What are Medicare Supplement plans?
Medicare Supplement plans can provide additional Medicare coverage to fill in gaps from Medicare parts A & B. These supplemental plans help cover out-of-pocket expenses.
Who should get Medicare Supplement plans?
Medicare parts A & B (Original Medicare) have proven to be important coverage for many individuals. Unfortunately, Medicare Parts A & B do not cover everything, including certain out-of-pocket expenses, such as deductibles, copays and coinsurance.
Many low-income individuals can get help with these out-of-pocket expenses through Medicaid. For all other Medicare enrollees, Medicare Supplement plans can help address these health-related costs.
Medicare Supplement plans help cover many out-of-pocket costs, and they are offered by private health insurance companies and regulated by federal and state governments.
Recap of Medicare Supplement plans:
- Provided by private health insurance companies. Medicare supplement plans are offered by private health insurance companies, not by the federal government.
- Federal Parameters. The federal government defines the Medicare Supplement plans that may be offered to Medicare enrollees. Medicare Supplement plans, in most states, are standardized and range from Plan A to Plan N.
- State Approvals. Private insurance companies and their specific plans must be state approved to sell their Medicare Supplement.
What are the required Medicare Supplement benefits?
All Medicare Supplement plans must offer basic sets of benefits:
- Preventive care coinsurance requirements from Medicare Part B. Coinsurance is typically a percentage of fees charged for service, supplies, and/or care. All Medicare Supplement plans cover the coinsurance, some are limited based on plan options.
- Hospital stay coinsurance for Medicare part A. Medicare Supplement plans cover hospital stay coinsurance, up to an additional 365 days after Medicare hospital benefits run out. This becomes useful for lengthy hospitalization.
- Copayments and coinsurance for Medicare Part B. Medicare supplement plans cover 50 to 100 percent of copays and coinsurance requirements for Medicare Part B.
- Hospice care copays and coinsurance for Medicare Part A. Medicare supplement plans cover anywhere from 50 to 100 percent of copay and coinsurance requirements on Medicare Part A hospice care expenses.
- Donated blood. Many hospitals get donated blood at no cost from a subsidized blood bank. However, if a hospital has to purchase additional blood for you, it will charge you for the blood. Medicare Supplement Plans cover up to 100 percent of the first three pints of blood.
What additional Medicare Supplement benefits are available?
In addition to the benefits above, many Medicare Supplement plans might offer some or all of the following:
- Medicare Part A deductible
- Medicare Part B deductible
- Medicare Part B excess charges
- Foreign travel emergency care
Note: If you live in Massachusetts, Minnesota, or Wisconsin the Medicare Supplement policies are different.
Important considerations when purchasing Medicare
- Medicare Supplement Policies cover one person
- Premiums do apply separate from Parts A & B.
- Medicare Supplement open enrollment is six months, this starts on the first day of the month in which you enroll into Part B.
- There are coverage restrictions, if you already have a Medicare Advantage plan you are not allowed to purchase a Medicare Supplement plan. You also can’t have prescription drug coverage under the Medicare Supplement policy and Medicare part D at the same time.
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