Shopping for your Medicare plan can allow you to save money on your Medigap policy, prescription drugs, and other health expenses. So why aren't you?
It’s commonplace to compare prices, clip coupons and look for senior savings days. This is all in a valiant effort to get the best price on groceries or gasoline, for example. A recent study showed people over 65 spend very little time shopping for their Medicare health insurance plan and the reason you ask... FEAR!
You can read the report here.
There are many reasons for the reluctance of consumers to shop for their plans as they would, for say a turkey for Thanksgiving or perhaps the best price on a new vehicle.
The first step to relieving the fear and anxiety factor, is to be informed. I get it, folks! But, it's not as scary as it seems. The key is understanding two concepts. The first is what Medicare is and how it’s parts work. The second concept is what are Medigap plans and how they fill in gaps of the parts. Each plan is labeled by a letter.
Medicare is a federal health insurance program for people who are 65+ years old. Medicare's 4 parts provide a variety of services.
Medicare Part A = Hospital stays (inpatient hospital, nursing facilities, hospice, etc)
Part B = Medical services (doctors’ visits, outpatient, supplies, and preventive care)
Advantage Plans or Part C = Medicare Advantage (provides benefits to Part A and B, offered by private companies)
Medicare Part D = Prescription drug coverage
Choosing to get Medicare Supplement (Medigap) insurance when signing up for Medicare is another option. Typically these plans offer the most comprehensive coverage to Medicare. A Medicare Supplement Plan (Medigap) helps pay for some or all of the health care costs that Original Medicare doesn't cover. Generally, there are 10 standardized Medicare Supplement plans. Plans are labeled with the letters A through N. The letter represents a specific set of federally mandated benefits. Private companies can choose to sell some or all of the plans, but the benefits under each are the same.
***Medicare supplement plans are standardized in a different way in Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.
It comes down to one of three options, keeping in mind that typically Medicare pays 80 percent of eligible expenses and the remaining 20 percent are your responsibility. to cover
Option 1 You can choose to carry Medicare only and pay the 20 percent and any other on cover charges you might incur out-of-pocket.
Option 2 You can choose to use part C of Medicare and join a Medicare Advantage plan
Option 3 You can choose to use Medicare in conjunction with a Medigap plan in which Medicare pays its 80 percent of eligible expenses and then your Medigap plan pays the remaining 20 percent of charges and more depending on the plan chosen.