Are you new to Medicare? If you’re not quite 65, but you’re anxious to explore your options with Medicare supplement insurance, here’s some information that can help. Even if you’re already a recipient of Medicare, taking a few minutes to understand what to look for when choosing a Medicare Supplement Insurance plan is smart.
Medicare Supplement can help you pay for many of the out-of-pocket expenses associated with Medicare, like deductibles, coinsurance and copayments. But, there’s more to each supplement plan than meets the eye. Knowing what to look for—and what to ask yourself—can help you choose the right plan to fit your needs and budget. Ready to go browsing? Here are the top three questions to ask yourself when shopping for Medicare Supplement insurance.
1. What are my current and future healthcare needs?
While it’s not always possible to predict the type of health care that you will need in the future, there are some things that you will know ahead of time to help you narrow your choices. For instance, all but two supplement plans include coverage for foreign travel. If you are sure you will not be traveling out of the country, consider looking at plans that do not offer this coverage to potentially reduce your premium.
In addition to thinking about the coverage you don’t need, take some time to identify coverage you will need. For instance, if a current medical condition requires you to visit your doctor on a regular basis, look for plans that pay the entire Part B coinsurance or copayment amount.
2. Which plans best meet my financial needs?
Remember, with all Medicare Supplement insurance, you will be responsible for paying a monthly premium for your supplement plan, as well as your Medicare Part B Premium. And, if you take prescription drugs, you will likely need to purchase Part D, prescription drug coverage. Beyond these three initial costs, any other out-of-pocket expenses will vary, based on which supplement plan you choose. For instance, Plan C and F are the most comprehensive, with coverage for almost all out-of-pocket expenses you are likely to face. While you won’t need to pay each time you visit the doctor, your monthly premium for these plans may be higher than those offering less coverage.
Each plan offers slightly different benefits, with monthly premiums that vary. Think about how much money you can budget for medical care, and compare plans side-by-side to identify coverage that fits those needs. Find the right combination of benefits that work for your budget, and then shop around to find the best price.
3. Have I compared costs of the plans I like at a few different companies?
The federal government standardizes all Medicare Supplement plans. That means that all Plans F or K, or C for example, must include the same benefits, regardless of the company that sells them. This makes it easy for you to compare premium amounts for different plans without having to keep track of benefits. Remember, there are major differences between companies in price. It’s critical that you compare the plans you are interested in at a few different companies in your area.