How do you find the most suitable medical coverage for you? Do you just go by what other people chose most often or what industry experts have labeled the best plans? You want to be careful of doing either of those, and we will show you why it takes some effort to determine the best Medigap plans for any individual. We will also look in depth at Medigap plans and what they are covering for you, as well as show you how you can sign up for one.
What are Medigap Plans
Medigap plans are another name for Medicare Supplements. These are plans that are designed to add overage onto the Original Medicare plan. You have to have that Original Medicare plan in order to use a Medigap plan. You can’t just sign up for the Medigap plan on its own.
You can sign up for both Medigap and Original Medicare at the same time, if you want to. There may be another medical insurance plan you have that overlaps with Medigap, and if that is the case, then you will have to drop one of those. Medicare Advantage plans will intersect with the coverage of a Medigap plan, so you can’t be signed up for one of those and a Medigap plan at the same time. Look at any other coverage you may have and compare it to what Medicare is covering for you to see if you may need to get rid of one of your plans in order to sign up for Medigap.
Medigap plans are diverse, and there are ten of them in all, with some variations on some of them being offered as well. No insurance company is going to offer you all ten of them, so you’ll have to pick and choose which plan you want and then find a company willing to sell it to you at a good price.
The plans all cover different stuff. Sometimes they overlap with one another, but they all differ in some way form or another. Some offer low coverage and others will provide you with lots of coverage. Because they overlap, you will only be able to sign up for one of them at a time.
Even though their coverage is different, they all get their coverage from the same set of items. We are going to list those for you here so that you have a good idea of what you could possibly be covered for. Please note that Medicare decides what the plans cover, and it may make changes to plan coverage in time, so pay attention to any changes before you sign up for one of these plans.
The coverage can include Medicare Part A’s coinsurance and Medicare Part B’s coinsurance. This copayment is due each time you go to a medical facility and receive Part A or Part B service, respectively. You have to make this payment, unless it is covered by a Medigap plan.
The deductibles for Part A and Part B services can be covered as well. The Part A deductible is quite large and is covered by a lot other different Medigap plans. The Part B one is much smaller, and only a couple of the plans will cover it for you. You may not need it covered, especially if you pay this $183 charge only a few times per year. It may be cheaper to just go with a lower brokerage plan that does not include Part B deductible coverage than to pay to have it covered by signing up for a very expensive plan.
You can be covered for Medicare Part B excess charges as well, though only a couple of the Medigap plans will cover you for that. This is an expense you only have to pay if you receive Part B services at a medical facility that doesn’t accept Medicare coverage fully. Because it isn’t very common, most of the Medigap plans don’t bother to cover it.
You can be covered as well for foreign emergency medical transport. This item of coverage won’t take care of the entire cost of being transported to a medical facility outside of the US borders, but it will cover you up to 80% for each incident. You will need to pay a deductible, if this item of coverage is included in your Medigap plan.
Another medical expense that Medigap plans could cover for you is for three pints of blood each year. You already receive some coverage for this expense, if you have Medicare Original, but this supplemental coverage from Medicare adds three more pints onto whatever Original Medicare provides for you. It does not overlap in any way, and that is true of all the supplemental coverage items included in Medigap plans.
Your hospice care coinsurance expense can be covered too, which you would otherwise have to pay for every incident of hospice care.
Your skilled nursing care coinsurance costs can be covered also.
These are the items of supplemental coverage that Medigap plans have to offer you. Most plans will offer only some of them and only one plan, Plan F, will cover everything we just mentioned.
Who Sells Medigap?
Medigap plans are not sold by Medicare at all, but rather independent insurance companies offer these. There are lots of companies that sell them, and that means that you are spoiled for choice when it comes to where you choose to buy your coverage from. You could go with one of many different insurance providers that operate in your area, but you do want to make sure that you compare the prices and try to find the lowest-priced version of the plan that covers you the best.
You see, each insurance company gets to set its rates, and those rates can change from time to time. However, the coverage offered under each plan does not change with the rates. The coverage is determined by Medicare, and any insurance company selling a Medigap plan has to abide by Medicare’s coverage rules for each of its plans.
The best Medigap plans are available from most of the companies we are going to list here. We are going to touch on a few of a better company, but that doesn’t mean that they are your only choices. Be sure to compare as many prices as you can from these and more companies to get the best deal.
One of the largest companies to offer senior medical insurance, Humana has the market cornered on healthy living services for its customers. It goes above and beyond to ensure its customers have great health plans and access to resources that enable them to live well.
The has been the choice for seniors for many years, as these company is renown not only for its medical insurance options but also for its many member benefits. Signing up for an AARP plan gives you access to all sorts of services that other companies are not offering. Unlike the other companies we are covering here, AARP only offers its services and plans to seniors.
Another very large insurance company with a lot of options, Cigna is most notable for its online services. It offers its customers many tools that can help them track their accounts, find out what coverage they have and make changes on the go.
This company is unique in that its many offices scattered around the United States all operate separately from one another, offering a wide range of services, prices and plans. There is likely a BCBS office near you.
How Do You Apply for Medigap?
If you want one of the better Medigap plans out there, then you will have to apply at the right time. You can apply during Open Enrollment, which starts on October 15th and goes up until December 7th. This is the best time by far to enroll in a Medigap plan or even apply for one. During this time, your approval for any plan you apply for is guaranteed. You are also able to get the best rates, since your preexisting medical conditions cannot be taken into account as insurance companies determine what your rates should be. They can’t charge you more because you are in poor health, so you would definitely benefit from trying to get a plan during this time. Many insurance companies won’t even sell you a Medigap plan outside of One Enrollment.
You have to put your application in directly to the insurance company that you want the plan from. So, if you want a Mutual of Omaha plan, then you should apply at their website. They have a form that you can fill out, and once you are approved, you will just need to sign the agreement plan and start making payments. Once you do that, you can begin to receive coverage.
In order to apply, you need to be 65 or older. There are some exceptions to that age rule, but they really only apply to people who have a disability or who suffer from kidney disease.
What Are the Best Medigap Plans?
Now, let’s look at the best plans Medigap has to offer and that are sold through insurance companies. We need to tell you that there isn’t a single best plan. You have to determine which plan of those being offered is best for you. That’s not something that someone else can determine for you. Only you know what your coverage needs are and what you can afford.
That being said, there are some Medigap plans that offer a lot of value and that may be the best choices for a large percentage of seniors. We are going to look at a few of those.
This is the full coverage plan that a lot of seniors springing for. If you remember all the items of coverage we listed earlier, then you can just apply them all to Plan F. This is the only plan to cover all of them in full, and because of its robust coverage, it is very popular, but many seniors are starting to realize that it may be too expensive and may be covering items that are cheaper for them to pay for themselves.
High Deductible Plan F
The coverage on this one is exactly the same as Plan F. The difference lies in the cost. This high deductible plan has a lower premium than regular Plan F, which means that you pay less per month for it. The drawback is that you pay a much higher deductible for this one than the regular plan.
This one covers nearly as much as Plan F, but of course it is not a full coverage plan. Instead, it covers everything we listed above except for the Medicare Part B deductible. As we mentioned earlier, that’s only a $183 expense, so it may be better to go with this plan and pay that cost out of pocket than to pay for the more expensive Plan F. That’s what a lot of seniors are finding out, and they have made Plan G the most popular plan right now.
This is another high coverage plan that nearly covers everything on the Medicare Supplement list of coverage items that we talked about earlier. However, it asks you to pay for the Medicare Part B deductible on your own. Along with that, you will have to pay for the Part B excess charges if they ever come up, and you will have to cover some small copayments from time to time.
These are what are often considered to be the best Medigap plans out there. There are other plans as well, and none of these may be right for you. It’s something you have to decide on your own, but you should look at all of them and what they are offering to determine which one is a good pick for your situation. Take your time and ensure that you are choosing to your benefit.
How to Save Money on Medigap
The best plan is the one that covers you well and yet is still affordable for you. Once you look through all the plans there are, you can figure out which one is right for you. Then you simply need to find a low-priced version of that plan.
In order to do that, you need to compare the prices on the same plan across multiple insurance companies. You can visit price comparison websites to use free tools that will search for the plans for you and provide you with a number of free quotes for you to compare. Be sure to factor in the customer service and reputation of the company as well, as those may be important to you later on.
If you compare the plans this way, then you can save money and time and find the most suitable plan at the best price. The bet Medigap plans are the ones that will save you the most money, after all, so you should spend some time comparing your options to one another.