In 2018, you will have the opportunity to sign up for a Medicare supplement plan and gain additional coverage for your medical expenses. How much coverage you get is up to you, and we want to look at the Medicare Supplemental Plans for 2018 and show you what’s available and how the plans may be changing from previous years.
What Medicare Supplement Offers
Before we look at any possible changes to the plans, let’s first look at what the supplement plans have to offer you. You won’t be able to sign up for any of them if you are not already a Medicare subscriber. That means you have signed up for the basic Medic plan, which already provides some substantial coverage. But you may not be covered as much as you need to for your medical expenses. If that is the case, then supplemental coverage may be necessary.
The supplement plans cover a lot of different medical expenses. These includes deductibles for various parts of Medicare- particularly Part A and Part B of Medicare. It also includes coverage for Medicare Part B excess charges and for up to three pints of blood annually. If you know much about the basic Medicare plan, you may recognize that it covers you for some blood already, and the supplement plans just offer additional coverage for that expense, if you need it.
They can also cover you for the copayments or coinsurance for Medicare Part A and for Part B as well. Supplement plans can take care of up to 80% of your foreign emergency medical travel expenses and for nursing care coinsurance. They can also cover 365 days’ worth of hospice care coinsurance. As with the blood coverage, this is something that the basic plan already provides some coverage for. Supplementary insurance simply provides additional coverage on top of that basic cover.
There are ten supplement plans in total, and you can only sign up for one of them at a time, since they overlap in a lot of ways. In other words, they all cover some of the same basic items, but some of them offer more of those items we listed above, and some of them will only cover you partially for some items.
What Is Changing about the Supplement Plans
Now, let’s look at what may be changing about these plans for 2018. Every so often, Medicare will make changes to the plans. Medicare doesn’t sell the plans, but it does control how much coverage they have to offer and which plans are available. So, coverage on each plan and the list of plans itself can change from year to year. Medicare will always let its subscribers know about upcoming changes long before they take place.
The Medicare Supplemental Plans for 2018 are not getting any coverage changes for the entire year. This is something Medicare has already announced to its subscribers, so you can rest easy knowing that the coverage is going to hold steady for the foreseeable future. It may change in 2019 or some later year, but for now, there are no scheduled upcoming changes to coverage.
The plan themselves are not changing either. Medicare will sometimes cut a plan from its lineup or add a new plan in, but nothing like that is scheduled for 2018. You still get the full ten plans to pick from, and you can choose any one of them you want, as every Medicare subscriber is eligible for all the plans, even if they won’t all be a wise choice for their needs.
So, what is changing about the plans? Well, not much is changing, but you can expect the price to change during the year. This usually happens once each year, and it’s not something that Medicare has any control over. The insurance companies that sell the plans for Medicare will set their own prices and change the prices as they see fit. Those prices are likely to change at least once per year, so if you have looked at prices for the plans previously, then expect to see an increase sometime in 2018. The individual insurance companies will change their prices at different times, so keep checking back with them, if you are looking at multiple providers for the best price.
You should also know that the plans offered by an individual insurance company can change from time to time. So, AARP may not offer one of the more popular supplement plans now, but that could change in 2018. If you have your heart set on a particular plan, but your preferred insurance company isn’t offering it yet, you may see a change in that in the coming year.
How to Sign up for the Best Plan for You
Picking the best plan can be tricky. You want to be sure that you compare the plans that are like what meets your needs. Those needs can change from year to year, so the best plan for you this year may not be the most suitable plan for you in 2018. Keep that in mind and be prepared to change your plan as necessary when the time is right. You will want to wait out the end of your current plan’s term to change plans, as you could incur penalties if you try to change your plan too soon.
Be sure to look at both coverage and price for the plan you are considering. You may find that you can afford more coverage than you initially thought, simply by comparing prices and getting a good deal on a particular supplement plan. The more research you do and the more you compare coverage and prices, the more money you are likely to save. You can get affordable, suitable coverage and not have to worry much about your medical bills, if you choose the best of the Medicare Supplemental Plans for 2018 for your situation.