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Learning About Medicare Supplement Plans

As you prepare for the next chapter of your journey, having a flexible and reliable health plan with the benefits you value is more important than ever. Whether you need medical care while traveling, you prefer to connect with your doctor in the comfort of home, or you want the flexibility to see any medical doctor or specialist that accepts Medicare, a Medicare Supplement plan may be just what you need. But, before we dive into the benefits a plan like this can offer, let’s review exactly what a Medicare Supplement plan is, and how it differs from other Medicare coverage options.


Medicare Eligibility

As you approach age 65, you may notice an increased amount of information landing in your mailbox about Medicare coverage options and your eligibility. That’s because it’s important you sign up for Medicare before you turn 65 to ensure you have the health coverage you need at a time when it matters most. Plus, enrolling when you’re first eligible will help you avoid paying late fees due to late enrollment. So, take a look at the information as it comes in so you have the information you need to help you choose the Medicare plan that’s right for you when it’s time.


When most people turn 65, they’re eligible for Original Medicare, which is a fee-for-service, federally managed health plan that provides eligible individuals with coverage for and access to doctors, hospitals or other health care providers that accept Medicare. Original Medicare includes two parts: Part A (Hospital Insurance), which covers services like skilled nursing facility or inpatient hospital care, and Part B (Medical Insurance), which helps pay for services like that of doctors/other health care providers, outpatient care, or durable medical equipment. While most people are automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A, each person must sign-up for Part B.


Original Medicare May not be Enough

A Medicare Supplement plan (also known as Medigap) can help cover the health care costs not covered by Original Medicare, including some copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles. Medicare Supplement plans ensure you have the long-term health coverage you need and can help save you money.


Why should I choose a Medicare Supplement plan?

With a Medicare Supplement plan, Medicare pays its portion of your healthcare costs first, and then your Medicare Supplement policy pays a portion, helping to lower your out-of-pocket costs.


Medigap coverage may be right for you if:

  • You are seeking treatment or care when traveling out of state

  • You want to seek treatment from a Medicare-approved provider of your choice

  • You want help paying for the healthcare costs Original Medicare doesn't cover, like deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance


Difference Between a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) and a Medicare Advantage Plan

Medicare Advantage plans are sold by private insurance companies to combine the benefits of Original Medicare with other benefits, like prescription drug coverage. Medicare Advantage plans may have more restricted provider networks, depending on the plan. A person with this type of plan may pay a premium, copayments, and a deductible.


In contrast, Medicare Supplement plans are accepted by any medical provider that accepts Medicare, and help cover coinsurance, copayment, and deductible expenses. Though Medicare Supplement plans don’t include prescription drug coverage, you can protect your savings from the high cost of prescriptions by complementing your supplement coverage with a standalone prescription drug plan. You can even add a vision or dental plan as well, addressing all of your health care needs in one place.


How do I get a Medicare Supplement plan?

When considering a Medicare Supplement plan, keep in mind…

  • You must have Medicare parts A and B before purchasing a Medicare Supplement plan

  • Medicare Supplement plans and Medicare Advantage plans are not the same thing:

  • Medicare Supplement plans "supplement" your Original Medicare coverage

  • Medicare Advantage plans replace your Original Medicare coverage

  • You cannot have both a Medicare Supplement plan and a Medicare Advantage plan at the same time

  • Medicare Supplement plans cover only one individual at a time


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