Medigap Supplement Plans: Do you know the basics?

Medicare Supplemental Plans cover some of the gaps (costs) of the Original Medicare Part A and Part B. In the past few years, 10-different types of Medigap plans were developed. These plans are identified using an alphabetic letter (for example, Plan A, Plan F, Plan M). Additionally, there is a high deductible version of Medicare Supplemental Plan F.

Basic Facts of Medicare Supplement Plans

In general, all insurance service providers offer Plan A. If an insurance company doesn’t sell Plan A, it must sell either Plan F or Plan C. Regardless of the insurance company, the plans have standardized benefits. For instance, Medicare Supplement Plan A in Texas has the same benefits of Plan A in Montana.

In the past few years, Medicare Supplement Plans J, I, H and E was canceled. This means new insurers cannot choose these plans. Yet, if you are covered by these policies, you can continue using its features.

Some states offer Medicare SELECT plans. These plans work only in certain hospitals and network providers.

Understanding the Benefits of Medicare Supplement Plans

Medicare supplemental plans are extremely famous! These plans have helped insurers save thousands of dollars on their medical bills. In general, the supplemental plans cover copayment and coinsurance on hospital expenses. And, it can be used 365 days after your Original Part A expires.

All Medicare Supplement Plans handle the following:

  • Hospice Coinsurance and Copayment of Medicare Part A
  • Coinsurance and Copayment of Medicare Part B
  • 3 pints of blood for your medical treatments (approved)

Medigap Plan A is believed to both comprehensive and advantageous.

Understanding the Medicare Part A charges handled by Medicare Supplemental Plans

Before you buy a Medicare supplemental plan in 2019, you must be aware of the costs covered. In all cases, the following Medicare Part A costs are covered by any supplemental plan:

  • Medigap supplement plan cover between 50 and 100 percent of Part A hospice expenses. The coverage depends on the supplemental plan you choose.
  • Medigap plans cannot be used to cover Part A deductibles.
  • Medigap supplement plans cover coinsurance for in-patients and stay in skilled nursing facilities.
  • Foreign travel coverage

What is exempted in Medigap Plans?

Medigap supplemental policies don’t cover the following:

  • Private nursing duties
  • Eyeglasses
  • Hearing gears
  • Dental checkups
  • Vision checkups
  • Long-term financial support in nursing homes

Understanding the Medicare Advantage and Supplement Plans

According to a recent study, more than 40% of Medicare beneficiaries want to improve their existing plans. They look for plans with better options and easier premiums. If you want to switch from an Original Medicare plan to another one, you must consider many factors.

Switching from a Medicare Advantage to a Medicare Supplement Plan is never easy. It depends on where you live, the current insurance policy and the service provider.

Before you decide to switch from an Advantage to a Supplement plan, you should be aware of the differences in these policies.

The Major Differences

In simple terms, Medicare Advantage represents the Original Medicare Part C. It allows beneficiaries to avail the benefits of Medicare Part A or Part B from a third-party private insurance company. The benefits must be availed by an approved company. Some insurance service providers offer additional rewards and benefits. For example, you may receive vision coverage as a part of Medicare Part C.

On the other hand, Medicare Supplement Plans work with Medicare Part A and Part B. It takes care of benefits that are not provided by Part A or Part B. This means you are less likely to incur out-of-pocket charges.

Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement Plans are not 100% compatible. This is why you should be very careful with the switch.

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Understanding the Thin Line!

You can never use a Medicare supplement plan to pay the gaps in your Medicare Advantage policy. If you have an Advantage plan, it is illegal to purchase a Supplement plan.

To buy a Medicare Supplement Plan, you must pay for the Original Part A and Part B.

Yet, the reverse is not true! If you have purchased a Medicare Supplement plan, you can switch to the Advantage plan. You may keep the supplemental plan, even if it cannot be used to fill the gaps in your Advantage plan.

When should you change?

There will be specific instances when the switch becomes useful. In such cases, you must remember the following points:

  • The Medicare Advantage Policy can be released only at certain times. You can leave the plan between the 1st of January and the 14th of February. This is the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period. You can release the Advantage Plan between the 15th of October and 7th of December too. This is known as the Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Election Period
  • Once the Advantage plan is released and an Original Medicare Plan is purchased, you can choose a supplemental plan.