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Do I Need Medicare Supplement Insurance?

Aug 9, 2021

Did you know Original Medicare doesn’t cover all of your health coverage expenses? Many beneficiaries are shocked to learn they are still required to pay an annual deductible and a copay or coinsurance amount on top of their monthly premium. For those living on a fixed income, these extra out-of-pocket expenses can be financially devastating, especially during unexpected health emergencies.

Fortunately, many beneficiaries find peace of mind by knowing their out of pocket expenses will be covered by enrolling in a Medicare Supplement plan.  However, some Medicare beneficiaries still struggle with the question, “Do I need Medicare Supplement insurance?” Before we answer that question, let’s take a look at what Medicare Supplement insurance is and how you can possibly benefit from it.

What is Medicare Supplement Insurance?

Medicare Supplement insurance plans, also known as Medigap plans, are standardized health plans sold by private insurance companies to help cover the gaps in coverage left behind by Original Medicare. These plans work as a “supplement” to your Original Medicare benefits (Part A and Part B). Medicare supplement plans can help pay for some of the health care costs associated with Original Medicare like copays, coinsurance, and deductibles. Some Medicare Supplement plans also provide extra benefits not covered by Medicare like coverage during foreign travel.

Since Medicare Supplement plans are offered by private insurance companies, costs can vary between carriers, so you’ll want to make sure to compare premiums. It’s also important to note, in addition to your Medigap plan premium, you also must continue to pay your Part B premium.

California and Oregon offer an annual 30 day period in which Medicare Supplement beneficiaries can switch to an equal or lesser Medigap without answering health questions.

Medicare Supplement Benefits

There are 10 standardized Medicare Supplement plans, ranging from A through N, that provide the same basic benefits in 47 states. These benefits include:

  • Nationwide coverage
  • No network restrictions
  • Predictable out of pocket expenses
  • No referrals necessary
  • Coverage for foreign travel
  • Guaranteed renewability

Medicare Supplement Eligibility and Enrollment

You are eligible to enroll in Medicare at 65. During this time you also have a one-time enrollment opportunity to enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan. The Medicare Supplement enrollment period lasts for 6 months and begins on the day you enroll in Original Medicare. During this enrollment period you are not required to answer any health questions or undergo medical underwriting. You are guaranteed coverage meaning you cannot be turned down for pre-existing medical conditions.

If you miss your Medicare Supplement enrollment opportunity, you will have to answer health questions once you decide to enroll and you can be denied coverage.

Do I Need Medicare Supplement Insurance?

When shopping for Medicare health coverage many beneficiaries wonder, “do I need Medicare supplement insurance?” The answer to that question is it depends on your unique health and financial needs.

A Medicare supplement plan may be worth it for individuals who frequently travel or live out of state part of the year. It also provides extra protection to cover the gaps in coverage left behind by Original Medicare. Out of pocket expenses can add up fast for common medical procedures leaving beneficiaries with a hefty share of the cost. Remember, under Original Medicare you are responsible for 20% of the cost of doctor services and outpatient care. If that’s a concern for you, supplemental insurance, whether through a Medigap plan or Medicare Advantage plan can provide the extra cost protection you need.

Interested in peace of mind with a Medicare Supplement Plan?

Speak with a qualified independent insurance agent to discuss your coverage options.

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