People are asking if they can use a Medicare Supplement Plan to pay the Medicare Part B Premium, this is a great question. Paying both the Medicare Supplement and Part B premium can be difficult for many seniors that live on a fixed income; which is a reality for a lot of people, especially after retirement.
The national health-care insurance program known as Medicare provides members with coverage after they pay a Part B premium amount. Part B covers services such as doctors’ visits.
Unfortunately, one thing Medigap doesn’t pay for is premium costs on another plan. However, beneficiaries should have a clear understanding of how Supplement plans work with Part A and B coverage. Here’s how it works and what it costs.
Can I Use my Medicare Supplement Plan to Pay my Medicare Part B Premium
Private insurance companies offer policies such as Medigap to help cover some of the out-of-pocket expenses Original Medicare doesn’t cover. Such as copayments, deductibles, and coinsurances. Medigap works in addition to Part A and B coverage.
Certain Supplement policies may cover emergency care when traveling abroad. However, premium costs for Parts A and B are the beneficiaries responsibility. Once premium costs are paid, coverage will begin. Likewise, Medicare won’t pay for a Supplement plan. If you enroll in a Supplement plan, you must pay that plan as well as Medicare for coverage.
Across the country, 47 states have up to 10 standardized Medicare Supplement plans (A-N). Using letters to identify each plan and their different policy options, like Supplement Plan B or G.
Sometimes the terms Medicare Part B and Medigap Plan B are mistaken for the one another. These plans are different and provide separate coverage options.
For now, 3 waiver-states (Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Wisconsin) have their own plan options. For the first time since 1990, these states will need to comply with a new federal law come January 1, 2020.
Using My Medigap Plan
Supplement policies help cover expenses like deductibles, coinsurance and copayments for Parts A and B. Depending on the health condition of a patient, many visits may be necessary for treatment. In this case, the coinsurance and copayment amounts can become costly. Enrolling in a Medigap plan may offer some relief for these out-of-pocket expenses.
Costs of Part A and B deductibles are the set amount you must pay before your insurance coverage starts. In 2019, the Part A inpatient deductible is $1,364, for every benefit period. The yearly deductible for Part B coverage in 2019 is $185.
After Medicare pays its share (80% of the allowable cost of service) you’re responsible for the remaining 20% coinsurance amount. Similarly, copayments are a set cost amount that patients must pay at the time of service. Physical therapy sessions may require a $35 copayment at every visit.
Supplement plans offer additional benefits like emergency care while traveling outside the country. Although, an extra deductible amount will apply when using care outside the country.
While other Supplement plans may cover Part B excess charges from providers not accepting Medicare assignment. Part B premiums and all premiums are the beneficiary’s responsibility. Medigap policies may not cover these expenses.
Part B enrollees must pay a monthly premium before coverage will begin. This is true for beneficiaries with a Medicare Advantage plan and/or those with a stand-alone Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan.
In 2019, the standard monthly premium cost for Part B is $135.50; the exact amount may vary depending on the beneficiary’s situation.
Paying for Medigap Insurance
Supplement plans require a monthly premium payment. Costs vary by plan, coverage, location, and more. Other factors like the plan’s pricing method and medical underwriting will determine the monthly premium amount for that policy.
Part B premium payments go to the government and Medigap premium payments are sent to the insurance carrier. Payments are going to separate places and therefore they can’t be paid in one spot. Similarly, you cannot pay Supplement plan premiums through Medicare Easy Pay.
Talk with your plan directly to determine payment options and what your plan costs are. Certain payment options allow beneficiaries to save money. One example, Kathleen pays for her Medigap plan once a year using an electronic funds transfer.
If Kathleen elects to automatically withdraw the premiums from her checking account she doesn’t have to worry about missing her monthly payments and avoid gaps in coverage.
Help Paying for Medicare Part B Premium
While Supplement plans can’t help with paying Part B premium costs, other state assistance programs may be available.
If you qualify for certain assistance programs, you may find help paying for your premium. Medicare works with the state’s Medicaid programs to provide Medicare Savings Programs (MSPs).
Beneficiaries may qualify for help under one of the four MSPs in their state. The state may pay Part B premiums, and this may automatically qualify for low-cost prescription drug coverage.
Eligibility for an MSP to help pay for premiums depends on income and savings. Your income and savings amounts must be under a certain limit to be eligible; this amount varies among states.
Qualifying individuals have four kinds of MSP options, each MSP has a different income limit. Three of these programs may pay Part B premiums. Including, the Specified Low-Income Medicare Beneficiary (SLMB) program, the Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB) program, and the Qualified Individual (QI) program.
If you qualify for one of the MSPs, enrollment in Medicare Part D’s Extra Help program may be automatic. Participating members in the Extra Help program may have no premium or deductible costs for prescription drug coverage. Copayments for prescriptions may also be reduced.
Get Help Understanding Supplemental Coverage
Whether you need help finding a Medigap Supplement plan, or have questions about current policy, our agents can help! We understand that with all the Medicare terminology, things can get confusing.
One thing is certain, having the right healthcare insurance plan for coverage may save you from paying unnecessary out-of-pocket expenses. Using one of our licensed Medicare agents can help you find the best plan option for your medical needs.
If you have questions about Medicare, we have answers. Give us a call today at the number above or fill out an online rate form. Our team is happy to help at no additional cost to you!