those bills out-of-pocket, which can quickly ruin your vacation. If you have a comprehensive supplemental plan, then it will help pay for 80% of those bills.
Your Medigap Plan C coverage will also pay for the first three pints of blood during a medical procedure. After the first three pints, your original Medicare should pay for any additional blood needed after that, which means that all of those expenses should be covered.
Some of the other less expense is the Medicare Part A deductible (which you probably wouldn't be paying anyway), skilled nursing facility care coinsurance, and Medicare Part B copayments and coinsurance. All of these can add up to serious bills the more that you need them, but by themselves, they are not going to break your bank.
Is a Medigap Plan C Right for You?
It's vital that you get the right type of supplemental coverage. Because there are ten different options, it can be confusing trying to decide which one is best for you. There are several different categories and factors that you should look at to ensure that you're getting the perfect health care coverage.
The first thing that you should look at is your health and any medical problems that you may have. The older that you get, the more that you're going to spend on medical bills and health care costs. If you're in poor health or you have some severe health complication, then you can expect to be at the doctor a lot, which is going to translate into expensive bills. Medigap insurance will help pay for those bills and give you the additional coverage that you need.
The next factor to consider is your budget. As a senior, you might be living on a fixed budget, which means you may not have a ton of money to spend on additional insurance coverage. The purpose of Medigap plans is to protect your savings account, but you shouldn't break your bank every month to have the coverage. Spend some time looking at your finances to decide how much you can comfortably spend on supplemental protection.
Enrolling in a Medigap Plan
Purchase one of these supplemental policies is very easy. A Medigap insurance agent can walk you through the process and help you get the coverage that you need. The application process will not take long, but what's important is WHEN you apply for your plan.
Before you apply, you need to be aware of your Medigap Open Enrollment Period. This is a 6-month window that starts the month that you start you turn 65. During this period, the insurance company can't decline your application, even if you have multiple health problems. If you're in very poor health, this could be your only chance to get supplemental coverage.
Additionally, during the Open Enrollment period, they can't raise your monthly rates because of your health. After the window has closed, then your application will be treated like any other application, which means that you could get much higher premiums because of your health. If you want to save money, it's important that you sign up during the first six months.
Have any Questions?
I know that shopping for health care coverage can be challenging and confusing. There are dozens of terms and coverages that seem to make no sense. That's why I am here to help. I've reviewed all of the Medigap options, which can give you the information that you need to make an informed decision about your health care option.
If you still have questions about Medigap coverage, please feel free to contact me or reach out to a Medigap, insurance agent. Your health is the most important thing in your life, and it's important that you have coverage to protect your finances. Medical bills shouldn't turn your retirement dream into a retirement nightmare.