Both Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B pay a percentage (currently 80%) of covered medical bills. In the past, some providers “wrote off” the 20% and accepted Medicare as payment in full. However, with current economic problems, more and more providers are expecting full payment and pursuing aggressive collection efforts for the other 20%.
The most important thing you get from Medicare supplemental insurance is the peace of mind knowing that unexpected medical bills will be covered. It is common knowledge that stress is a common root cause in many health problems, and that many health problems are significantly worsened by stress. When one is lying in the emergency room, one shouldn’t have to be wondering how the bill is going to be paid. And it’s never fun to be visited in the hospital by the “financial services counselor” who presents you with an estimate of your 20% and asks for payment before discharge.
Often people with no chronic conditions or health risks think they don’t need Medicare supplemental insurance. But sometimes a simple accident can mushroom into a huge series of medical bills. Example: a trip and fall at home. Ambulance to local hospital: $160; Emergency room: $3000; ambulance to city hospital: $250; surgeon:$2000; anesthesiologist: $1500; hospital: $50,000. Then the patient develops “complications”–a pressure sore, infection; reaction to the antibiotic used to treat the infection. Eight months, four hospitals, and one nursing home/rehab stay later, the bills total over $250,000. Twenty percent of that is $50,000 and the patient still isn’t back to work.
You can’t control an accident, or the inevitable effects of aging on your body. But what you can do is lessen the impact on your budget by getting Medicare supplemental insurance.