Medicare is one of the biggest government programs in the United States. It provides health care to millions of senior citizens across the country. It gives them health care coverage that they would be able to afford otherwise.
While Medicare is an excellent program that helps protect seniors from massive hospital bills, but it doesn't cover everything. In fact, there are a dozen different expense categories that they don't cover. Those groups could leave you with thousands and thousands of dollars of debts.
Every year, the cost of health care continues to rise. There is nothing that you can do stop the rising costs, but there are some ways that you can protect your finances from being wrecked by those bills. One of the best things that you can do is purchase a Medigap insurance plan. These policies will give you additional health care coverage that will work with your traditional insurance policy.
What is a Medigap Policy?
Medigap policies are sold by private insurance companies across the nation. These plans work as an add-on to your Medicare Parts A & B. They don't replace the original coverage. You will still have to pay the monthly premiums.
The goal of Medigap plans is to fill in all of the coverage holes left behind. There are ten different Medigap plans that are sold, and they are denoted by a letter of the alphabet, A through N. All of the plans offer different coverage or cover portions of various expenses. Some of them are going to cover 100% of certain categories, while others are going to only pay for 80% of them.
Medigap Plan D
Now that you know the basics of Medicare Supplemental insurance policies, we can look at the specifics of Plan D. Before we get started, it's important that you understand the Medigap Plan D is not the same thing as Medicare Part D. These plans are very different, but a lot of applicants tend to get the two confused, for obvious reasons.
Medigap Plan D is one of the “middle of the road” supplemental plans. It's not the smallest, but it's also not the most comprehensive. There are a few key coverage categories that you should be aware of to ensure that you're getting the best supplemental plan for you.
Medicare Supplemental Plan D is going to pay for necessary expenses like your Part A hospital coinsurance and costs for an additional 365 days after your original Medicare expires. If you've ever spent a night in the hospital or several nights, then you know how expensive it can be to stay. If you're hospitalized for several days or even several weeks, you'll find yourself with a massive bill in the mail. Your original Medicare Parts A and B are only going to cover a short stay in a hospital, but depending on the condition, you could be there for a lot longer. That's where your supplemental plan will come in. It will give you the additional coverage that you need to offset those expensive hospital bills.
Your Medigap Plan D will also pay for Part A hospice care coinsurance or copayment and your Part A deductible. Neither of these is going to be massive expenses, but having coverage for them is going to keep more money in your pockets. More than likely, you won't be required to pay your Part A deductible. Depending on the services that you need from hospice, you could end up with thousands and thousands of dollars out-of-pocket, but that's where your Medigap coverage comes in.
Additionally, Plan D pays for your Part B copayments or coinsurance. If you go to the doctor or hospital, you'll be required to pay copayment fees, but if you have Medigap coverage, then your plan is going to pay for those bills. The more that you go to the doctor, the more that you're going to pay, and the supplemental coverage can help protect your savings account from being drained by hospital bills.
One of the most notable coverage areas of the Plan D policy is the foreign travel emergency costs. Technically, this plan is going to cover 80% of those foreign emergency costs. While it only pays for 80% of those costs, it's the most protection that you can get, regardless of which plan that you buy. If you plan on doing a lot of overseas traveling in your retirement, it's important that you have this additional coverage. If something were to happen to you while you were on vacation, your Medicare is not going to pay for any of that.
Some of the other expenses that you plan will pay for is the first three pints of blood for any medical treatment that you may need. After the first three pints, your Original Medicare should pay for any additional pints. Pints of blood can be expensive depending on how many that you need, but your Medigap coverage coupled with your traditional coverage will cover those bills.
The last portion of expenses that the plan will cover is any skilled nursing facility care coinsurance that you would be responsible for paying for. Depending on the type of skilled nursing facility care that you need, it could end up being a massive bill.
What Medicare Supplemental Plan D Doesn't Cover
There are also a few key expenses that a Medigap Plan D won't cover, and those coverage gaps could drain your savings account. One of the most notable expenses is the Medicare Part B excess charges. When you go to a doctor or hospital, and you receive any service, there is a pre-determined amount that Medicare will pay for those services. Legally, the doctor or hospital is allowed to charge up to 15% more than that pre-determined amount, and the amount that is above the amount is called excess charges. Without Medigap coverage, you would be responsible for those bills, and because Plan D doesn't pay for those charges, you would have to pay for those out-of-pocket.
Deciding which Medigap Plan is Right for you
It's important that you choose which of the ten plans are going to work best for you. There are several key factors that you should consider to ensure that you're getting the best plan for you. I know that picking between these plans can be difficult, but there are a few key categories that you should review before you apply for any of them.
The first thing that you should look at is your finances. The primary goal of your Medigap plan is to protect your savings account from the mountain of debt that a hospital could give you. While it's one of the best ways to give you additional coverage, the supplemental plan shouldn't break your bank every month. Make sure that you look at your budget and calculate how much money you can spend on your Medigap plan.
The next thing that you should consider is your health. If you're in bad health and you have several dire health complications, then you should consider purchasing a more comprehensive policy that is going to give you the additional coverage that you need. If you're in excellent health with no pre-existing conditions, then you can consider risking a smaller plan with a cheaper monthly premium.
Enrolling in one of these Medigap policies is very simple. The Medicare supplemental agent can walk you through the whole process, but it's important that you apply during your Medigap Open Enrollment period. This is a 6-month time frame that beings the month that you turn 65. During this time, the insurance company can't decline your application, regardless of your health or any pre-existing conditions that you have. If you're in poor health, this could be the only chance that you have to get supplemental coverage.
Additionally, during your open enrollment, the company can't charge you more for your plan, even if you have severe health problems. If you wait to purchase one of these plans, it could cost you thousands of dollars more every year. If you want to save money, don't weight to apply for your coverage.
Medigap plans are one of the best ways to protect your retirement savings and ensure that you can live out your retirement dreams. The older that you get, the more that you're going to spend on health care and related medical costs. Don't' let those expenses ruin your retirement.
If you have any questions about Medigap coverage, please feel free to contact an experienced Medicare Supplemental insurance agent near you or me today. It's vital that you get the proper coverage.