Another year has come and gone… and this year you, or your loved one, has or is going to become newly eligible for Medicare.
Maybe you’re not new to Medicare and you’re already enrolled in Medicare Parts A & B, but wasn’t aware of Medicare Supplement plans.
Then again, you could’ve been aware of these supplemental insurance policies (also known as Medigap) but didn’t feel you needed the extra coverage.
The majority of the time, Medicare beneficiaries are unaware of the out of pocket costs their left to pay after Medicare paid their portion. Many seniors are getting stuck with large medical bills they weren’t prepared for after an unexpected doctor or hospital visit.
You can protect your finances and get the health care coverage you need by being proactive and educating yourself on all your Medicare health insurance coverage options.
Let’s review the basics first, then we’ll go over the best Medigap insurance plans.
Best Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans
First, you should know that all Medicare Supplement insurance plans, or Medigap insurance coverage plans, are standardized by the government. What does this mean?
In simple terms, it means it does not matter what carrier or provider you choose to buy the plan from, the benefits will be the same regardless.
The only states that have their own regulations on their Medigap plans are Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.
Second, you should know there are 10 Medigap insurance plans, starting with letter A and ending with letter N.
Plan A has the core policy benefits that are included in all letter plans, as you go down the list of letter plans you’ll see additional benefits that are unique to those plans.
Below are the core policy benefits found in all letter plans.
Medicare Supplements Core Policy Benefits:
- If you become hospitalized, Medicare restricts the number of days they’ll cover you during your stay. All letter plans will include hospital stay coverage up to an additional 365 days after you’ve used up your Original Medicare benefits.
- There’s out of pocket costs for coinsurance and copayments required under your Medicare Part B. All letter plans will cover these costs.
- In the event you need a medical procedure that requires blood, your Medicare Part A leaves you responsible for the first 3 pints. All letter plans will pay for the first 3 pints of blood, after that your Part A will kick in to pay for the rest.
- In the event you need hospice care, Medicare Part A restricts the amount of coverage you have for inpatient respite care and outpatient drugs. All letter plans will cover these out of pocket costs Medicare leaves up to you to pay.
- In the event you need additional testing that’s not fully covered under your Medicare Part B preventive services, you’ll be left responsible for the 20% coinsurance. All letter plans will pay for this coinsurance.
These core policy benefits only include half of the benefits that are included with the other letter plans, B-N.
Since each plan has a different level of benefits, the cost varies between them. This allows all Medicare beneficiaries the opportunity to purchase Medigap insurance plans without breaking the bank.
Whether you can afford a little or a lot of coverage, there’s a letter plan for you.
Consumer Reports Best Medicare Supplemental Insurance
Medicare Supplement Plan N for is the first on our list. This plan made our top list because it has a decently low premium, and still includes a good amount of benefits.
It, of course, includes the core policy benefits listed above, including covering 100% of any coinsurance or copayment out of pocket costs that fall under your Medicare Part B.
Lower Premiums with Small Co-payments
The way they keep the premium low for Plan N is by requiring a small copayment for some office visits and emergency room visits.
The copayment for office visits is usually around $20, and the copayment for emergency room visits is usually around $50.
However, if your emergency room visit results in an inpatient admission, there won’t be any copayments required.
Medigap Plan N also has a few additional benefits. If you need skilled nursing care, your Medicare Part A only covers 100% of services up to the first 20 days.
Beginning day 21 thru day 100, you’re responsible for coinsurance that can cost over $160 per day.
After day 100… you’re responsible for all costs incurred during your stay. With Plan N, and coinsurance will be 100% covered starting day 21.
Medicare Part A has a deductible that cost beneficiaries over $1,300 each year, Plan N will cover it.
In addition, if you travel outside the United States, this letter plan will cover any foreign travel emergency care needed up to your plan limits.
Medigap Plan G for is second on our list. Plan G includes the same benefits as Plan N, except it doesn’t require any copayments for office visits or emergency room visits.
Like Plan N, it also covers any Skilled Nursing Care Facility coinsurance, your Medicare Part A deductible, and foreign travel emergency care.
Coverage for Excess Charges
This letter plan made our list because, in addition to the above benefits, it’s one of the two-letter plans that cover any Medicare Part B excess charges.
Medicare Part B excess charges are when a doctor who accepts Medicare patients charges above what Medicare has approved for that service or treatment.
Your doctor legally can only charge up to 15% more then the amount Medicare has approved. Without a supplement plan that covers excess charges, you’re responsible for those additional charges as well as any applicable copayments and deductibles.
Plan G includes all the optional benefits available within the 10 letter plans, except for one. Plan G does not cover your Medicare Part B deductible. That’s where our best letter plan steps in.
Please note, Plan G and Part G are the same exact thing.
Medicare Supplement Plan F is third on our list. Plan F checks off all the boxes on the Medicare Supplement plan chart.
It includes all the benefits found in Plan G coverage. As stated above, Plan G is one of two plans that cover Medicare Part B excess charges, Plan F is the other one.
The additional benefit that Plan F includes, which is a big one, is coverage for your Medicare Part B deductible.
Extra Financial Security
Yes, with better benefits comes higher premiums, but if the premiums fall within your budget it’s well worth it given the extra financial security you’ll have.
If Plan F is out of your price range, there’s a High Deductible coverage version option that has a much lower premium than could very well fit into your budget.
Plan F High Deductible
With Medicare Supplement High Deductible Plan F, you’re responsible for all out of pocket costs up to your annual deductible amount.
Because of this high deductible, your monthly premium is much lower and more affordable. That’s why Medigap Plan F High Deductible is one of the most popular choices among Medicare beneficiaries.
Once you meet your plans deductible amount, your benefits will kick in. The benefits are the exact same as the regular Plan F. The deductible for Medicare Plan F High Deductible in 2019 is $2,300.
How to Find the Best Medigap Insurance Plans
To find the right Medicare Supplement insurance coverage plan, think about what you can afford to pay in premiums. As well as your projected healthcare costs. There is no one-size-fits-all answer. There are, however, two things to keep in mind:
- Although the plans are standard, the monthly premiums are not. Different health insurance companies may charge different rates for the exact same plan. Some types of plans will get more expensive as you age. That means you can save money by shopping around.
- It’s wise to choose carefully and enroll during the six-month open enrollment period. It starts with the first month you are 65 or older and enrolled in Medicare Part B. If you sign up for a plan during this time, you can’t be turned away. You also can’t be charged more money because of your health. If you wait or change plans, your coverage will be medically underwritten. Meaning you could face higher premiums or be turned down altogether because of health conditions.
- If you have an advantage plan, you cannot enroll in a Medigap insurance plan until you dis-enroll from the advantage plan.
Compare the Best Medicare Supplement Plans & Rates Online
Now that you’ve educated yourself on the best Medicare Supplement plans, the next step is to compare rates.
Also, when you sign up through us, you get limitless customer support from our Client Care Team. If you have trouble with claims, they’re there to help you.
We know that shopping rates can be overwhelming, we can simplify the process for you.
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