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Medicare Supplement Insurance, also known as Medigap, is insurance sold by private companies and it’s intended to help pay some of the health care costs that Medicare doesn’t cover like copayments, deductibles and coinsurance. Some Medigap policies even offer benefits that Medicare doesn’t offer like coverage for medical care you receive when you travel outside the United States.
Medigap is a great way for seniors to have peace-of-mind when it comes to their health care because medical bills can add up quickly even for minor medical treatments. And while you might think that because Medicare generally pays about 80% of your medical bills that your share won’t amount to much, the fact is that your share can add up pretty quickly especially if you have a health crisis. Medigap can help to keep you from facing financial ruin in your golden years because of staggering medical bills. There are, however, 5 very important things you need to know about Medigap before you turn 65:
- Medigap only supplements original Medicare, not Medicare Advantage (MA) plans. In fact, it’s illegal for an insurance broker to sell you Medigap insurance if you have Medicare Advantage.
- You should enroll in supplemental insurance when you first become eligible. You essentially have only one guaranteed 6-month enrollment period for Medigap and that’s when you turn 65 and you become eligible for Medicare Part B. If you choose not to enroll because you’re still employed and covered by your employer’s insurance, you can enroll once you stop working and become eligible for Part B.
- Remember that Medigap doesn’t cover prescription drugs. Medigap only covers what Medicare covers with some exceptions. If you want prescription drug coverage, think about enrolling in Medicare Part D.
- Consider a high-deductible supplemental plan. One of the reasons many seniors on fixed incomes don’t want to purchase Medigap insurance is because of the cost of monthly premiums. If you choose Medigap Plan F, which offers comprehensive benefits, there is a high-deductible version that keeps premiums lower but that requires you to pay a $2180 deductible (for 2015) before the insurance kicks in.
- Choose your supplemental insurance provider by price. Medigap plans are standardized by the federal government and that means that all the plans from A to N are exactly the same and no insurance company can give you any more or any less than another. So your only selection criteria should be price.
If you’re approaching retirement and you’re ready to learn about Medigap and how it can help you pay your medical bills, call us at The Benefit Link Inc. at(877) 805-2952 or visit us online at www.thebenefitlink.com.