Paying for one’s medical expenses out of pocket is normally not such a good idea. This is mainly because one might not always have adequate funds to clear medical bills. However, for patients with health insurance, medical bills are not a problem. Many Americans know about or own the Original Medicare coverage. However, this Medicare insurance does not offer blanket coverage. Some of the costs that you may have to pay out of pocket include co-insurance and co-payments. To plug this gap, private insurance firms came up with Medigap policy.
Medicare policy and Medigap policy are complementary products. However, even when combined, they might not clear 100% of a patient’s medical bills.
Things to Know about Medigap Plans
To get the best out of Medigap, it is necessary to know everything about the policy. Before purchasing Medigap, one should already own Medicare part A and B. For individuals already covered by the Medicare Advantage Plan, it is illegal to own the two policies at the same time. You can avoid this situation by leaving your Medicare Advantage Plan before taking up a Medigap policy. It is also important to note that Medigap covers only one individual. For married couples, each person would have to purchase a Medigap policy.
All Medigap plans are valid as long the policyholder faithfully pays premiums. The only aspect one should be aware of is coverage for prescription drugs. Medigap policies sold after January 1, 2006 do not offer coverage for prescription drugs. However, some people who bought Medigap policies before this date do enjoy prescription drug coverage. If you would like to own this coverage, you should go for Medicare Prescription Drug Plan, which pays for all prescription drugs.
Who is Eligible?
To be eligible for Medigap, you must be at least 64.5 years old. At the same time, you should own the Original Medicare cover. People who own any other health insurance plans such as TRICARE, Medicare Advantage insurance, Veterans Administration benefits, or employer coverage are not eligible for Medigap.
What Does Medigap Cover?
Medigap policies cater for most of the medical expenses not catered for by Medicare policy that you would have paid out of your own pocket. With this in mind, Medigap caters for expenses such as deductibles, co-insurance, and co-payments. Learn more about Medicare Supplement coverage.
When Can You Buy Medigap?
It is advisable to buy a Medigap policy during your six-month enrollment period. In general, this period begins after you turn 65. Before enrolling, you should already own Medicare part B. By enrolling during this period, you would be able to avoid certain medical underwriting practices. This means that your insurance company cannot resort to tactics such as refusing to sell you a Medigap policy or increasing your premiums.
If you really care about your personal health and peace of mind, then you should definitely get a Medigap policy. This policy takes care of most other expenses that you would have to pay out of your own pocket after Medicare pays its share. For many individuals over the age of 65, this can be the difference between receiving quality healthcare and compromising on healthcare. Make sure you purchase your Medigap policy from a licensed insurance company.
To find more information about the Federal Government’s Medicare program, visit their website here or visit your state insurance department’s website. To compare Medigap plans, please enter your zip code into the quote box above and see how much you can save!