What Are Medigap Plans?
Senior medical insurance can be confusing. There are lots of terms to learn, a number of plans to pick from and countless insurance companies to deal with. It is important that you understand what options are available to you and that you know whether it is best to choose one insurance plan over another. In order to help you do that, we want to answer the question: “What are Medigap plans?”.
These are medical insurance plans that fill in gaps left in your coverage by the basic Medicare plan. In other words, basic Medicare will cover you for a lot of expenses that you would have to pay your doctor or hospital, but it won’t cover everything. In fact, it creates some expenses that you would not have had to pay before you signed up for it.
For instance, Original Medicare pays for a lot of your Medicare Part A costs, but it won’t cover the Part A deductible, the Part A copayment and the Part A hospice coinsurance payment. These are all expenses you would have to pay out of your own pockets when they are due if you don’t have a Medigap plan. Those plans target expenses either created by Medicare’s basic plan or ones that Medicare covers only partially.
An example of something that Medicare covers only part of the way would be the blood you use throughout the year. If you have a basic Medicare plan, then you get covered for some of the blood you use, but that can run out over the course of the year. Medigap plans can step in and cover you for as much as three more pints of blood every year.
Medigap is something that you purchase from a private insurance company. It’s not sold by Medicare. It consists of 10 different coverage plans, and you can pick only one of them to provide you with the appropriate coverage. You need to choose carefully, because you don’t want to regret your choice later and not be able to change it. Once you are signed up for one of these plans, it is very difficult to change it to something else before the term of your current plan is over. So, take your time in choosing the most suitable plan.
Medigap plans can save you money, but only if you choose the best one for your situation.
What Medigap Plans Cover
There are only certain expenses that these plans will cover. One of the plans, Plan F, will cover everything that all the other plans cover combined. However, that coverage comes with quite a price tag, and Plan F is by far the most expensive plan. It is so expensive that many industry experts advise consumers against ever signing up for it, since there are often less pricey and more economical options.
We talked about how Medigap plans can cover you for blood use, but there are lots more expenses these plans could cover. They can take care of the Part A hospice coinsurance charge, as well as the skilled nursing care coinsurance. They can also provide coverage for deductibles from Medicare parts A and B, as well and copayments from parts A and B.
On top of all that, Medigap plans can take care of Part B excess charges and foreign travel exchange. So, what are Medigap plans? They are plans that cover gaps in your medical insurance, and they can fill quite a few gaps. They come in a wide range of coverage levels, though, so you could go with something that only covers a couple of those things we mentioned or that covers them only partially. Or you could get a plan that covers all of those things as much as possible.
How to Get a Medigap Plan
Medigap plans are commonly known as Medicare Supplements, but they are not sold by Medicare at all. You have to go to private insurance companies to get these plans. Only companies that have been approved by Medicare can sell the Medigap plans, and even then they have to abide by Medicare rules. They cannot change the coverage on any of these plans, nor can they design their own versions of the plans. They also have to offer Plan F, if they offer any Supplement plans.
The insurance companies are allowed to set the prices as they see fit. They can make their rates competitive with other options out there, or they can just charge whatever they feel their plans are worth. The cost of the plans can change whenever the insurance companies see fit to do so, and you will need to pay attention to that as you try to find the right plan for yourself. Keep track of where the prices are going to ensure that you are still picking the best plan for your needs.
To get one of the Medigap plans, you need to be at least 65 years old. If you are younger, you may still qualify of them, but you would have to have a qualifying medical condition. You can see a Medicare insurance agent about whether your medical conditions make your eligible for Medigap plans before you reach age 65.
It is best to apply for these plans within six months of turning 65, as that is what is known as Open Enrollment. During this time, you are guaranteed to be approved for any Supplement plan you choose. You also get the best prices on the plan, and your pre existing medical conditions cannot be factored into the price you are charged.
We hope we have answered any questions you may have about what are Medigap plans, and if you need anymore information, please feel free to ask us. We want you to be able to choose the best plan for your needs, and we certainly hope that this article gave you the information you needed to do that.