As many baby boomers prepare to turn 65, many of them are wondering how to approach their upcoming eligibility for Medicare plans. Many people don’t know about the features of Medicare Advantage Plans and Medigap policies, and need further advice and assistance. This is where a company such as MediGapAdvisors.com can help!
For those who are over 65 and don’t have employee-sponsored health insurance there are two main options available:
- Traditional Medicare – this is a program run by federal government
- Medicare Advantage Health Plan – this is a service offered by private insurance companies
Many people opt for the federal government’s traditional Medicare plan and buy a Medigap policy as a supplement. This covers things like hospital cost and co-insurance for an extra 365 days as well as covering nursing facility and hospice co-insurance. It’s important to be aware of what your options are, so below you’ll find a basic guide to Medicare and Medigap insurance.
Medicare policies have 4 parts:
- Part A – This covers hospital care as an inpatient, hospice care, care at a nursing facility and home care
- Part B – This covers any services provided by doctors and other health-care providers
- Together, Parts A and B make up the traditional Medicare offered by the federal government.
- Part C – This is the Medicare Advantage Plan. This usually offers additional benefits such as vision and dental coverage, as well as prescription drug coverage.
- Part D – This offers coverage for prescription drugs and is run by private insurance companies
Medigap policies require you to pay an additional monthly premium to your part B Medicare premium. For anyone who doesn’t want to worry about extra unexpected medical expenses, and prefers to pay a fixed monthly premium, a Medigap policy is a wise choice. However, if you’re on Medicaid or have a group health plan or private Medicare Advantage Plan through your work, you won’t need to take out a separate Medigap policy.
Medigap policies should be purchased within 6 months of turning 65, as insurers are not allowed to refuse to provide cover or charge extra because of health issues. After this 6 month grace period has passed, there are no guarantees that you will receive cover.
There are 10 different types of Medigap plan to choose from, so this gives you flexibility when deciding which gaps to fill. The basics covered by all Medigap plans are: co-insurance for outpatient visits and trips to the doctor, co-insurance if you have an extended stay in hospital, co-insurance relating to hospice care and costs for up to 3 pints of blood.
It’s vitally important to shop around and compare prices as premiums can vary wildly, although all insurance companies must offer the same benefits for a certain type of plan. Also, you should be aware that Medigap doesn’t fill all the gaps in your existing medical insurance.
It’s a great idea to review your healthcare needs with an independent health insurance agent, who can offer impartial advice on plans. You can find information on agents in your area using the National Association of Health Underwriters. Because the choices you make are specific to your needs and requirements, it’s best to seek independent advice from a professional, who will be able to look at your healthcare needs and make recommendations tailored for you.
Another way to receive advice on which Medigap policy is best for your needs is to use the services of a Medigap advisory company. Make sure you choose a reputable company – either one recommended by friends or family or your healthcare professional. These companies will be able to offer those approaching 65 and considering their options invaluable advice on Medigap policies, and if a Medigap policy is the right choice for you, you’ll have the best policies recommended to you.
It’s important to spend time thinking about your health insurance options as you approach 65, so that you are prepared to apply for your Medigap plan (if necessary) within the 6 month window. This is even more important if you have pre-existing health issues or a condition, as insurers are legally required to provide you with cover during this 6 month period.
About the author:
George Torres writes widely for a range of healthcare blogs and magazines from his home in Kentucky, and has made a living as a freelance writer for the past 20 years. Having recently looked into his Medigap options as he approaches 65, he knows just how important it is to be informed about the options and policies available and believes that this information should be more readily available to everyone.