Many people are surprised to learn that Medicare won’t cover all of their healthcare expenses during retirement. While Medicare can offer significant coverage, the truth is it doesn’t cover everything and doesn’t limit catastrophic financial exposure. Some of those uncovered costs have the potential to put a serious crack in your retirement nest egg. The challenge for many people becomes determining the best option for them and understanding what might prevent them from getting what they want. Determining your best option can be complicated; the guide “Choosing a Medigap policy: A Guide to Health Insurance for People with Medicare,” runs 52 pages long. We’re here to help you with information about your Medicare Supplement Plan options, so you don’t end up with unexpected medical bills in retirement.
What Plans Are Available To You?
Before you can decide which plan is best for you, you need to determine which plans are available to you. Do you need to qualify medically to purchase the plan? Keep in mind that not all plans are offered everywhere by all carriers.
Medicare Supplement Plans can vary according to the state in which you reside and when you are planning to obtain the coverage. In 47 of the 50 states, the standardized offerings are pretty much the same. Only those in Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Wisconsin have different rules. If you are on Medicare before January of 2020, you may have eleven different plans available to you, and those types will be available going forward. While the plans’ medical benefits are standardized by the government, the cost and medical underwriting requirements are not.
The benefits in those plans cover, to one degree or another, the deductible and coinsurance you have with traditional Medicare. They run from the most basic of coverages in Plan A, normally the only plan offered to those under the age of 65 accessing Medicare coverage because of disability, to Plan F that covers all of the expenses for services that are not fully paid by Medicare. However, for those accessing Medicare coverage after January of 2020, Plan F, as well as Plan C, are not available, because of MACRA legislation prohibiting plans that cover Part B annual deductible.
Additionally, depending upon when you apply for Medicare Supplement or “Medigap” coverage, you may need to qualify for the plan after undergoing medical underwriting, much like you do for most life insurance coverage. That requirement can vary according to the guidelines mandated by the state in which you reside, as “Guaranteed-Issue” periods may exist, based on when you first qualify for the coverage, or if your state has guaranteed-issue periods based on your birthday month or the anniversary of when you purchased previous Medigap coverage. Note that not all states have those guaranteed-issue periods.
Which Medicare Supplement Plan Is Best For You?
Choosing a Medicare Supplement Plan isn’t a one-time decision. You can anticipate an outflowing of outreach from insurance companies and agents looking for your business as soon as you turn 65. You can also look forward to the repetitive nature of that popularity around your birthday month, during Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, and during the anniversary of the purchase of your prior coverage, if you live in certain states. That means if you aren’t happy with your current plan, there will be an opportunity to change.
The extent of the coverage is very important to most people purchasing a plan and is frequently the determining factor in the purchasing decision. But coverage may not be the only factor. Many people also need to take into account what they can afford. Generally, the greater the benefit, the more expensive the plan. Also, plans generally get more expensive the older you get.
In addition to Medicare Supplement Plans, investigate what other options are available to you, especially if you are still working, have coverage available through prior employment or governmental service, or other options for coverage. Knowing all of your options will influence which plan you determine is best for you. While you are investigating, use the information provided by the government to educate yourself regarding the various coverages that are available.
The last step for determining which plan is best for you is working with a qualified insurance broker who represents multiple insurance companies for medical coverage. Your insurance broker should know everything that basic Medicare does not cover, including prescription drugs, dental, vision, hearing, long-term care, and burial coverage.
Coverage Made is focused on coverage made simple by experts for you. We know that Medicare Supplement Plans can be confusing, and we are here with products and advice to help.