What is Medicare and who qualifies for Medicare?
Medicare is a federally formed and funded health insurance plan that covers Americans 65 and over, as well as some younger people with certain disabilities and diseases. Originating in 1965, Medicare was put into place to assist senior citizens with their medical expenses such as visits to the physician, prescription drugs, and hospital stays. Benefits provided through Medicare are divided into four sections, A, B, C, and D.
Part A is hospital insurance and generally premium-free, assisting beneficiaries with inpatient hospital care, hospice care, some skilled nursing facility care, and some home health care. With Part B’s medical insurance coverage, for a monthly premium beneficiaries can receive assistance to pay for doctors and nursing services, outpatient care and medical treatment, lab tests, and medical equipment. Part C lets private insurance companies approved by Medicare offer low-cost alternatives to a part A and B combination administered by the government. Part D offers prescription drug benefits though private health insurance companies approved by Medicare, allowing beneficiaries greater access to affordable and medically necessary drugs.
Who needs Medicare supplement insurance?
Medicare is not designed to cover all of its beneficiaries’ health care expenses, and co-payments, deductibles and additional medical charges can quickly make paying for medical necessities a struggle for many seniors.
To alleviate some of this financial burden, Medicare supplement insurance (sometimes referred to as “Medigap”), was created to fill in the gaps left within existing Medicare coverage, Part A and B. A beneficiary must be enrolled in Medicare Part A and B to enroll in one of several Medicare Supplement Insurance plans which are standardized by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and offer different combinations of benefits covering items like co-payments, overseas medical care, and home care. Though these policies are standardized, there can be a significant difference in the amount of premiums charged by the various insurance companies administering these plans.
What are the benefits of purchasing a Medicare supplement insurance policy?
Medicare supplement insurance helps beneficiaries pay for health care costs that the original Medicare plan does not cover, including co-payments, coinsurance and deductibles, making it more affordable to receive medical care. It is a safe investment because every Medicare supplement insurance policy must adhere to rules set out by Federal and state laws put into place to protect Medicare beneficiaries. The benefits packages offered by Medicare supplement insurance companies are standardized, making it easy to compare and contrast pricing between various providers, and these Medicare supplement insurance policies are guaranteed renewable, meaning that even if you have health problems insurance companies can’t cancel your policy as long as you continue making your scheduled premium payments.
What are the different types of Medicare supplement insurance available?
Effective June 1, 2010, Medicare supplement insurance is divided into ten different packages labeled A through M, each offering a different set of benefits ranging from standard to full-coverage. All policies allow for hospital coverage up to 365 days after standard Medicare coverage is up, and preventative care Part B coinsurance. From there the policies offer differing amounts of coverage and benefits such as skilled nursing care coinsurance and foreign travel emergency coverage.
How has Medicare supplement insurance changed since June, 2010
In June of 2010 the Federal government enacted several revisions to Medicare supplement insurance’s standardized offerings, eliminating four existing plans (E, H, I, and J) and adding two new plans (M and N). In addition, they eliminated home recovery and preventative care benefits from all plans, added a hospice care benefit to the basic benefits of plans A through G, and increased the excess charges benefit found in Plan G to 100 percent coverage. These new benefits packages will be priced the same way as other policies.