Recommendations on selecting Medicare Supplemental plan

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DEAR SAVVY SENIOR: I’m planning to enroll in original Medicare in just a few months and have been told I probably have to get a Medicare supplemental policy too. Are you able to offer any recommendations on choosing one?

— Almost 65

DEAR ALMOST: In case you’re enrolling in original Medicare, getting a supplemental policy (also referred to as Medigap insurance), too, is a great idea because it should help pay for things that aren’t covered by Medicare like copayments, coinsurance and the Part A deductible. Listed below are some tricks to enable you to select an appropriate plan.

More Savvy Senior: Some tricks to enable you to pick the appropriate Medicare Advantage plan for you

Medigap plans

In all but three states (Massachusetts, Minnesota and Wisconsin), Medigap plans, that are sold by private health insurers, can be found to latest enrollees in eight different standardized plans. These plans are labeled with the letters A, B, D, G, K, L, M and N, with two more, C and F, which might be only available to those eligible for Medicare before 2020.

Plan G is the most well-liked policy amongst latest enrollees since it covers essentially the most comprehensive range of advantages. Monthly premiums for Plan G typically range between $100 and $300, depending in your age and the state you reside in. If that’s greater than you’re willing to pay, there are also high-deductible plans which have lower premiums but impose higher out-of-pocket costs.

For more information on the differing types of plans and coverage details, including Medigap options in Massachusetts, Minnesota and Wisconsin, go to Medicare.gov/publications and sort in “selecting a medigap policy” within the Keyword box, and download their 2022 guide. Or call 800-MEDICARE and ask them to mail you a duplicate.

select

To select a Medigap policy that works best for you, consider your health, family medical history and your budget. The differences amongst plans might be small and quite confusing.

To enable you to select, go to Medicare.gov/medigap-supplemental-insurance-plans and sort in your ZIP code. This offers you an inventory of the plans available in your area, their price ranges and the names, and phone information of firms that sell them. But to get specific pricing information, you’ll have to contact the carriers directly or call your State Health Insurance Assistance Program. See ShipHelp.org or call 877-839-2675 for contact information.

Since all Medigap policies with the identical letter must cover the very same advantages (it’s required by law), you must shop for the most affordable policy.

You’ll get the perfect price if you happen to join inside six months after enrolling in Medicare Part B. During this open-enrollment period, an insurer cannot refuse to sell you a policy or charge you more due to your health.

You furthermore may need to pay attention to the pricing methods, which can affect your costs. Medigap policies are often sold as either: “community-rated” where everyone in an area is charged the identical premium no matter age; “issue-age-rated” that is predicated in your age whenever you buy the policy, but will only increase as a consequence of inflation, not age; and “attained-age-rated,” that starts premiums low but increases as you age. Community-rate and issue-age-rated policies are the perfect options because they are going to prevent money in the long term.

You’ll be able to buy the plan directly from an insurance company, or you possibly can work with a good insurance broker.

Drug coverage

You furthermore may have to know that Medigap policies don’t cover prescribed drugs, so if you happen to don’t have drug coverage, you’ll have to buy a separate Medicare Part D drug plan, too. See Medicare.gov/plan-compare to check plans. Also note that Medigap plans don’t cover vision, dental care, hearing aids or long-term care.

Alternative option

As an alternative of getting original Medicare, plus a Medigap policy and a separate Part D drug plan, you might join for a Medicare Advantage plan (see medicare.gov/plan-compare) that gives all-in-one coverage. These plans, that are sold by insurance firms, are generally available through HMOs and PPOs that require you to get your care inside a network of doctors.

More: What Medicare does and doesn’t cover in the case of Alzheimer’s disease

Send your senior inquiries to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or go to SavvySenior.org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC “Today” show and creator of “The Savvy Senior” book.

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