Everything You Need to Know about Medicare Supplement Plans
Medicare is the federally funded health insurance program for seniors. It is a program that offers seniors 10 different plans beginning with Plans A and B. These first two plans are considered original Medicare. They are the standard Medicare options. All additional plans are considered supplemental insurance.
In order to be eligible for Medicare supplement plans, one must already be enrolled in one or both of the original plans. The whole point of getting supplemental insurance is to fill in some of the gaps left by Medicare Plans A and B. For this reason, the supplemental plans are often referred to as Medigap plans.
Plans A and B
Seniors age 65 and older are eligible for Medicare. Those younger than 65 may be eligible with a qualifying disability. Finally, those of any age suffering from end-stage renal disease or Lou Gehrig’s disease might also be eligible for Medicare benefits.
Plan A is designed to provide coverage for hospital stays and inpatient care at other facilities. Plan B is intended to cover outpatient care and routine doctor visits. Note that neither plan covers a subscriber’s medical costs in total. Both plans are subject to deductibles, co-pays and coinsurance.
Once enrolled in original Medicare, seniors can add any of the other supplemental insurance plans. The exception is Plan C. It is no longer available to subscribers eligible to first sign up for Medicare on January 1, 2020 or thereafter. Those same subscribers will be precluded from participating in either version of Plan F.
As for the remaining plans, they are designed to cover things like care provided by a skilled nursing facility, emergency care during foreign travel, drugs and medical devices, excess charges and deductibles from Plan B and deductibles from Plan A.
The unfortunate part of all of this is that in the plans offer varying levels of coverage along with different co-pays and deductibles. Understanding Medicare and its many plan options can be confusing. As such, seniors might not know what plans are best for them without seeking advice from someone who already has Medicare experience.
To summarize all that has been explained here, Medicare Plans A and B are the original plans intended to cover most routine healthcare expenses minus patient financial obligations. The remaining eight Medicare supplement plans are designed to cover most of the gaps left by original Medicare.
Note that Plans A and B are federally funded insurance plans. Supplemental plans are sold by private insurance companies on behalf of the federal government. They are considered private insurance and are regulated as such.
If you’re approaching retirement age, it’s a good idea to begin educating yourself about Medicare. You need to know how it applies to your situation even if you plan on having access to private insurance through your employer. Medicare coverage amounts differ based on the plans you choose. Be sure you choose wisely.