When the time comes for you to choose a Medigap policy, it’s wise not to take the decision lightly. An uninformed choice could lead to future financial woes and roadblocks from obtaining a better plan for your health needs. In the world of Medicare, it’s easy to get lost in jargon, plan pricing, and available coverages. We’re here with the information you need to know to make an educated decision when choosing a Medigap policy in 2022.
How Do I Choose a Medigap Policy?
When choosing a Medigap policy, it’s important to know what your healthcare needs are as well as what your budget is, both now and in the future. Once you determine what coverage is important to you, and set your healthcare budget, you can begin the process of choosing the best Medigap plan for you.
Before you choose a Medigap policy, you must first enroll in Original Medicare, consisting of Part A (inpatient/hospital coverage) and Part B (outpatient/medical coverage). It’s wise to have Part D, as prescription drug coverage isn’t included in Original Medicare or Medigap policies.
If you’re presently enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, you’ll need to drop it before choosing your Medigap plan. If you and your spouse both plan to enroll in a Medigap plan, each of you must obtain a separate policy. When you have a Medigap policy, you must pay monthly premiums for both Part B and your Medigap. All plans are subject to renewal.
Consider Your Health Needs When Choosing a Medigap Policy
When choosing a Medigap plan, consider your future health as well as your current health. Your family health history can provide some insight into the future of your health. If there is a history of cancer in your family, it’s especially crucial to enroll in a Medigap plan as soon as you’re eligible.
Without a Medigap plan, you’re responsible for paying the 20% share of outpatient hospital costs left uncovered by Part A. You’ll also need to pick up the 20% share of doctor visit costs left uncovered by Part B.
These leftover costs are the tip of the iceberg of health care benefits provided by Medigap plans. Most Medigap plans cover the majority of the total cost of your first three pints of blood, Part A hospice care coinsurance or copay, and skilled nursing facility care coinsurance.
If you travel internationally, you’ll want a policy that covers foreign emergency travel. Medicare alone doesn’t include this. However, almost all of the Medigap plan options do. The only exceptions are Plan A and Plan B, which offer the most basic benefits.
You might think basic health coverage is sufficient because you’re not currently struggling with any health issues. Remember that it’s better to prepare for health struggles than to leave them uncovered if they appear later in life.
Without proper coverage, health care costs can set you back financially. Your golden years are a time for making memories with your family. You worked hard and saved up so you can all enjoy life together. A Medigap plan can help you do this, unburdened by seemingly endless medical bills.
Consider Your Budget Needs When Choosing a Medigap Policy
One of your top concerns when shopping around for a Medigap policy is likely to be the price. Multiple factors impact your Medigap premium rate. One of these factors is the letter plan you select. The premiums for plans with more coverage are higher than those with less.
While Plan F and Plan G offer the most coverage, they also require a higher average Medicare Supplement cost compared to the other plans. Given this information, consider your budget needs and health needs to help find the right balance.
Whether your state allows Part B excess charges will be a consideration to make when choosing a plan. They’re only covered by Plan F, Plan G, and their high deductible versions. It’s also important to note that just because your state allows excess charges doesn’t mean your doctor will charge them.
Plan K, Plan L, and Plan M involve cost-sharing for certain benefits. Therefore, the monthly premiums for these plans are lower. However, you’ll have more out-of-pocket costs later, mainly in the form of copays and deductibles.
Lastly, keep in mind that your premiums will gradually increase every year. The increases are determined by the pricing method used by the carrier.
What is the Difference Between Standard and Preferred Medigap Plans?
A preferred Medigap plan is when you choose to enroll in a policy during an enrollment period such as your Medigap Open Enrollment Period or a Special Enrollment Period. When you enroll outside an enrollment period, it’s referred to as a standard Medigap plan. Unlike Medicare parts, Medigap plans do not have annual enrollment periods.
Considering your current and future health and budget needs when choosing a Medigap plan is a balancing act. More coverage tends to mean higher premiums. Less coverage could potentially leave you paying even higher costs out-of-pocket. Becoming informed about Medigap policies and considering your personal needs is the key to finding the best plan for you.
How to Choose a Medigap Policy in 2022
When you decide you're ready for Medigap coverage, we'll be here to help select the right plan for you. To speak with an agent licensed in your state, call the phone number above. Another way to receive a free, no-obligation Medigap premium rate comparison is to fill out our online rate form. An agent licensed in your state will reach out to you for the information we need to find a Medigap plan to fit your needs.