What Uncovered Costs Do Medicare Supplemental Plans Provide For?

Medicare supplemental plans pay most costs Medicare Parts A and B don’t pay. There’s a catch – buy it before your health deteriorates.

It was never considered that Medicare should pay 100 percent of all medical costs. Part A, for which you don’t have to pay extra, covers hospital care, after application of a deductible. Part B, for which you have to pay extra each month, covers outpatient medical services after application of a deductible and/or co-payment. Generally, you will be required to pay 20 percent of the amount that Medicare allows for that service. Repeat, you don’t have to pay 20 percent of what the doctor bills, just of the amount that Medicare has allowed for that procedure or service.

Will medicare supplemental plans always be available to me?

No. These policies are not issued by the government, but by private insurers, although they must meet government standards. They have some medical questions you must answer, such as “Has any doctor recommended a joint replacement operation to you?” or “Have you had treatment for skin cancer in the past year?” A “yes” answer to either of these disqualifies you. Obviously, the insurance companies are seeking to limit their exposure to immediate large expenses. In comparing medicare supplemental plans, bear in mind that Medicare has required that insurers standardize their policies. Basically, what you are comparing is their cost.

Are medicare supplemental plans a good buy for me?

This depends upon your situation. Generally speaking, you should have a record of your medical costs for several years for comparison in order to determine if this is a good buy for you. Always keep in mind, though, that you might not be able to qualify for this insurance later.

www.medicare.gov is a website that allows you to compare original medicare with medicare advantage plans available in your area. This information includes an estimated out-of-pocket cost for each policy, which will help in determining whether medicare supplemental plans are worth exploring for you.

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