Medicare Supplement plans get more are not part of the original Medicare program, but are supplementary to it. Each month a portion of your Medicare is paid to you, in the form of a Medicare Supplement. This amount, usually around 80 percent, is called a pre-tax income benefit. Most Medicare Supplement plans are not medical insurance programs. They are intended to fill in the gaps left when Medicare does not provide medical coverage.
In 47 states, there are 12 different standardized Medicare Supplement plans denoted by the symbols A through J (plans A, B, C, D, E, and F are the most common). The private insurance providers offering these plans are required to sell at least Plan A; however, they are not required to provide all of the available Medicare Supplement plans. Medicare Part D and Plan F are Medicare prescription drugs that are not covered by Medicare Part A. For those seniors who need both Medicare Part A and Part D, they are usually able to get coverage for two of these programs. However, if they don’t, they will have to pay out-of-pocket costs for the extra coverage.
Medicare supplement plans can be tailored to meet a variety of needs. Plans are available to help pay for routine doctor visits, dental care, eye glasses or contact lenses, hospital stays, hospital insurance, disability-related expenses, disability income, Medicare Part A, and Medicare Part B. Depending on the needs of the applicant, he or she may also qualify for additional benefits, such as assistance with groceries, gasoline, home equity loans, and some adult daycare. Sometimes this additional help pay out-of-pocket costs, so applicants may need to include this income information when applying for their Medicare Supplement plan.
Some of the additional benefits that may pay out-of-pocket expenses are referred to as premium credits or deductible savings. Some companies have standardized Medicare supplement insurance plans which cover major medical and surgical procedures and select outpatient services. These plans often have very high deductibles, with some policies requiring a higher co-insurance percentage than the average policy. Other companies have higher deductibles but lower co-insurances. Regardless of how much money is saved through the use of a standardized Medicare supplement insurance plan, it may not be enough to make the policy worthwhile.
Some companies have supplemental insurance plans which provide more choices in physician settings and which allow the consumer more choices in out-of-network providers. When comparing between the two kinds of plans, it’s important to remember that in contrast to Medicare supplement plans which are standardized, Medicare advantage plans are not. The prices and coverage will vary depending on your personal medical needs as well as the medical provider you choose. For example, even within the same network, different med centers might charge different fees for the same procedure.
In addition to the cost and differences between the two different kinds of insurance plans, there can be other costs involved in using a medical provider outside of Medicare. You may have to pay for hospitalization or emergency room visits paid for out of pocket. If you don’t already have health insurance, or you’re planning to start getting insurance, comparing the costs of Medicare supplement plans between the two seems pointless. Unless you’re extremely ill, it would be difficult to justify the cost of seeing a new doctor on top of the fee structure for your regular Medicare coverage. Even when considering the extra costs and added benefits of Medicare supplement plans, it’s important to remember that they won’t cover everything.