With 44 million people relying on Medicare from day to day, it's one of the biggest health plans in the world. While it's a great plan for most people, aging people or those with poor medical histories seek out supplemental insurance. This additional coverage ensures that everything is covered, no matter what happens.
Here is everything you need to know about Medigap coverage and why you need a supplement to Medicare.
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Why You Need It
Medicare is a godsend to some people because it helps to ensure they get care when they might not be able to afford it. If you're over a certain age, your medical needs have changed and you're going to need some help paying for healthcare as your costs go up. This where additional insurance for Medicare recipients, or “Medigap” insurance, kicks in.
This insurance might seem like it's insurance for your insurance and you're not far off. This supplement helps to fill in any gaps between the “parts” of Medicare. Depending on your needs or why you're looking for care, you'll be using a different “part” of your insurance.
Medicare Parts A, B, and D are good for everyday care and medication. They cover some expenses but aren't the best for people who are seriously ill or who end up severely injured. You'll need some help filling in those gaps in between the parts where you're not covered.
Depending on which plan you get, you'll be able to cover some or all of the parts of your plan that are overlooked. This ensures that you're not saddled with massive medical bills despite the fact that you do have coverage.
Extra Charges Are More Than You Think
When someone is admitted to the hospital, they'll have to pay the first $1,000 or so dollars in expenses. With the standard issue of Medicare, you get 60 days of care to help you recover from a severe issue. After those 60 days, a portion of each day ends up being billed to you.
If you're in the hospital for a while due to a serious illness, you're going to have bills that add up quickly. Each part of your day, from the laundry you create to the food you eat, is going to end up on a bill somewhere. You also have to worry about what Medicare approves.
When you visit a doctor or get a medical procedure done, you'll have to pay the first $150 or so. After that, you're expected to saddle 20% of any of the services that are billed to you by the doctor. This gets to be severely significant when you end up racking up $200,000 in medical expenses and need to find $40,000 in your couch cushions.
With no upper limit to how high this number can go, you could be up the creek without a paddle in no time.
If you end up on special prescriptions, expect your budget to be taken ahold of. While most medication is affordable, a lot of the specialized medicine that aims to prevent serious illness and disease could leave you paying more than 70%. If your spending goes above $4,500, then you're going to end up seeing prices spike.
Understand How Medigap Steps In
If you understand how those Medicare parts work, you still might not realize that Medigap insurance has their own parts. They fit the letters A-N and offer you more options that you get through Parts A, B, and D of Medicare. They offer more specified care that ensures you're never left without help.
While more letters can be frustrating to remember, you only need to figure them out once. Once you've gotten your list down to just the supplemental insurance elements that you need, you'll be able to stick to that list. All of the options that you need are consistent across providers, so there's no need to learn them more than once.
Private insurance companies are the ones offering these policies. They force you to do your own comparing to one another. However, because of how these policies are built, every plan under the letter “L” has to be identical.
There's no need to worry if one company is offering something else for their “L.” While this might make comparing moot, you should take into account how the company treats you when deciding which one to go with.
Deciding on the Right One
While deciding on the right plan is a challenge, a qualified insurance agent can help. There are professional Medicare advisors and even Medicare publications out there to help you. Medicare advisors can look at what you need and make recommendations based on that.
Once you've got the full descriptions of every policy and what's covered, you can make your list of letters confidently. While other options might cost less, look out for them to leave more gaps open between your coverage.
While Medicare Advantage is a plan available to most people, it comes with its own set of selected care options. There are pre-selected doctors and hospitals that you have to go to with it.
With Medigap, you get more freedom than with Medicare Advantage. This is also great if you're a traveler or you and your spouse go to Florida for half the year. Once you sign up for Medicare, look into Medigap options to save yourself the headache of finding a plan later.
Check out this guide for Medicare supplemental insurance for more info.
Supplemental Insurance is Vital To Your Health
Beyond your physical health, the health of your bank account is important. When you have supplemental insurance, you have nothing to worry about when it comes to staying healthy and happy through any weather.
When you're shopping for insurance for a family, check out our guide for tips.