Imagine you are about to go on Medicare, and your mail box and phone are being inundated with eager sales representatives and insurers wanting you to sign up with them. So, you want to outsmart them and go online and try to wade through miles of information about Medicare-Medigap- plans. You have good intentions but give in and go to a website that promises multiple quotes from different carriers and agents. Now you feel in control and you have your game face on. You fill out the form and push that magic button.
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Well, the phone rings and the agent says hello, my name is Joe agent and I see you went online to see about Medicare supplemental insurance. You and the agent have a wonderful conversation and you begin to realize that this is going to be simple. But wait, another agent calls and states his coverage is with a national company and you should go with them, because they have a very good rating and you can rely on them. Hmmmm, seems like he is right. Yea, forget about the recent bank meltdown and the high rolling investment banks on Wall Street.
Yes, having a good rating is great, but you must understand that all plans are the same regardless of insurer. They are standardized by the government in 1966, and was first administered by the Social Security Administration. In 1977 the Medicare program was created to Health Care Financing Administration-HFCA. Part A benefits are in four parts and it covers hospital and impatient hospital care, extended care, home health services, and hospice care for those terminally ill. If you pad into the social security system, and meet the minimum quarters, then this is axiomatic for you. Part B is voluntary and you have to pay a monthly fee to receive this service. It covers medical insurance for physicians’ fees, outpatient services, and tests and other medical services. Part C is the Medicare advantage plans and these plans are backed monetarily by the government and offer extra benefits-vision and dental. They are highly subsidized by Uncle Sam. Part D covers your prescriptions and is voluntary again.
Now, what the government does not cover, you can get a Medicare supplemental plan to cover the gaps in Part A and B. There are many websites out there that will explain this, and you will get a brochure in the mail explaining what is covered and what is not by the Social Security Administration.