Is Medicare supplement insurance the right choice for your family? If you need a new insurance plan or want to add on to your existing coverage, take a look at the questions that can help you to decide whether a supplement is your best option or not.
Do You Know What a Supplement Is and What It Covers?
Before you take the next steps, make sure that you're researching the right insurance plan. Seniors who are about to turn 65 (and some other people with certain medical conditions) are eligible for Medicare. But a supplement is not the same thing as an Original Medicare policy.
Original Medicare is a federally funded insurance policy that can help to pay medical costs for people ages 65 and over, some younger people with specific types of disabilities, and people with end-stage renal disease. This coverage includes Part A (or hospital insurance) and Part B (or medical/doctor's visit insurance). Most seniors won't pay a premium for Part A.
Unlike Part A, Part B does require a premium payment. According to the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, in 2023 the standard monthly Part B premium is $164.90. Some people may pay more based on their income level. The premium may also change each year.
A supplement plan is a form of coverage that you have on top of Original Medicare. You will need both Parts A and B before you apply for a supplement. As the name implies, this type of plan supplements the other insurance policies. This reduces or eliminates the need to pay for some out-of-pocket expenses, such as deductibles or coinsurance.
Do You Have Parts A and B?
If you answered no, the first step is to enroll in Original Medicare. Again, if you don't have Parts A and B, you can't choose a supplement policy. To enroll in Parts A and B, you must meet the age (or disability/illness) requirements and sign up during your open enrollment period. The first open enrollment period starts three months before your 65th birthday. Each year there is a general open enrollment period (for people who chose not to sign up before or when they turned 65) from October 15 through December 7. Like the premium prices, these dates may change annually. Some people can sign up during a non-open annulment period. But you may need to pay additional fees.
Do You Have Prescription Drug Coverage Already?
Medicare Parts A and B won't cover the costs of prescription drugs. Even though Medicare supplement plans will pay for some costs not covered by Parts A and B, these policies also won't include prescription medications. If you don't already have prescription drug coverage, you will need to add Part D along with the supplement.
Contact a Medicare supplement insurance provider to find out more.