Medicare Supplements

Medicare supplements sometimes referred to as Medigap plans pay health care costs that Medicare does not cover (deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments). If you don’t have a Supplement and have to go into the hospital, you are responsible for paying the Part A hospital deductible of $1,364.  Medicare Part B only covers 80% of the cost for your doctor visits and outpatient medical services and treatments. Without a Medicare Supplement, you have to pay the other 20%, and Medicare does not put a cap on your out-of-pocket cost. That is why it is essential to enroll in a Medicare supplement to keep your cost low and predictable. Medical bills for severe and chronic illnesses can ruin you financially if you don’t have a supplement. The money you have set aside for your retirement could quickly be wiped out. As people get older, they use more and more health care services.

With most Medicare Supplements offered in Alabama, you have the freedom to go to any doctor or hospital in the United States that accepts Medicare patients. You can see specialists without a referral, and your coverage goes with you when you travel anywhere in the United States. Medicare supplements do not cover outpatient prescription drugs, so you’ll need to enroll in a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan. To apply for a Medicare supplement, you must register for Medicare Part A and Part B.

Medicare Supplements: Plans F, G & N

With Plan F you have no out-of-pocket cost for an inpatient hospital stay, outpatient medical services, treatments and doctor office visits. Plan F will not be available to anyone enrolling in Medicare for the first time starting January 1, 2020.

Plan G offers all the same benefits as Plan F except it does not pay the annual Medicare Part B deductible of $185. That is the only difference between Plan F and Plan G.

With Plan N you have no out-of-pocket cost for an inpatient hospital stay, but like Plan G, you are responsible for the annual Part B deductible of $185. Plan N has a lower monthly premium than Plan F and Plan G because it has a copay that can never exceed $20 for a doctor office exam. It has a $50 copay for an emergency room visit if you’re not admitted into the hospital. Medicare supplement plans take a rate increase every year. It is essential to choose a company and a plan that has a consistent record of low, stable rate increases. Plan N has an excellent history of moderate rate increases over the past nine years.

Will My Doctor Accept My Medicare Supplement?

The answer to this question is whether your doctor accepts Medicare. If a doctor or hospital accepts Medicare (your primary coverage), they will also accept your Medicare supplement, regardless of which company provides the coverage. Medicare supplements plans do not have networks. If your doctor does not accept Medicare which is rare, then they will not accept your Medicare supplement plan either. 95-96% of doctors in the U.S. accept Medicare patients.

This is not the case with a Medicare Advantage Plan because they are typically using an HMO or PPO network of providers to determine which doctors and hospitals you can see. When you are enrolled in an Advantage Plan the insurance company, not Medicare is your primary coverage.

The key thing to remember is if Medicare is your primary coverage your doctor will always accept your Medicare supplement regardless of which company sold you the policy.

Don’t Miss This Opportunity

The best time to enroll in a Medicare supplement is during your Open Enrollment Period. When you first enroll in Medicare Part B at age 65 or older, you only have six months to enroll in a Medicare supplement without answering health questions. Your acceptance is guaranteed, and pre-existing health conditions receive full coverage immediately. I cannot stress this Medicare rule enough; you only get one open enrollment period in Alabama to purchase a Medicare supplement. When your open enrollment period ends, you can apply for a Medicare supplement later, but you have to answer all the health questions on the application. Your application may not be approved if you have pre-existing health conditions. Take advantage of your one Medicare supplement open enrollment period where health conditions won’t matter then or in the future. Call me with any questions you have about Medicare and get expert advice at no cost or obligation.