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Medicare Supplements

Original Medicare leaves behind about 20% of the cost of most healthcare services, which is where Medicare Supplements come in.

Also known as Medigap, these plans kick in to cover the healthcare costs left behind by Original Medicare.

So, if you’re aging into Medicare, or already enrolled, it may be worth your time to educate yourself on these cost-saving plans.

When to buy Medicare Supplements

The absolute best time to buy a Medigap plan is when you first become eligible. You can buy them anytime after you become eligible, but then you will be subjected to medical underwriting. If you apply when you’re first eligible, you are not allowed to be asked any health questions and are guaranteed issue.

So, when are you first eligible? 

You are eligible for Medicare Supplements when you are 65 or older and are enrolled in Medicare Part B. Your open enrollment, guaranteed issue period lasts for six months after you are first enrolled in Part B.

What do Medigap plans cover?

These plans cover from 50% to 100% of:

  • Medicare Part A coinsurance 

  • Medicare Part B coinsurance

  • Blood (first three pints)

  • Part A hospice care coinsurance

  • Skilled nursing facility coinsurance

  • Medicare Part A deductible

  • Medicare Part B deductible *

  • Medicare Part B excess charges

 

*Plans offering this coverage are no longer available to those who turn 65 on or after January 1, 2020.

 

Some plans also offer 80% coverage of a foreign travel emergency (up to plan limits).

It’s important to remember, these plans do not cover the care itself. They simply kick in additional coverage for the cost after Original Medicare pays its share.

So, Medigap doesn’t offer payment for anything Original Medicare does not cover itself.

What do they NOT cover?

Some things that are not covered by Original Medicare or your supplement plan:

  • Routine dental, vision, and hearing exams

  • Hearing aids

  • Retail prescription drugs

  • Long-term care or custodial care

Which Medicare Supplement Plan should I choose?

If you’re simply going for the most amount of coverage possible, Plan F is the most comprehensive.

However, if you turned 65 on January 1, 2020 or later (or otherwise became eligible for Medicare after this date), you can no longer purchase this coverage.

But if you are still eligible, Plan F covers 100% of Original Medicare’s leftover costs for:

  • Original Medicare Part A’s deductible

  • Part B deductible

  • Part B excess charges

  • Part A coinsurance and hospital costs up to an additional 365 days after Medicare’s benefits are all used up

  • Part B coinsurance or copayments

  • First three pints of blood used in an approved medical procedure

  • Skilled nursing facility coinsurance

 

And it also 80% of a foreign travel emergency (up to plan limits).

If you are not eligible for Plan F, Plan G is the most comprehensive coverage. It has the same coverage other than it does not cover Medicare Part B’s deductible, which is $198 in 2020.

So, even if you do qualify for Plan F, you may be able to save more money with Plan G. If you save more than $16.50 per month by going with Plan G, you’ll save more money in the long run.