Original Medicare – Part A, hospital insurance, and Part B, doctor insurance – does not cover all costs. You are responsible for deductibles and copayments; copayments are usually set at 20% for Part B services, with Medicare paying 80%. (You are also responsible for the Part B premium, which is $148.50 per month in 2021.)
Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plans are intended to cover what Original Medicare doesn’t. Unlike Medicare Advantage Plans, they do not offer additional benefits or prescription drug coverage; they just cover some of your out-of-pocket costs with Original Medicare.
How Can I Compare Plans? What Should I Look At?
If you are considering a Medicare Supplement plan, your biggest concern is probably your total cost. That consists of the plan premium and whatever it does not pay. This latter portion is hard to estimate because it depends heavily on your health needs, which are extremely hard to predict. Even so, your Medicare agent should be able to offer you some statistics on what plan enrollees typically must pay out-of-pocket. In general, what you want to do is pick a plan that is likely to minimize your total out-of-pocket costs.
Again, this is hard to predict, but your agent should have some “ballpark” figures. Pick the plan with the lowest total out-of-pocket costs.
You should also consider the coverage provided by each plan. Some Medicare Supplement plans offer more comprehensive coverage than others, so carefully review your own coverage needs to determine which plan may work best for you.
What About Changing Plans?
Even if you find the ideal plan, you need to be aware that once you have passed your Initial Enrollment Period, you’ll enter the Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period, which runs from the first day your Part B coverage is effective and ends six months later. You have guaranteed issue rights during this period. Outside of this period, you can be medically underwritten, which may increase your premium or deny you coverage entirely.
Only certain states offer guaranteed issuance year-round, while others have more restrictive open-enrollment periods linked to your birthday or policy anniversary dates. South Carolina does not fall in either of these categories.
The Coleman Agency Can Help
If you have any further questions about Medicare Supplement plans, contact The Coleman Agency today. We’re here to find you the Medicare plan that works best for you!