Are Medicare supplement plans worth it?
Medicare is the health insurance program provided by the U.S. government that helps protect people who are age 65 or older, or younger people who have certain disabilities. While Medicare helps pay for a number of medical expenses, it doesn't cover all the health care costs a retiree will face. Medicare Supplement Insurance is offered by private insurance companies, and it is designed to work alongside the Medicare program by helping cover expenses. Here's a breakdown of Medicare coverage and the out of pocket costs a supplemental Medicare health insurance plan can pick up.
What are Medicare coverages?
Original Medicare is split into two parts, A and B.
- Part A covers hospital stays, skilled nursing care, hospice, and some home health care.
- Part B covers some doctors' visits, medical supplies, preventative services, and outpatient care, such as rehabilitation.
The other parts of Medicare are parts C and D:
- Part C (also called Medicare Advantage) is an alternative way to receive Medicare Part A and Part B coverage and may include Part D.
- Part D is the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.
If you are covered by original Medicare, there will be copayments, coinsurance and deductibles. You have supplemental insurance options that can help reduce the out-of-pocket expenses you will face during retirement. Private insurance companies offer these Medicare Supplement health insurance plans which “supplement” the health coverage provided by original Medicare. These plans may include payment for various out-of-pocket expenses not paid by Medicare such as copayments, coinsurance and deductibles that can change every year.
How does Medicare supplemental insurance work?
Medicare Supplement Insurance, can help pay some of the costs that original Medicare doesn't cover. These costs can include:
- Part A coinsurance and deductibles;
- An additional 365 days of hospital costs after the lifetime limit on Part A coverage is reached;
- Part B coinsurance (20% of most services you receive) and deductibles;
- The additional costs you may face by receiving care from a doctor who charges more than the amount Medicare agrees to pay for a service or procedure;
- Hospice coinsurance;
- Skilled nursing facility coinsurance;
- Emergency care in a foreign country; or
- Blood transfusions.