When you have several Medicare Supplement insurance plans to choose from, how do you know which plan to choose? Here’s some information that you might find useful.
Medicare Supplement: a quick overview
Medicare Supplement (Medigap) insurance is designed to help pay for various out-of-pocket costs from Medicare Part A and Part B. These costs might include copayments, coinsurance, and/or deductibles, for example.
In 47 states, there are up to 10 standardized Medicare Supplement plans identified with lettered names – Medicare Supplement Plan G, for instance.
Each plan of the same name has a certain set of basic benefits. Plan G may pay your Medicare Part A deductible, but not your Part B deductible. Plan F, however, generally covers both Part A and Part B deductibles. Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Wisconsin have their own standardized plans.
But Plan F and Plan C, which may cover the Medicare Part B deductible, will be gradually discontinued. Those who qualify for Medicare on January 1, 2020 or later won’t be able to buy Plan F or Plan C. You won’t have to drop Plan F or Plan C if you already have your plan.
All the standardized lettered plans have one basic benefit in common: each one may cover up to 365 days’ worth of hospital costs and coinsurance after Part A benefits are used up.
Medicare Supplement: choosing an insurance provider
Again, every Medicare Supplement plan of the same letter name includes the same basic benefits. That means that if you buy (for example) Medicare Supplement Plan G in Los Angeles, and your sister buys Plan G in New York City, you’ll both have essentially the same plan. The same is true if you buy Plan G from Company X in Los Angeles, while your friend buys Plan G from Company Y in the same city.
If Plan G is the same no matter where you buy it, or from what company, then what difference does it make which Medicare Supplement insurance provider you use? Here are some tips:
- Medicare Supplement insurance is sold by private insurance companies, so they have some flexibility in their premium prices. Compare prices for the same plan from different Medicare Supplement insurance providers in your area.
- Some Medicare Supplement insurance providers offer extra benefits beyond the standardized, basic benefits included in each plan. For example, some Medicare Supplement plans might offer membership in SilverSneakers fitness programs.
- Why would you pay a higher premium for the same Medicare Supplement plan from one company, instead of a cheaper premium from another? The plans are the same!
Here’s one possible scenario. Suppose there’s a difference of only a few dollars when you’re comparing Medicare Supplement plans in your vicinity. For example, insurance company X might charge a premium of $120 per month for Medicare Supplement Plan G, while insurance company Y might charge $116 for Plan G. Perhaps you had health insurance through Company X in the past, and you were pleased with their customer service. You may be willing to pay a slightly higher premium to buy your Medicare Supplement plan from Plan X.
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