Medicare is an excellent program that allows seniors to get health care coverage that they wouldn't be able to afford otherwise. While it's a great way for Americans to get insurance coverage, there are plenty of expenses that it doesn't cover. Those coverage gaps can leave people with massive hospital bills and medical fees that put a severe strain on a bank account.
One of the best ways to fill in the coverage holes is to purchase a Medigap policy. These plans are one of the best forms of supplemental insurance. When you're shopping for Medigap protection, there are several different policies that you can choose from.
There are ten different Medicare supplement plans that you can choose from, and all of them have different benefits and advantages. It's important that you find the best possible supplemental plan for you, and to do that, you will need to compare all of your options.
All of the plans are denoted by a letter of the alphabet, Plan A, B, C, D, etc. and there is a broad range of expenses and gaps that they could cover. Plan A is the most basic of the options, and it leaves more holes than the other policies. Which means it's also going to be much more affordable. One important thing to take note of when you're shopping for supplemental coverage is that these plans are standardized by the government. That means that regardless of which company that you purchase the plan from, the coverage is going to be the same.
The only difference between companies is going to be any additional extras that they offer and the price of the coverage. Depending on the time of plan that you buy and the company that you choose, your premiums could vary drastically. The plan that you choose is going to be one of the biggest determining factors in how large your monthly premiums are. One of the most popular plans is a Plan F.
Medicare Supplement Plan F
Plan F is by far the most attractive option for supplemental coverage. There are several reasons that Plan F is the most common choice. Plan F is considered the Cadillac of Medigap plans. It fills in all of the leftover holes from traditional Medicare. If it's legally possible to pay for any medical expenses, then a Medigap Plan F will cover it.
One of the first categories that Plan F covers are Part A coinsurance and any hospital costs for an extra 365 after your traditional Medicare coverage ends. This is a category that all ten plans cover. Plan F is also going to include the Part B coinsurance or copayment.
One of the most notable areas where Plan F stands out from the other policies is the Part B excess charges. Part B excess charges are exactly what they sound like. When you go to the doctor and get any services or treatments, Medicare has a pre-determined amount that they are going to pay for that particular service. Hospitals and doctors are legally allowed to charge up to 15% more than the Part P approved amount. That 15% would be your responsibility to pay for, but that's where your Medigap plan comes in. Instead, of having to pay for those bills out-of-pocket, your Medigap plan will pay for it. In most cases, excess charges are not going to be a massive bill that you're responsible for, but depending on the services that you get, it could easily cost you thousands and thousands of dollars.
Previously, Plan F covered the Part B deductible as well, but because of recent changes from the government, Medigap plans are no longer allowed to cover those deductibles. If you had a plan that covered the deductible, then it will continue to do so, but if you enroll in a plan today, your policy will not be allowed to pay for that portion.
There is also a high-deductible Plan F option that you can choose. With this option, you will have to pay all of the costs until you meet the deductible amount. The deductible limit can change every year, but in 2017, it's $2,200. After you've reached that threshold, then your Medigap plan will start to pay for their portion and the plan will operate normally.
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Enrolling in a Medigap Plan F
The next step in getting additional coverage is enrolling in a Medigap plan, which is easier than you may think. The best time to buy a Medigap insurance plan is during your initial open enrollment period. This open enrollment is a 6-month window that begins the month that you turn 65.
During this enrollment period, the Medigap companies are not allowed to decline your application for coverage, regardless of your health or any pre-existing conditions. If you're in poor health or have severe health complications, this could be your only chance to purchase one of these supplemental plans.
Additionally, during the open enrollment period, the insurance company can't charge you more for your coverage. If you apply outside of the open enrollment window, then the insurance company is going to look at your medical history and your current health, and they are going to use those records to determine how much they can charge you every month for your coverage. In some cases, applying during the open enrollment date can save you thousands and thousands of dollars every year.
During open enrollment, it's a guarantee acceptance. There is no chance that you will be declined for coverage. If you apply outside of that window, the insurance company is going to review dozens and dozens of different factors to determine how much of a risk you are for the additional coverage. It's important that you take advantage of your open enrollment. If you've already missed that opportunity, don't worry, there is still a good chance that you can get the Medigap plan that you need.
Which Medigap Plan is Best for You?
When you're trying to decide which policy is best for you, there are several factors that you will need to account for to ensure that you're getting the best plan possible. It's important that you look at all of the relevant categories and get the supplemental health care protection that you need.
Plan F is the most comprehensive plan that you can purchase, but all of that additional coverage is going to come at a higher price. One of the most important factors to review before you apply for any Medigap plan is your finances. The purpose of your Medicare supplemental policy is to protect your savings account from being drain by hospital bills. It's vital that you don't stretch your budget too thin to get that coverage. In most cases, Medigap plans are more affordable than you may think, but you should still look at all of the available options to ensure that you are not spending more for that coverage than you can afford.
Another factor to consider is your health history. If you have a past that is filled with health problems, like heart attacks or other severe complications, then investing in a more compassing Medigap plan is a wise purchase. On the other hand, if you are in good health and your family history doesn't have a trend of poor health, then you can apply for a smaller plan that will save you money every month.
If you have any questions about Medigap plans or you need help in enrolling for coverage, there are several resources that you can use. You can visit the official Medicare.gov site, and they have dozens and dozens of articles about traditional Medicare and Medigap plans. You can also contact any Medigap insurance professional. There are plenty of agencies across the United States that will be more than willing to help you through the process and ensure that you're getting the best coverage.
You've finally reached a stage of life where you can retire, kick back, and enjoy all of your hard work. Retirement is a special time of life, where you can reap all of the of the benefits, but expensive medical bills and destroy that. There is nothing that you can do about the rising cost of health care in American, but there are a few ways that you can offset those fees to ensure that you aren't left under the weight of thousands and thousands of dollars of hospital bills.