Supplemental medical coverage is ideal for anyone who is having trouble paying their medical bills or who suspects their bills will become too much for them to handle soon. Medicare Supplemental Plans for 2017 offer seniors a way to up their coverage and still stick with Medicare, enjoying some great rates and customizable coverage in the process.
What to Know about Medicare Supplements
First, Medicare’s supplemental plans are designed by Medicare but not sold by them. They leave the selling up to the private insurance companies, such as Aetna, United Healthcare, BCBS, Mutual of Omaha, Aetna, Cigna and others. Medicare does pick how much coverage each plan has, and it ensures that the coverage is consistent from one provider to the next. That means that you could go to any insurance provider and buy the Medicare supplement plan of your choice and expect it come with the standard coverage.
Medicare supplements are only available to people who already have basic Medicare. You must have that basic Medicare if you want to add a supplement plan, as they are not sold as standalone plans, even though you buy them from different places. The basic plan comes from Medicare directly, while the supplement plans come from private insurance companies.
If you are subscribed to the basic Medicare plan, you should still be eligible for supplemental Medicare insurance and you can sign up for it when you like, but it is best to sign up for it during open enrollment, after you turn 65. You will get the best rates now and not have most preexisting medical conditions factored into your costs.
The Coverage Supplement Plans Provide
Let’s look now at what kind of coverage you can expect from a supplement plan. You should know that there are ten different ones, and one of them have the same coverage. Some are low coverage plans that offer very low prices and little coverage. They take care of only the very basics not already covered by the original Medicare plan. Then there are the higher coverage plans that cover just about everything labeled as supplemental expenses. These cost more, but they also pack in a lot of value and are good choices for people who have lots of medical bills to pay.
There are many different medical expenses this plan can take care of for you, so let’s look at the list that they all draw from.
First off is hospice care coinsurance, which helps to cover hospital expenses for up to 365 days. This coverage is on top of what you get from the basic Medicare plan. None of the coverage between the base plan and the supplement plans overlap, as Medicare does not allow you to sign up for two plans at once that have some of the same coverage. That means that you can only sign up for one of the Medicare Supplemental Plans for 2017 at one time.
You can also receive coverage for Medicare Part A co-payments and Part B co-payments. These are often large expenses that most people would benefit from having covered.
Supplement plans can cover you for Medicare Part A and Part B deductibles too, but it is uncommon for the Part B deductible to be covered. Only two of the plans cover it, even though it is a common expense. However, it is not a large one, so you may be fine just paying for it yourself rather than choosing one of the more expensive plans that provide coverage for it.
Coverage is also available for the Medicare Part B excess charges, but this is not covered by most plans either. Only two plans provide excess charges coverage, but it isn’t an expense most people would have to pay anyway. Unless you go for treatment at a hospital that doesn’t fully accept Medicare, you should not have to worry about this charge, in most cases.
You can be covered as well for nursing care coinsurance. However, this will only be provided for you by your coverage plan if you go to a facility that is approved for coverage.
Finally, coverage is also included in many of the plans can also cover foreign travel exchange. That would be the costs associated with emergency transport to a medical facility in foreign country. The highest coverage plans only cover you for up to 80% on this one, though, and that’s after you have paid the required deductible.
Pick the Right One
Choosing the plan that fits your needs best isn’t something that’s going to be easy to do. You must not only look at the plans and what they have to offer, but you also need to assess your own health and your healthcare expenses. That can take some time and you should give yourself plenty of time to do all that before you start committing to any of these plans. What you, may find is that you don’t even need a supplemental plan or you may see that you need something entirely different, such as an Advantage plan or something.
The point is that you should carefully examine your own needs and the coverage options available to you. You want to get the best coverage at the best price, and you can only do that through careful examination and research. You can also compare prices once you find the plan you like and get the best deal available. Remember that the coverage doesn’t change on these plans just because you chose one provider over another. Even if their prices are way different from each other, the coverage remains the same.
That should give you some peace of mind about finding the best deal and make it obvious that you need to get the lowest price possible on the plan that fits you best. Just be sure you pick the one plan of the Medicare Supplemental Plans for 2017 that is the best fit for you so that you don’t need to change your plan soon after.