4 things to know about Medicare Supplement plans

Medicare offers several benefits and services for healthcare, but it excludes the payment for things like deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments. Medicare Supplement plans by private insurance companies take care of these misses or gaps and free you of the hassles of managing out-of-pocket expenses. You can opt for these plans along with the Original Medicare plans to take care of your complete healthcare needs. Let’s take a look at the services covered by Medicare Supplement insurance or Medigap policies.

How do Medicare Supplement plans work?
Medicare Supplement insurance, also popularly known as Medigap, covers the gaps in Original Medicare if you are already covered by Part A and Part B. The best time to enroll for a Medigap plan is within the 6-month Medigap Open Enrollment Period that starts when you turn 65 or first enroll for Part B. A total of 10 Medigap plans were available earlier, but new users eligible for Medigap from January 2020 do not have two of these—Plans C and F.

If you have enrolled for a Medicare Supplement plan, you need to pay your Medicare Part B premium and another premium amount to the private insurance company for the Medigap. Although Medigap is provided by private companies, they must offer standardized policies as required by the federal government.

The mode to claim the benefits varies according to the company. For certain Medigap policies, companies get the claim information for Part B directly from Medicare, and then they make a direct payment to the doctor. Some private insurers also provide direct payment services for Medicare Part A claims. Even in cases where the insurance company doesn’t provide these services, doctors who participate in Medicare need to be paid directly if the patient requests it.

What do these plans cover?
Medicare Supplement plans take care of copayments, deductibles, and coinsurance, but they do not cover long-term care, eyeglasses, hearing aids, vision or dental care, and private-duty nursing.

How can you find a suitable Medicare Supplement plan?
You can follow these three steps to choose your Medigap plan:

  • Study the plans
    The standard Medigap policies are usually named by letters in most states, going from plans A through D and F, G, K, L, M, and N. Ensure that you compare the benefits that each plan provides and determine which one suits your requirements better.
  • Pick your policy
    The prices for Medicare Supplement plans vary depending on your location, but the policies offered under a particular letter are standard across all states.
  • Get in touch with the insurance company
    Get in touch with a private insurance company, inform them of your requirement, and get a quote. You should also check with a few other providers to see which company offers the best deal. The prices also vary depending on when you buy it, your overall health, and your location, so consider these factors while choosing a policy.

Which are the top Medicare Supplement plan providers?
Here are a few popular Medigap providers you can choose from:

  • Mutual of Omaha
    This company has an easy-to-operate, clean website and has been providing Medigap policies since Medicare was launched. The company promises to settle about 98 percent of the claims within 12 hours, so you can rest assured that you’re in good hands. You can also check out the customer reviews before making a decision.
  • American Association of Retired Persons (AARP)
    It offers an interactive, simple website that is extremely user-friendly, but you need to join AARP to enroll with this insurance company. You can also get in touch with them via phone or connect on social media. Plus, they provide a free guide to help you understand how Medicare Supplement insurance plans work, and you can contact Medicare experts to make an informed choice.