Why You Need A Medicare Supplement Plan

Medicare is one of the most successful and popular social programs in the United States without which many of our seniors would be unable to get the healthcare they need. With costly and limited-coverage health insurance policies that fewer are able to afford, many look forward to the day when they, too, are able to access this healthcare system for the help and peace of mind it provides.

Medicare does not provide total coverage for health costs, however. This is why a Medicare supplement plan is recommended. This supplement will help to cover the out-of-pocket costs and co-pays that Medicare doesn’t pay for to help make the high costs of healthcare affordable.

To begin, let’s look at how Medicare and supplement plans work. For the purposes of Medicare supplements, or Medigap, one must be enrolled in both Part A and Part B Medicare. Part A is hospital insurance covering inpatient hospital stays and limited stays in skilled nursing facilities. Nursing home stays require that certain criteria are met and are paid in full by Medicare for only 20 days, with a maximum of 100 days of coverage per ailment. The remaining 80 days require a patient co-payment of $137.50 per day in 2010 rates. Part B is medical insurance that helps to pay for outpatient costs such as doctor visits, diagnostic and laboratory tests, vaccinations, and other outpatient medical treatments administered at the doctor’s office. It also assists with the payments for durable medical equipment, including wheelchairs, walkers, canes, prosthetic devices, and home use oxygen.

Medicare supplement plans are standardized by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). There are twelve plans available, referred to as A through L. Though standardized, or identical to each other in coverage from company to company, these plans are sold and administered by private insurance companies. This means that if you decide that plan G, for instance, serves your particular health needs the best, that you can simply choose the company that offers the best pricing for that plan. Other factors that may be important to your decision may include the company’s reputation, quality of service, and additional membership benefits that may be offered.

Even with Medicare, healthcare costs can quickly add up without a Medicare supplement plan to help with those co-pays and added costs. To ensure that you enjoy full coverage that will take care of those costs in the case of illness, injury, or disability, contact your insurance agent to add a Medicare supplement policy.