Medicare Supplement Plans are a Big Help

Medicare as we all know is a federal insurance provided to people age 65 and older, and to people with disabilities that are younger than 65. While Medicare can cover many things, there are still a lot of out-of-pocket expenses that are difficult to make on a fixed income. Medicare Supplement Insurance, sometimes referred to as Medigap or Medicare Supplemental Insurance, helps to fill in those gaps by covering what Medicare doesn’t.

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The two main parts of Medicare are Part A and Part B. Part A is for hospice care, overnight hospital stays and home health care and Part B covers doctor’s visits and outpatient hospital visits.

These supplement plans are offered by private insurance companies and are approved by state and federal government. They are standardized plans. These plans can cover some of the cost of the copayments and deductibles that aren’t covered by Medicare. Plans offer policies A-L (some states do not have all policies available) and must follow state and federal laws. They must also be labeled as Medicare supplemental insurance.

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There are three different ways to determine premium costs for a supplement policy. The first is called attained age. This usually is the lowest premium for people who are 65. These premiums increase with age, usually every three to five years. They can be very high for people who are in the 80’s or 90’s. With issue-age, the premium is based on the age of the individual at the time they purchase the plan. They do not increase with age, and only go up with the inflation adjustments of Medicare. The third way to determine the premium is called community-rated. This means everyone in the same geographic area, regardless of their age, will pay the same premiums. It’s a good idea to buy supplement insurance within six months of becoming eligible for Part B Medicare. Insurers must accept anyone in this time-frame, even if they have a pre-existing health condition. A Medicare Supplement Plan will certainly help to cover the costs that Medicare doesn’t. It’s a good idea to shop around and compare the co-pays and premiums. These plans, by law, must offer the same benefits, so it doesn’t make sense to pay more for a certain company’s plan. Most noticeably is the flexibility of a plan to adapt to life’s ups and downs and, take on extra expense. One has to be covered all the way.


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