Even though you can find plenty of official Medicare Supplement plans, the entire system can be confusing. Traditional Medicare consists of Part A (Hospital) and Part B (Medical). Most people get Part A for free and pay a Part B premium around $100-$200 per month. This premium can change from year to year and is usually withdrawn from social security payments before they are deposited. Even though traditional Medicare is a great safety net for American seniors and disabled people, it still leaves beneficiaries vulnerable to lots of potential out-of-pocket costs.
Medicare Supplement plans, sometimes called Medigap plans, fill in the gaps to cover some of the things that Medicare does not completely cover. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation (page 8), about a quarter of beneficiaries buy Medicare Supplement plans to control their expenses. Others may just rely upon traditional Medicare alone or join a Medicare Advantage plan.
Compare Medicare Supplement Plan Quotes Online
To learn more, you can use our online Medicare Supplement plan quote form to find supplemental quotes applicable to your are, Medicare Advantage, and prescription coverage. Just select your state to begin.
How Medicare Works: Potential Out-Of-Pocket Costs with Original Medicare
These out-of-pocket costs are subject to change, but this is an example of some of the largest things that beneficiaries may have to pay for under traditional Medicare currently:
- Hospital inpatient deductible: $1,316 per period
- Medicare Part B Annual Deductible for 2018: $183.00
- Additional days inpatient deductibles: Days 61-90: $329 per day; Days 91 and beyond: $658 per day; After lifetime reserve days: Entire bill
- Most doctor services: You pay 20%, and Medicare pays 80%.
How Do Medicare Supplement Plans Work?
Private insurance companies sell Medigap plans, and they help protect beneficiaries against these expenses. Unlike Medicare Advantage, sometimes called Part C, these supplements work with Part A and B to provide more robust coverage. Beneficiaries need to have Part A and B to enroll in either Part C or a Medicare Supplement plan, but beneficiaries never enroll in both Medicare Advantage and a Medicare Supplement plan. It is always one or the other.
To understand how Medicare Supplement plans works, it might be helpful to illustrate a few of these plan levels:
- Plan A: Along with Plan B, Plan A is thought of as a basic level of coverage. Don’t confuse these plans with Part A and B or traditional Medicare.
- Plan C: This is often thought of as the level of the most robust benefits and slightly higher premiums. This is NOT the same as Part C or Medicare Advantage.
- Plan D: There is no Plan D, and be careful not to confuse this with Medicare Part D prescription coverage.
- Plan F and Plan G: These two options provide protection against rising costs by covering excess charges (when providers charge more than Medicare allows). There is also a high-deductible Plan F with cheaper rates than regular F.
Typically, the premiums will be higher for the levels that provide more coverage. For example, Plan A is usually more affordable than Plan C.
Medicare Supplement Plans and Medical Underwriting
Also, during some times, beneficiaries have guaranteed enrollment periods when they can sign up with no health questions or other medical underwritings. The most common example is when beneficiaries first become eligible for Medicare. If either an Advantage or Medicare supplement company pulls out of a service area, there may be another of these periods. At other times, beneficiaries may have to answer health questions and could get declined or charged more.
How Medicare Advantage Plans Work
Because beneficiaries can find Advantage plans with little or even no additional monthly premiums, these replacements for original Medicare have attracted many seniors who need to watch their budgets. Also, Advantage plans often come with bundled Medicare Part D, and you always need to buy a separate prescription plan with a Medicare Supplement plan. With Advantage, beneficiaries use their private insurer card instead of their Medicare card.
However, some beneficiaries believe that supplements reduce out-of-pocket costs more, are more stable from year to year, and free them from worrying about HMO or PPO networks. In any case, actuaries still show growth in enrollment in Medicare Supplement plans from major insurers.
Find the Best Medicare Supplement Plans
Even though levels of coverage will impact premiums, it is also important to realize that insurers compete on price, so it is a good idea to shop around. These are some of the largest private insurers that offer Medicare Supplement plans today:
- AARP Medicare Supplement Plans
- Humana Medicare plans
- Blue Cross Blue Shield
- Aetna Medigap Plans
- Cigna Medicare Supplements Plans
- Bankers Life
- Mutual of Omaha Medicare Supplement Plans
- Gerber Life
Now that you understand how Medigap plans works, you can compare premiums and coverage to find the best option for you. Just enter your basic information to begin your quote. Our agents will be happy to help explain your options as well as compare several quotes from the top Medigap companies; this will make sure you are getting the best plan for your needs.