If an older American uses Medicare as his primary insurance, he or she may worry that buying a Medicare Supplemental Plan will replace the original Medicare insurance. While it is an understandable concern, the confusion results from being confused over the purpose of a Medicare Supplemental Plans. Many private insurance companies offer these plans to individuals who qualify for the U.S. government’s health insurance program for people who are at or near retirement age. Individual companies administer these plans. A Medicare supplemental plan is designed to cover gaps in Medicare coverage or to provide additional care after a patient runs out of benefit days on his plan. They operate in addition to the original program.
Medicare Supplemental plans do not replace Medicare, nor do they usually cover a person who needs long term care in a skilled nursing facility. The rules only cover the stay for so many days. After the original coverage and the Medicare Supplemental Plans run out, the family of the person who needs the care must usually apply for the state run Medicaid. Medicaid rules often require that a person expected to spend the rest of his or her life in a nursing home.
A person who can afford it should carry Medicare and a Medicare Supplemental Plan to reduce his out of pocket costs for short term inpatient stays in a hospital and long-term care on an outpatient basis. Supplemental coverage often costs considerably less than Medicare coverage itself. The number of doctors accepting Medicare has gone down due to the reimbursement rules. Having a supplemental plan makes it more likely that a doctor will see a new patient, although a person would alleyways call ahead first before seeing a doctor or a specialist to find out what insurance the doctor or specialist will accept.