Thursday, July 19, 2012

Ensuring You Have The Coverage You Need

Purchasing health care coverage is one of the most daunting tasks.  Navigating through health insurance companies, choosing coverage and ensure you have received the best coverage at the best price, with the best service.  This is all a bit overwhelming.  It doesn’t get any easier dealing with Medigap supplement insurance plans either. There are a number of policies to choose from and a variety of private insurance companies willing to sell you the coverage.  This makes it all the more frustrating when seeking out coverage that makes since to fill in the gaps left by your Medicare Part A and Part B coverage. 

Medicare is government sponsored insurance for seniors who are eligible and have reached the age of sixty-five.  You can also become eligible for Medicare if you are under sixty-five and become permanently disabled.  The one issue that arises with Medicare coverage is that it does not cover everything.  To fill in these holes the government has come up with supplemental insurance policies that can be purchased on an individual basis.  These plans are meant to fill in the gaps that Medicare Part A, hospital insurance, and Medicare Part B, medical insurance, leave behind.

Medigap is the policies that are put into place to fill in the gaps in health care expenses left behind by Medicare.  Medigap plans are private and are offered by a variety if insurance companies. These policies pay for the minor details that add up quickly for seniors living on a set income.  Items such as co-pays, hospital stays and deductibles are not covered with Medicare. What happens in an ideal situation is that Medicare covers a majority of the expenses and your Medigap policy kicks into effect to cover what is left over.  This alleviates the out of pocket stress.  

One thing to remember with Medigap policies is that they are strictly regulated by state and federal laws that are designed to protect individual Medicare users.  There are a variety of Medigap plans to choose from and each is designated by a letter of the alphabet.  Don’t be fooled.  The plan coverage is the same no matter who sells the insurance.  Medigap Supplement Plan G is the same through company A, B or C.  The difference comes in the cost of the insurance to you.  

It is important to remember when comparing Medigap plans that the less expensive a plan has fewer benefits and higher out-of-pocket costs.  More expensive plans include extra benefits, like coverage for routine checkups, deductibles and at-home care services.  There are several sources online that allow you to compare Medigap plans and rates without giving personal information.  This tool is valuable especially during the introductory phases of enrolling in Medicare. 

Having health insurance coverage is a must to avoid becoming indebted to medical facilities.  Health insurance, including Medicare and Medigap supplemental plans alleviate the need to put off doctors visits or necessary surgeries until you can financially afford them.  With coverage there is no need to worry about catastrophes.  You are covered.  Medigap ensure the same thing to Medicare holders.  The gaps are nothing to worry about when you have purchased insurance to fill in the holes left behind. 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Navigating The Medigap and Medicare Advantage Maze

The Medicare maze is long and twisting. Understanding the reason you are taking the path you are on is something that is necessary to ensure your coverage is up to par with your needs.  The reason Medicare is often confusing to many is because of the choices you are given in regards to health care plans.   One major obstacle is to determine if you would rather choose Medicare with Medigap Supplement Insurance plans or choose an all inclusive option such as Medicare Advantage.  It is important to understand both options thoroughly to know if you are making the right choice.

First let’s talk about Medicare Advantage.  Often times at first glance the Medicare Advantage program looks like a cheaper option for better coverage.  This may not always be the case though.  The one thing about the Medicare Advantage program is that the premiums may increase over time and you are locked into them.  Another item to think about is the often higher co-pays that come along with the Medicare Advantage plans.  This plan is ideal for candidates whom already have a doctor in the network caring for them.  With Medicare Advantage you need to choose who you see based upon who contracts with Medicare to provide you coverage.  Not all doctors are covered.  This is true in regards to specialists as well.  You must see a doctor that has a contract within the Medicare network of doctors.

Medigap refers to the plans that fill in the holes left with traditional Medicare Part A and Part B.  Medigap Supplemental Policies are identified using a letter of the alphabet.  It is insurance that is sold through private insurance companies.  Something to be aware of however is that the government has standardized each Medigap Plan.  This is important because although the health insurance companies may have a different price on the plan the coverage and benefits you receive are the exact same from company to company.

This makes comparing policies a bit easier because you know that no matter what the Medigap Plan is going to be the same no matter where it is purchased.  The decision really comes down to a company and price you are willing to purchase the insurance from and which plan out of the available plans fills in the holes left by Medicare that you need filled in. 

When looking into insurance companies to purchase a Medigap policy from make sure to compare the rates of several companies. It is important to note that some insurance companies add in a clause that the premiums will or will not rise with age.  Many plans increase rates with inflation however it is best to find a company whom has a reasonable price for their coverage, good service and a clause that the premiums will not raise because of the participants age bracket.  Otherwise the limited income you are living on could need to feed a higher Medigap premium in the future.  

Choosing a Medigap Supplement Insurance plan is not an easy thing to do.  Many online sources offer side by side comparisons of the different options available with not only a plan comparison but a cost comparison quote from several insurance companies.  IT is best to work online with a company that offers online support as well as telephone support when look into compare rates and view Medigap plans.  This was if a question come up you will be able to have it handled promptly.  It also helps remove impassable paths  to get you to the finish line sooner in the Medicare maze.