Approximately 58 million people have been able to access affordable health care due to Medicare, which began in 1965. As a higher proportion of the baby boom generation crossed the 65 years age mark over the last decade or so, the number of people who became eligible for Medicare plans increased steadily. Nearly $709 billion were spent on Medicare as total benefits payments.
From the cost coverage of lab tests to the payment of durable medical equipment such as nebulizers, kidney machines, and walkers, Medicare plans have been offering a range of benefits over the years. These benefits are offered under the original Medicare plan (comprising of Plan A and Plan B). However, these Medicare plans cover only the basic medical services. Additionally, there are limitations on the coverage of these plans, and the out-of-pocket cost a beneficiary has to shell out is also high. To fill in the gap in health care coverage offered by original Medicare plans and the actual bill, many people opt for Medicare plans supplements.
The same government-regulated benefits are offered by all Medigap or Medicare supplement plans across all states (except Wisconsin, Massachusetts, and Minnesota). The level of benefits offered by different plans (Plan A to N) may vary, as well as the cost of each plan, based on the insurance company and the state. Medigap plans are not alternatives to the original Medicare plans but are taken along with Plans A or B. A person can pick a supplement plan of their choice depending on how much coverage is needed and what costs they can afford. Below is a brief overview of the top three Medicare plan supplements of the year:
- Medicare Supplement Plan N
A significant feature of this Medicare supplement plan is its low premium. The premium is due to the mandatory copayments for emergency room visits and certain office visits, which are quite small amounts. A Medicare beneficiary does not have to pay the copayments in the case an emergency room visit requires an inpatient admission. Office visit copayment is usually around $20 and emergency room visit copayments are around $50. Also, Medicare Plan A deductible is covered by this supplement plan. While Plan A covers the cost of the first 20 days of skilled nursing care, Plan N will offer 100% coverage from the 21st day for up to 100 days. Another significant feature of this Medicare supplement plan is coverage for emergency medical services when a person travels outside the country.
- Medicare Supplement Plan G
Opt for Medicare Supplement Plan G if you are looking for extra coverage options than what Plan N offers. Plan G gives all the benefits of Plan N, including emergency medical care during a foreign travel, Medicare Part A deductible, and skilled nursing care. Additionally, no copayments are required for Plan G in the case of emergency room visits or office visits. An advantage of choosing Plan G is that it covers excess charges of Medicare Part B. Medicare allows doctors to charge 15% more than the amount approved by Medicare. With Plan G, this excess charge is covered and there are no hassles of paying for it out-of-pocket.
- Medicare Supplement Plan F
Plan F offers all the benefits of Plan G and some more. This includes coverage of Part B excess charges along with Plan B deductible. This gives more security than any other Medicare plan supplements. However, the premium is quite higher than most other Medicare plan supplements, which may make Plan F unaffordable for some people. But, there is an alternative plan known as Medicare Supplement Plan F High Deductible. This is one of the more popular supplement plans. It has a high deductible with low premiums. This plan requires a person to pay out-of-pocket costs until the annual deductible amount is reached. Once the plan’s annual deductible has been met, the benefits will start. The deductible amount is an approximately $2,300, which can be quite high. But a high deductible lowers the monthly premiums to be paid.
It is recommended to apply for Medicare plan supplements to reduce medical bill expenses. While looking for a suitable plan, remember that the copayments, deductibles, and premium of a plan will differ based on the state and insurance provider. The age of the beneficiary also affects the cost. The costs increase with a person’s age. Before deciding to go with a Medicare plan supplement, conduct thorough research. It has been observed that paying excess costs can be avoided if one enrolls in a plan during the six-month enrollment period that begins during the first month after one turns 65. This ensures that one pays low premiums. Moreover, there is a low probability of the application being rejected due to health reasons.