Medicare is a very useful program that helps people who are too old to pay their medical expenses, or are suffering from disabilities that make it difficult or impossible for them to work. At the same time, Medicare does not cover as many types of procedures and tests as some of the private insurance plans do. But if you are eligible for Medicare, shouldn’t you be able to have both?
The answer is yes. If you are on Medicare, and you decide to purchase private insurance as well, then you will not lose coverage from Medicare. However, what may happen is that Medicare will become your secondary payer, meaning that it will fill in the gaps that your private insurance does not cover.
Medicare will become your secondary payer depending on several factors. If you are over the age of sixty five and you are on a Group Health Plan, then Medicare will pay second if there are twenty or more people working for your employer. If, on the other hand, you are on Medicare because of disability, than Medicare will only become your secondary payer if there are a hundred or more people that work for your employer. In either case, if you work for a big company, Medicare will be your secondary provider.
If you don’t want your private insurance company to become your primary payer, you do have the option of Medicare Supplemental Insurance Plans. These are plans that you can purchase to fill in the gaps that Medicare does not pay. What they do and don’t cover is laid out by the federal government, but the rates for the plans vary depending on which company you go through.