If you already have Original Medicare, you might be considering purchasing an additional Medicare Supplement policy. It’s important to familiarize yourself with this type of policy beforehand to better understand its coverage options.
What is a Medicare Supplement insurance policy?
A Medicare Supplement policy is separate from Original Medicare and differs from a Medicare Advantage plan. It can help pay some of the health care costs that Original Medicare doesn’t cover, including coinsurance, copayments, or deductibles.1
There are a total of 10 standardized Medicare Supplement insurance policy types available in 47 states.1 In Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, these policies are standardized in a different way.3 Additionally, it’s important to note Medicare policies are sold by private insurance companies. In order to purchase one, you must already have Medicare Part A and Part B.1
6 factors to consider when choosing a Medicare Supplement insurance policy.
The first factor to consider when choosing a Medicare Supplement insurance policy is the cost. How much are the premiums, deductibles, and other costs? You’ll also want to consider how much you pay for services like hospital stays or doctor visits.2 It’s important to note there are almost no out-of-pocket limits on Original Medicare or Medicare Supplement. The two exceptions are Plan K and Plan L.
However, this type of policy generally doesn’t cover cost-sharing under other types of health coverage, including:3
- Medicare Advantage policies
- Stand-alone Medicare Part D prescription drug plans
- Employer/union group health coverage
Another factor to consider is coverage. You’ll want to ask yourself: How well does the policy cover the services you need?
Typically, a Med-Supp policy doesn’t cover long-term care, vision or dental care, hearing aids, eyeglasses, or private-duty nursing.3
However, having a Med-Supp policy provides many advantages.
For example, it can help save money for those people needing high-cost or frequent care.2 Additionally, any standardized Med-Supp policy is guaranteed renewable even if you have health problems.1 It usually can’t be canceled, as long as you continue to pay the premium. One of the most noted benefits of Med-Supp is that you’re typically able to go to any doctor or healthcare provider that accepts Medicare assignment, unless you have a Medicare SELECT plan. Also, Med-Supp usually covers treatments at major medical facilities as well. Furthermore, a referral from your doctor typically isn’t a requirement to see a specialist, and you can generally receive medical services in any state or U.S. territory.2
3. Your other coverage
If you have other health or prescription drug coverage, you’ll need to understand how it works with your Med-Supp policy.
To better understand your coverage, you should contact your insurance company or a licensed insurance agent.
4. Doctor and hospital choice
When it comes to choosing your doctors and hospitals you’ll want to consider a few factors:
- Do your doctors accept Medicare?
- Are the doctors you’re wanting to see accepting new patients?
- Do you have to choose your hospital and health care providers from a network?
Another question you might have is whether you need to get referrals. With a Med-Supp policy, a referral from your doctor usually isn’t required to see a specialist.2
To know exactly what your policy includes, contact your insurance company or a licensed insurance agent for more information.
5. Quality of care
When it comes to your health, the quality of your care is important. Whether it’s a basic check-up or an emergency, you’ll likely want to make sure you’re receiving the best care possible.
Ultimately, ask yourself, “Am I satisfied with the quality of my care?” This will help you make a decision when choosing a policy.
Are you a frequent traveler?
If so, it could be beneficial to look into purchasing a Med-Supp policy. You may be able to purchase a policy that offers travel coverage. Carefully review your policy to understand what is included in your policy.
Making a decision
Educating yourself on Med-Supp policies will ultimately help you decide which one is best for you. No matter which policy you choose, know your insurance company or a local insurance agent can be there to help you every step of the way.
Your style is your choice. Shouldn't your doctor and your coverage be, too?
Learn more about Medicare Supplement insurance options.
1. medicare.gov, 2021 Guide to choosing a Medigap Policy, 2021
2. medicare.gov, Consider These 7 Things When Choosing Coverage, accessed August 2021
3. medicare.gov, What’s Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap)?, accessed August 2021