How To Find The Best Medicare Supplement Medigap Plan 2015 / 2016?
It is no secret that Medicare, which was established in 1965, was created to cover only the basic health care needs of its beneficiaries. This means, if you only have original Medicare, you will have to pay deductibles and co-payments out of your own pocket, and medical expenses may easily mount up to a huge amount of debt!
Fortunately, Medigap insurance, also referred to as Medicare Supplemental insurance or Medicare Supplement plans, was created to help you cover those costs.
What is Medigap?
Medigap policies are regulated by the government and sold by insurance companies which are licensed to sell them in a state. For 2016, you will find 10 different Medigap policies in all states except MA, MN, and WI. They are labeled as plans A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M and N. Each of those Medigap plans provides a pre-defined set of benefits, per government standards. This means, if you, for example, choose to go with Medigap plan F, it is easy to shop around for the lowest monthly premium, as each Plan F must have the exact same benefits, no matter which insurance company it offers.
While comparing premiums is easy, it is much harder to decide which of the many different plans, from A through N, offers the best benefits for your personal health situation. And as one policy only covers one beneficiary, your spouse will have to select her/his own policy to best match her or his health care needs. Keep in mind that a plan that may be best for you, may not be perfect for your spouse.
Depending on the plan you select, a part or all of your health care costs, deductibles or co-payments will be ‘supplemented’, so you don’t have to pay them out of your own pocket. How much is covered, differs from plan to plan and is explained in the ‘summary of benefits’. All plans have in common that your supplemental insurance will kick in after Medicare has first paid its share of the approved amount for your medical expenses.
How to Select The Best Medigap Policy for 2016?
While the standardization of Medigap plans makes it easy to compare them, you must first know which of the 10 different plan options A through N, that each come with a different set of benefits and deductibles, works best for you.
A good start is to develop your personal checklist with all medical benefits you need. Do you need to see your doctor on a regular basis because of an ongoing health issue? Or do you usually only go for a routine check once a year? Do you take prescription drugs, or need medical equipment to be covered? What about glasses, hearing aids and dental?
Once you have figured out what your Medicare supplement insurance policy should cover, it’s time to find out which plans are offered in your state. With the exception of Wisconsin, Minnesota and Massachusetts, all 10 Medigap policies should be available to you. Depending on your state, you may also be able to buy a Medicare SELECT policy. Medicare SELECT is a supplemental policy that requires you to use selected hospitals and, in some cases, selected health care providers to be fully covered.
Now you can compare each plan with your checklist, and select the ones that provide the best benefits for you. After you have selected your plans, continue to compare their co-payments and deductibles (if any). Which suit you best? Make sure that the payments will still be affordable to you in the future, as your health and financial situation may change.
Also, make sure you compare the total amount of payments, including any deductibles and co-payments you may be responsible for – not only the monthly premiums.
As Medigap plans don’t include prescription drug coverage, you may also want to enroll in a Prescription Drug Plan, (Medicare Part D) so you are covered for your medication needs, now and in future. If dental care, eyeglasses or hearing aids are important to you, you may have to look for additional private insurance.
Once you have decided on the Medigap plan, it’s time to shop around for the insurer that offers it at the best monthly premium. Use the official Medicare Plan Finder at Medicare.gov to find and compare quotes for the supplemental insurance you have selected. As you have learned above, Medigap benefits are standardized by law, so you can select the insurance company that offers it for the lowest premium (of course you should also make sure that the insurer is a reputable company with excellent customer service).
Congratulations – you have just mastered to find yourself the best Medicare supplemental insurance plan!
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By: Joseph Rosario