10 tips to help you find the right Medicare Supplement Plan
Looking for the right Medicare Supplement plan for your needs?
These 10 tips and answers to common questions will help you pick a plan that works for you.
Here’s what you need to know…
There’s a missing piece to your Medicare coverage.
Original Medicare (Parts A and B) does not pay for everything. A Medicare Supplement plan can help when you have Original Medicare. But you may still have out-of-pocket costs with Original Medicare.
Thinking about a Medicare Supplement plan? Here’s how this type of plan can help.
- Also called Medigap, Medicare Supplement plans are sold through private insurance companies and help cover out-of-pocket costs with Original Medicare coverage.
- In 2020, approximately 11 million Medicare beneficiaries chose a Medigap plan to help with their healthcare expenses, according to a recent study published by the Kaiser Family Foundation.1
- When searching for a Medigap plan, there are several options from which to choose. To select the best Medicare Supplement plan for your needs, learn about your options.
Check out these 10 tips and answers to common questions for help finding the right Medicare Supplement plan for your needs.
1. Start here
How do you find the right Medicare Supplement plan based on what I need?
Here’s an important detail to know before you get started. You can only use a Medigap plan if you have Original Medicare (Parts A and B).
- There are eight different Medicare Supplement plans sold to new beneficiaries: A, B, D, G, K, L, M, and N.
- Each Medicare Supplement plan must include the same standardized benefits regardless of carrier and location. However, Medigap plans in Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Wisconsin are standardized in a different way.2
Different types of Medicare Supplement plans offer different levels of coverage.
- For example, Plan N offers different coverage levels than Plan G.
- However, Medigap policies are guaranteed renewable, which means—as long as you pay the premium—they can’t be canceled for health reasons.
Getting familiar with the type of coverage you need will help you narrow your search to find a Medicare Supplement plan that works for you.
2. Understand the costs of Medicare Supplement insurance
How much does Medicare Supplement insurance cost?
The classic answer: It depends.
The cost of a Medicare Supplement plan varies depending on the insurance company. However, plans are priced based on three types of pricing models:3
- Community-rated: This Medigap pricing model means everyone typically pays the same amount, regardless of age.
- Issue-age-related. Premiums based on this pricing model for Medigap plans are lower when you buy at a younger age. Fortunately, once you sign up, your premium won’t change as you get older. But it could increase because of inflation or other factors.
- Attained-age-related. Based on this pricing model, these Medigap premiums go up as you get older.
That’s good info. But you really want to know how much a Medicare Supplement plan costs, right?
- Monthly premiums for Medicare Supplement plans range from $30 to $400.1
Note: To choose the best Medicare Supplement plan for your needs, you must be aware of any out-of-pocket costs that come with each plan. These costs can include monthly premiums and yearly deductibles.
3. Find out what Medicare Supplement plans cover
Each Medigap plan helps cover basic benefits, such as:4
- Coinsurance charges through Medicare Plan A (up to 365 days after Original Medicare benefits are spent)
- Hospice care copayments and coinsurance through Medicare Plan A
- Copayments and coinsurance through Medicare Plan B
- The first three pints of blood needed due to a medical procedure
Most Medicare Supplement plans do not cover:
- Long-term care
- Hearing aids
- Private-duty nursing
Also, it’s important to note that Medigap plans won’t start to cover your coinsurance until your deductible is met, unless deductibles are also covered.
Still trying to figure out what your right Medicare Supplement plan option is?
Here’s a few more tips and questions to ask to find the right plan and coverage you need.
4. Know how much you travel outside the U.S.
Do you travel a lot?
If you do, you’ll probably want to select a plan that offers foreign travel emergency coverage for when you’re traveling abroad.
- Plans C, D, F, G, J, M, and N pay 80% of qualifying emergency care in foreign countries.6
- Foreign travel coverage begins when you meet your annual $250 deductible.
- For the first 60 days you travel, you’re covered for qualifying care that Medicare doesn’t otherwise pay for, with a lifetime limit of $50,000.
5. Budget for Part B
Do you want help with Part B costs?7
Plan G will help pay your Part B excess charge (the payment between the Medicare-approved amount and the maximum a doctor can charge).
And while all Medicare Supplement plans offer some coverage for Part B coinsurance and copayments, Plan K only covers 50%, and Plan L covers 75%.
Plan N covers these costs 100%, with the exception of a $20 office visit copay or $50 emergency room copay in certain situations.
6. Check the out-of-pocket limit
Do you want a plan with an out-of-pocket limit?
Consider Medicare Supplement Plans K or L.4
- For 2024, Plan K covers you 100% after you’ve spent $7,060.
- Plan L kicks in with 100% coverage after spending $3,530.
Keep in mind that these two plans offer the least amount of coverage before you reach the out-of-pocket limit.
But once you’ve reached the out-of-pocketing spending limit for these plans, you’re covered 100%.
7. Decide if you want maximum coverage
Do you want the maximum possible coverage?
If so, Plan G may be the right Medicare Supplement Plan for you.
Why? Of all the Medicare Supplement plans, it gives the most comprehensive coverage to new Medicare beneficiaries.4
- People with Plan G are 100% covered for all Medicare Supplement benefits, except foreign emergency care.
- Plan G covers 80% of qualifying foreign emergency care expenses.
- Note: Plan G does not cover the Part B deductible at all.
8. Pick the right time to get Medicare Supplement insurance
When should you buy Medicare Supplement insurance?
It’s best to buy Medicare Supplement insurance within the first six months after you turn 65 and enroll in Medicare. Why?
- During that time, you can buy any Medigap policy sold in your state, even if you have health problems.
- After this six-month period, you may not be able to enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan, or…
- You may have to pay more due to pre-existing conditions or current health problems.
9. Evaluate the financial risk if you don’t get a Medicare Supplement plan
Do you have to buy a Medicare Supplement plan?
No, you are not required to buy a Medicare Supplement plan with Original Medicare (Parts A and B).
However, without a Medicare Supplement plan, you could be responsible for the:
- Full out-of-pocket costs of deductibles
- Copays, and…
- Other healthcare expenses.
10. Choose a Part D plan for YOUR prescription drugs
Do you need separate drug coverage with a Medicare Supplement plan?
Neither Original Medicare nor your Medicare Supplement plan will cover your prescriptions.
Ready to find the best Medicare Supplement plan for your needs?
We can help you compare Medicare Supplement plans and find the best one based on your needs. Compare plans HERE or call (800) 827-9990 to speak to a licensed insurance agent.