Medicare Supplement Insurance
2014 Medicare and Medigap Updates
Medicare Supplement Insurance
...Medicare supplement insurance is also known as Medigap insurance and is a private policy sold to supplement the gap in the Original Medicare Plan coverage. The additional insurance is designed to pay for the healthcare costs not covered by Medicare. If you need your healthcare costs paying and you have Medicare, plus a Medigap insurance policy, they will both share the costs.
Because Medicare supplement insurance is sold by private insurance companies, the costs will vary between providers. All insurance companies have to provide the same specific benefits. These standardized policies are designed to be consumer friendly and ideal for easy comparison. Please note, however, in Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, Medigap policies are standardized differently. For your protection, Medigap policies are also designed to follow Federal and State Law.
There are twelve standardized insurance policies available to those requiring supplementary Medicare insurance. These are Medigap Plans A – L. Each plan has different benefits, both basic and extra. The benefits in each plan are identical irrespective of which insurance company is selling them.
New laws have recently come into effect that change plans with an effective date on or after June 1st 2010. These changes are designed to give you a choice in healthcare coverage to fill the gaps in Original Medicare polices. Some plans will no longer be sold and others have important changes that require you to pay some of the costs, but you will be charged a lower premium as a result.
In order to purchase a Medicare supplement policy you must already have Medicare Part A and Part B. You will need to pay the Medicare Part B premium on a monthly basis, plus a premium to the insurance company for a supplementary policy. Each person will require their own individual policy as the supplementary insurance is only designed to cover healthcare costs for you alone—it will not cover costs for a spouse or other family member.
Medigap insurance policies do not cover long-term, eye or dental care, eye glasses, and private sector nursing care. The types of coverage that are not part of the Medical supplement insurance include Medicare Prescription Drug Plans (Part D), Medicare Advantage Plans (Part C), and Medicaid.
Once you are certain that you need Medicare supplement insurance it is very important to seriously think about your current and potential future health requirements as you might not be able to switch to another policy later. Check out all the benefits for each policy before you decide which policy is the most suitable for you.
The next step is to find out which insurance companies in your State sell Medicare supplement insurance. The Medicare website is the best place to start, but you can also ring the Medicare helpline for further information if you want to speak to a representative. If you want to check out the reputation of the company you are considering, the State Insurance Department is a good place to start as they keep records of any complaints against insurance companies.
Give your final short-list of companies a call to compare costs before making your decision, but beware of any companies who misrepresent their policies just to get you to buy! A good company will be certain you understand exactly what type of policy you are purchasing and what it covers and does not cover.