Medicare has been a blessing on the elderly. However, it does entail certain payments such as deductibles, coinsurance and copayments, which could turn out to be burdensome. In order to ease this burden, Medicare Supplemental policies have been formulated. These policies take care of Medicare excesses and fill the gap between real health care cost and Medicare cover. They are appropriately named MediGap.
Different kinds of Medical Supplemental policies
Twelve different supplement plans have been initiated and named Medicare Supplement “A through “L”. These policies are provided by private insurers. Plan A is the basic supplement plan. As you move towards L, both coverage and cost increase. Among the twelve, Plan F is considered to be the best combination of good coverage and reasonable cost. Plans K and L are not suitable for all because they are high-deductible policies. But these two policies charge lower premiums. Plans A to J are comprehensive and suitable for more number of people. MediGap plans vary from state to state in the United States.
Making the right choice
You should first be certain that you do really need a gap filler plan. Medicare supplemental policies are not mandatory by law. So, you can take a call depending on your requirements. According to law, you can choose only one of these plans in addition to the main Medicare policy. So, you need to put in a lot of thought and choose the right one.
Your requirements: The choice ultimately depends on the reason for your need. If you are looking for help in order to cover copayment, coinsurance as well as deductible, Plan F is the best. Basic coverage offered by Plans B through G are the same, with slight variations in each of them. Benefits of Plans A, K, L, M and N are different. So, you need to be sure of your requirement and compare the benefits of various plans before choosing the most appropriate one.
Cost: Insurance companies offer three premium plans – Attained Age, Issue Age and Community Rate policies. Attained Age policy premiums get costlier as you age. The benefit is that the premiums at the start of the policy are the lowest among the three plans. Issue Age policy premiums do not depend on you, but on the economic conditions in the country. If inflation increases, premiums increase and vice versa. So, in the long run, the trend could go either way. Community Rate policy premiums depend neither on age nor on the economy. They are subject to community limits. All beneficiaries in one community are charged same rate. Rates can either be low or high depending on the community.
You save money if you sign up for the policy during the open-enrollment period, which stretches for six months from the day you purchase Medicare B plan. Within six months, no insurer can refuse your application. Beyond this period, it is the insurer’s call. If you have preexisting illness, you will have to wait for six months after taking Plan B before enrolling in MediGap. During this period, Medicare A and B cover for your preexisting illness.
So, there are a lot of aspects that need to be taken into consideration. Make sure that you understand pros and cons of each policy before signing up for one.