Medicare Supplemental Health Insurance, also known as Medigap, is an insurance policy provided by private insurance companies for those who are eligible or already have the standard Medicare Plan as provided by the government. Medigap is meant to fill in the gaps of the original Medicare, hence the name. What it primarily does is provide additional health insurance benefits, covering expenses not included in the original Medicare Plans. This includes costs such as coinsurance, co-payments, and deductibles.
In a nutshell, if you have both a Medicare plan and the supplemental insurance, all of your medical expenses are covered. Medicare provides coverage for many medical expenses. Medigap will then pay the rest of the costs, depending on which type of plan you choose. Read the following guide so you'll know what to expect when applying for Medicare supplemental health insurance.
Research the different kinds of Medigap plans. The recently updated Medicare supplemental health insurance allows you to choose from 10 Medigap plans labeled as A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M, and N. The states of Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Wisconsin have Medigap plans that are standardized in another manner. Each plan has different benefits and provisions. You can access the Medigap plan coverage resource from the official Medicare website to get an overview of what each plan specifically offers.
Choose a plan depending on your needs and budget. There are several items that must be noted before you choose a Medigap policy. First, if you live in Massachusetts, Minnesota, or Wisconsin this information does not pertain to you. Secondly, plans E, H, I, and J are no longer available for new customers. If you are currently enrolled in one of these plans you can keep your coverage.
- Medigap Plan A provides the most basic and the fewest benefits. It also has the lowest premium. This plan covers hospital stays, prescriptions, up to 3 blood transfusions, and hospice care.
- Medigap Plan B covers everything that Plan A covers plus the Medicare Part A deductible.
- Medigap Plan C also covers everything that Plan A covers plus the Medicare Part A deductible, the Medicare Part B deductible, nursing home care, and foreign medical emergency care.
- Medigap Plan D also covers everything that Plan A covers plus the Medicare Part A deductible, nursing home care, and foreign medical emergency care.
- Plan F has a high-deductible provision and covers everything that is covered in Medigap Parts A, B, C, and D as well as Medicare Part B excess charges.
- Plans K, L, and N have some of the lowest premiums in the bunch because you're required to pay only a part of the Medicare Part B coinsurance and co-payments. Other policies require that you pay 100% of them.
It's important for you to assess and anticipate not only your present needs, but also your future health care needs. Doing so will help you choose a plan that you can afford and will cover most of these needs.
Know which insurance companies provide Medigap in your state. What you need to do is to call a State Health Insurance Counseling and Assistance Program and inquire about Medigap providers. You can also visit the Medicare or NAIC (National Association of Insurance Commissioners) websites. Ask for or look up the contact details of the insurance provider you choose.
Medigap is automatically provided by different private insurance companies in every state. However, not all the plans are offered in every state. Plans that are available in some states may not be available in others. Don't forget to inquire which plans are available in your state.
Research the insurance companies. You have to choose a reliable insurance company as your Medigap provider. To do this, do a bit of research on each of the companies you've come up with. Look for online information, client reviews, and ratings from independent rating services. Be alert for illegal insurance practices.
Call the insurance companies. Make a checklist of everything you need to ask before you make the calls. Ask specific questions. After all the calls are done, go over your chart and notes. Then make your ultimate choice.
Contact the insurance company of your choice. Once you've made your final choice and contacted the company, they will schedule a meeting with you. An agent will meet with you to give you an application form and documents stating the complete and detailed provisions of your Medigap plan.
Read the documents provided. Go over everything thoroughly. Take your time. If you don't understand some terms and statements ask the agent to explain them to you.
Fill out the application form. Write neatly and legibly. Make sure you fill it out completely. Submit the form back to the agent when you're done. The company will review your application.
Settle initial payments. When paying for any kind of insurance, it is recommended that you do so by credit or debit card, check, bank draft, money order, or electronic funds transfer. It's also important that you make it payable to the company itself and not to your agent.
Pre-existing conditions. With most Medigap policies pre-existing conditions are covered. However, you may have a waiting period before you are able to get medical care for the condition. This waiting period is usually 6 months.
Supplemental insurance works with your current benefits. In the past, having more than one insurance plan meant having to pick and choose your coverage. Medigap insurance does not have this same pitfall. This insurance was designed to work in conjunction with your Medicare coverage. Therefore, the Medicare coverage you currently have will stay the same when you add the Medigap policy.
Original Medicare Plans aren't enough to cover all the medical and healthcare needs of those eligible for them. That's what the Medigap aims to address. With a Medicare supplemental health insurance you can choose which plans suit your present and future healthcare needs. Applying for one of these plans requires you to be thorough and practical.