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Medicare Supplement Insurance Could Be Your Secret Sauce

Every good cook knows a pantry full of staple ingredients is essential for throwing together an easy meal. But the special ingredients give a meal its flavor.

When it comes to Original Medicare, Medicare Supplement Insurance can be that special extra ingredient.

How Supplement Insurance Fills the Gaps

Under Original Medicare, Part A (hospital insurance) helps cover inpatient hospital and inpatient care in a skilled nursing facility. Also includes hospice care, home health care, and inpatient care in a religious non-medical health care institution.

Medicare Part B (medical insurance) helps cover medically necessary doctor services, outpatient care, home health services, durable medical equipment, mental health services, and other medical services. Part B also covers many preventive services.

Original Medicare pays for much, but not all, of the cost for covered health care services and supplies. So, you’ll have other health care costs. That’s where Medicare Supplement Insurance—also known as Medigap—comes in. Medigap policies are sold by private insurance companies. They can help pay some of the remaining health care costs for covered services and supplies, such as copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles. Policies must follow federal and state laws. And must be clearly identified as “Medicare Supplement Insurance.”

It’s important to compare different carrier’s Medigap policies. Medigap offers 10 different plan options with letter names from A to N. Premiums vary between policies for the same coverage. Costs vary depending on your age and when you join. Some states limit Medigap premium costs. You’ll want to check which plans are available in your state. You should also see how plans are rated. Rating agencies look at how likely it is each insurance company can pay your claims.

Depending on the Medigap policy, it can cover, sometimes up to 100%:

  • Part A coinsurance and hospital costs
  • Part B copays/coinsurance
  • Blood (first 3 pints)
  • Part A hospice care copays/coinsurance
  • Skilled nursing facility care coinsurance
  • Part A deductible
  • Part B deductible (not available to new Medicare enrollees, unless you were eligible before Jan. 1, 2020)
  • Part B excess charges
  • Foreign travel emergency (up to plan limits)

The Right Ingredient at the Right Time

If you have Original Medicare and are interested in a Medigap policy, it’s best to apply during the six-month Medigap Open Enrollment Period. It starts when you have Medicare Parts A and B and you’re 65 or older.

If you buy during your Medigap Open Enrollment, premiums tend to be lower. It’s also guaranteed you can buy any policy available in your state, even if you have health problems. After this time, premiums may be higher. Or you may not meet the medical underwriting requirements because of certain health conditions.

Medicare Advantage Plans with Additional Benefits

You can’t buy Medigap if you choose Medicare Advantage. But Medicare Advantage offers plans with extra benefits.

Some items or services not covered by Original Medicare:

  • Dental care
  • Vision care
  • Hearing aids
  • Gym memberships

People with chronic illnesses are also eligible for extra benefits specific to their illnesses. Benefits may include transportation, meal delivery, or home air cleaners.

The Coverage You Need

Every person’s health care needs are different. The right basic coverage gives you a great start. Adding in a Medicap policy or a Medicare Advantage plan with extra benefits increases your health care. Our licensed insurance agents help you decide on the coverage that’s right — just for you.

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MR513 7/2022