Fill the gaps in Medicare with a Medigap plan. Medicare covers about 64% of your health care costs. Who pays the rest? Do you need a supplement plan? How do Medicare supplement plans work?
Shop and compare GA Medigap rates. Get advice from a broker that is enrolled in Medicare.
Filling the gaps with a Medigap plan
Medicare doesn’t cover everything. What is the best way to budget for unexpected medical bills not paid by Medicare due to deductibles and coinsurance?
Medicare doesn’t cover at all — and estimates are that a typical couple will ultimately need about $250,000 for medical expenses not covered by Medicare.
That’s a lot of cash. Which is why 90 percent of Medicare beneficiaries have some form of supplemental insurance, a Medigap plan. Where do they get it?
25 percent join Medicare Advantage programs, which provide more complete health coverage
33 percent have employer- or military-sponsored coverage
15 percent have Medicaid, the state health insurance program for the poor
17 percent purchase a Medicare supplemental insurance program, fondly called “Medigap.”
Medicare Advantage plans, while popular, aren’t for everyone. Most have limited doctor networks and high out of pocket limits, especially if you receive out of network medical care. Many seniors have difficulty with all the moving parts in an Advantage plan. Most are not aware of how much an Advantage plan really costs, until it is too late.
That’s why informed seniors in Georgia opt for a Medigap plan.
But which one is best?
What you need to know about a Medigap plan
Medigap plans are standardized. It says so in the 2014 Medicare booklet, Choosing a Medigap Policy. “Cost is the only difference between Medigap policies with the same letter sold by different insurance companies” (page 13).
Here’s what you need to know about the wonderful world of Medigap insurance.
- Meet the basic requirements. You must have already enrolled in Medicare Part A and B in order to buy a Medigap plan.
- Get the real thing. All Medigap policies must be labeled “Medicare Supplemental Insurance” and follow all Federal and state regulations related to Medigap policies.
If you want it, get it now.“Now” being when you enroll in Medicare Part B (you’re eligible the first day of the month in which you turned 65, but you can wait). For the first six months after you sign up for Part B, all Medigap programs must accept you and must cover all preexisting conditions. They also can’t charge you more based on past or present health problems. This is known as “guaranteed issue rights,” or Medigap protections.After that first six months, however, plans can turn you down if you have preexisting health conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease or cancer. The good news? Once you’re in, you’re in for life; the insurance company can’t cancel your policy unless you stop paying your premiums, lied on your application form, or the company goes bankrupt.
It is rare for a Medigap carrier to go bankrupt, but not unusual for them to withdraw from the market completely or discontinue a plan. When that happens you may be stuck with ever increasing premiums.
AFLAC got into the Medicare supplement market in 2012 then promptly withdrew 16 months later. Those who bought a Medigap plan from them were stuck unless they were healthy enough to qualify for a plan with another carrier.
Mutual of Omaha offered Medigap plan N in 2010 then discontinued the plan in 2011. Rates have steadily risen, often by double digits, since then for those who were stuck with that policy. Blue Cross of Georgia suddenly stopped writing Medicare supplement plans G and Hi F at the beginning of 2014.
Don’t get stuck in a plan you can’t live with long term.
How do Medigap plans work?
Simply stated, approved Medicare Part A and Part B expenses not paid by Medicare due to deductibles and coinsurance crossover to your Medicare supplement plan. Medigap plan F is the most popular. It is also the most expensive and pays the highest commission to the agent pushing that plan.
You probably don’t need Medigap plan F, even if you can afford it.
With over 170 different plans in Georgia, how to you find the right one for you?
Bob Vineyard at Georgia Medicare Plans can walk you through your options in a 15 minute phone call. You will understand the different plans and how they work. You will learn which carriers have a stable history in Georgia and which ones are brand new.
(We only recommend plans that have been in the Medicare market 3 years or longer. Find out why).
Ready to start looking? Shop and compare Medigap plans now.
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