Medicare Supplements

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 Medicare Supplement and have to go into the hospital, you are responsible for paying the Part A hospital deductible of $1,408.  Medicare Part B only covers 80% of the cost for doctor’s office 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 costs. 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.

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

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

Medicare Supplement Plan G offers all the same benefits as Plan F, except it does not pay the annual Medicare Part B deductible of $198. That is the only difference between Plan F and Plan G. Medicare Supplement Plan G is becoming the most popular plan among people enrolling in a Medicare Supplement.

Medicare Supplement 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 $198. 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’s office exam. It also has a $50 copay for an emergency room visit if you are not admitted into the hospital. Medicare Supplement plans take rate increases every year. Medicare Supplement Plan N has an excellent history of moderate rate increases over the past ten years and has had a smaller rate increase than Plan F or Plan G.

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 take your Medicare Supplement, regardless of which company provides the coverage. If your doctor does not accept Medicare, which is rare, then they will not accept your Medicare Supplement plan either. Ninety-five percent 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. If you go to a doctor or hospital that is not in their network, you may be responsible for all of the costs. The key thing to remember is if Medicare is your primary coverage, your doctor or hospital 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 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. When your open enrollment period ends, you can apply for a Medicare Supplement later, but you have to answer all health questions on the application. Your application may be declined if you have pre-existing health conditions the insurance company does not want to cover. Medicare does not provide an open enrollment period each year during the “Annual Election Period” from October 15 through December 7 to select a Medicare Supplement. When you register for Part B of Medicare, don’t miss this one opportunity to enroll in any Medicare Supplement Plan of your choice without having to go through medical underwriting. 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.