When Original Medicare falls short of offering you enough medical coverage for your healthcare bills, you should be looking into Medicare supplemental insurance in 2018. This kind of coverage attaches onto the Original Medicare plan and provides additional support for common medical expenses, as well as some uncommon ones.
It’s a good option for the senior who has already signed up for Medicare and has found that this basic plan is lacking the kind of coverage they need. Perhaps it leaves too many gaps for them to pay or they just want greater peace of mind about their medical care and insurance coverage. Supplement plans can do both of those things, but you have to pick the right plan.
We want to help you do that by first detailing what supplemental insurance is, and then looking at some of the Supplement plans you could sign up for.
What Is Medicare Supplemental Insurance?
You can only sign up for a supplemental plan if you already have the Original Medicare plan, otherwise known as basic Medicare. It’s all in the name, and supplemental insurance is meant to work with your basic Medicare coverage to add some coverage onto it. It provides no coverage in its own, and you cannot buy it on its own. It has to be able to work with an Original medical plan to be of any use to you.
It also won’t interact well with Advantage plans and many other types of medical coverage plans. It is meant to only work with original Medicare, so if you have something else (other than Medicare Part D, which is fine), then you need to consider dropping it or risk forcing your insurance company to drop it for you because of overlapping coverage.
You can sign up for a Supplement plan just as soon as you sign up for Original Medicare. So, you can start on your 65th birthday, if you like. If you have a disability or kidney failure, then you may be able to sign up earlier. Anyone else will generally have to wait until at least three months before they turn 65 to apply, if they want to be approved.
If Medicare rejects your application for supplemental insurance, then you can always apply again later, when you are actually eligible.
What Your Supplemental Plan Will Cover
There are lots of medical expenses you can expect to be covered by any given Medicare Supplement plan. What the plan you sign up for actually covers, though will depend on which of the ten available plans you chose.
The Supplement plans can cover any of the following healthcare expenses for you:
- Medicare Part A coinsurance
- Medicare Part B coinsurance
- Part B excess charges
- Nursing care coinsurance
- Pints of blood used
- Foreign emergency medical transport
- Part A’s deductible
- Part B’s deductible
- Part A hospice care coinsurance
If you look through all ten plans, you will see that only one of them covers all of these items. That’s Plan F- the full coverage one. It is also the most expensive plan, and many argue that its costs outweigh its benefits and coverage. Many experts agree that when it comes to Medicare supplemental insurance for 2018, you are better off choosing a lower coverage plan and paying out of your own finances for what Part F does not cover.
You should be aware that coverage can change slightly from one state to the next, even if the basic plans stay they same. This comes down to how federal law and state law differ on what medical procedures are considered medically necessary in certain circumstances. There may be something that is considered medically necessary and will be covered by your plan in one state that is not considered necessary in another state. If some procedure, treatment or service is not considered to be medically necessary, then your Supplement plans has no obligation to cover it for you.
Medicare Supplemental Insurance 2018
Supplemental insurance is not something that you will find through Medicare directly. It is insurance coverage that you have to go to private insurance providers for. These companies sell other types of medical insurance and often other types of insurance entirely, but Medicare allows them to sell its Supplement plans (as well as some other types of Medicare plans).
Medicare provides oversight for these companies and their selling of the plans. Medicare decides how much coverage the plans are supposed to have, and that stays the same across the board. So, if you buy Supplement Plans G from one insurance company, you can rest assured that it has the same coverage as Plan G from another company.
What differs is the pricing and the availability. Not all of the companies will offer the same Supplement plans, and they don’t have to. They are also allowed to set pricing to what they like. The prices vary based on the cost of living for a particular are as well as the insurance competition in that area. You may pay different prices for the same plan, depending on which area of the country you live and what insurance company you choose. Yet, the plans all remain the same. Pan F is still a full overage plan and covers everything on the list above, no matter where you decide to buy it from.
You will have to pay premiums on Supplement plans, which are due every month. But these plans can help you cover some of the other costs you pay regularly, such as deductibles and copayments. You will have to decide if they cover enough expenses to make them worth signing up for or if you need a different kind coverage plan entirely.
It is important that you compare the cost of Medicare supplemental insurance 2018 plans to each other. You won’t find a good deal unless you make that effort, and once you have found the least expensive version of the plan you need, you could end up saving hundreds of dollars every year on healthcare.