Medical Supplement Plans or Medigap policies were created to help cover the healthcare gaps associated with Original Medicare. Depending on which plan that you choose, the Medicare Supplement policy will take some or all of the out of pocket expenses that come with Original Medicare. Although the plans are sold through private healthcare companies, Medigap policies follow all the federal and state legalities. All of the Medicare Supplement Plans are what the government calls “standardized plans”, which means regardless of which company you choose, your plan benefits will be exactly the same. The only difference in the plans is the price you pay for them. For example, a Plan F with one company will be the same with all the companies, the same with Plan G, and Plan C, Plan N, and well I think you are getting the point.
It is important to know who is eligible for a Medicare Supplement policy and when is the best time to enroll. Anyone who is entitled to Part A and enrolled in Part B and is of 65 years of age can purchase a Medicare Supplement policy. Although, it is important to enroll when you are in your open enrollment period. This period begins on the first day of the month that you turn 65 and last for 6 months. During this open enrollment time, you can purchase a Medicare Supplement without having to answer any health questions. You will be accepted into any policy you apply for regardless of your current or past health problems. After this open enrollment period, you can still purchase a plan but you will be subjected to answering health questions before being accepted. There are a few exceptions to the rule: if you have other health insurance coverage after you turn 65, you move out of your current plan’s service area, or your current plan leaves the market, you may be able to purchase a plan with guaranteed issued status.
So what is the advantage of purchasing a Medicare Supplement over let’s say, a Medicare Advantage plan? The biggest difference would be the network of providers. Medicare supplements work in conjunction with Original Medicare so anyone in the United States, regardless of what state you purchased your plan from, who accepts Original Medicare is going to accept your Medicare Supplement also. Another great advantage to the Medicare Supplement policy is that it’s easy to estimate your healthcare cost for the year. This is convenient so you have fewer surprise bills in the mail and you can save for the year accordingly.
Although Medicare supplements do have a few advantages, there are benefits that these plans do not cover, such as Vision and Dental. Also, prescription drug coverage will have to be purchased through a separate prescription drug plan. The trick is to choose early, know your healthcare needs that will determine which plans to acquire, be consistent in premium pays, and rest assured that your healthcare needs will be met by most of the healthcare facilities.