GAP PLANS – MEDICARE SUPPLEMENTAL INSURANCE
Some Medicare Supplemental Insurance plans are also known as Gap Plans. If you have decided to look for, and choose, the type of supplemental insurance that best benefits you, a Gap Plan may be something to consider.
One of the types of insurance to supplement basic Medicare insurance is called Medicare Medigap Plan. These types of plans are offered to you by private insurance companies, in conjunction with and approval of Medicare. The Gap Plans cover those areas that leave you responsible for co-pays and deductibles not covered by the basic Medicare coverage. Your Medicare Medigap Plan is a secondary payer to help you cover more of your medical expenses.
The federal government, and Medicare, allows twelve plans, reviewed and standardized to help you make an easier decision. Because of this standardization the company providing your Medicare Medigap Plan is not the important point of decision. Since the plans are basically the same, the difference is the amount of premium you will have to pay.
For example, a Medicare Medigap Plan with one company could have a significantly higher premium than what is charged by another company, even though the benefits are basically the same. With a Plan F Medicare Medigap Plan you pay a monthly premium but have no co-pays for doctors and specialist or medical services or hospital stays. That means only a fixed monthly premium is what you pay. You would incur no other charges as long as the medical condition is covered by original Medicare.
Careful review of these Medicare Medigap Plans is strongly suggested because some plans do have certain non-basic Medicare services covered and require co-pays for those types of items. In some cases this can lower the monthly premium amount. The point is that flexibility exists in the plans so that you may choose a plan that fits your economic situation, your lifestyle and the status of your health. Some people prefer a plan with only a fixed premium to be paid monthly. Other seniors that are still quite healthy prefer a plan with low, or even zero premium, but more co-pays that other plans require. Regardless of what plan you choose, the truth is that Medicare Medigap Plans help you know what out of pocket costs will be for your health care in each year. If your medical situation changes sometime during the year, you can switch in the last quarter of the year to a new and different plan that fits your changed medical situation.
If you have made a decision to have a Medicare Supplemental Insurance plan, you should also consider a Part D plan that stands on its own to cover those types of expenses. Failure to have all the types of coverage could result in you having higher premiums in the future or even being assessed penalty payments.
Take the time to review your options and alternatives as relevant to choosing a Medicare Supplemental Insurance plan. It could be the most financially responsible decision you will make this year.
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