The Ins and Outs of Medicare Supplemental Insurance

If you’re approaching the age of 65 or have just turned 65-years old, you have no doubt been pelted with various literature advising you to enroll in Medicare Advantage and/or choose a Medicare supplemental insurance plan. Navigating the seas of Medicare Advantage and Medicare supplemental insurance can seem rather overwhelming, but with the following simple pointers you’ll be able to choose the right plan, and sail off into your golden years well-prepared and worry-free. Remember, you’re never too young to start researching your Medicare supplemental insurance options.

When searching for Medicare supplement insurance for seniors, it is important to keep in mind there are hundreds of options to choose from, and with many seniors living on fixed budgets, costs can really matter. While Medicare supplemental plans are standardized and regulated by the federal government, there are some variations that occur due to additional state’s regulations.

Double- and Triple-Check for the Best Deal

It may seem easy to just reach out and sign up for the first supplemental Medicare insurance plan you find, but trust me, patience will pay off here. It is nearly impossible to over-stress how important it is to compare Medicare supplement plans before choosing the best one for you. There are quite a few resources readily available both on the Internet and in person. One major resource that is used is www.Medicare.gov where you can find information regarding all aspects of Medicare. On another site there is even a nifty tool to assist in the planning of long-term care. The good thing about databases like these is that they contain a wealth of information. The not-so-good thing about databases is that they sometimes contain so much information it can sometimes take a little while to find the answer to your exact question. In circumstances like this, our next tip is essential.

When in Doubt, Give a Person a Shout

In addition to online databases, there is a wide variety of human resources just a phone call or email away. In order to get the best answer to your question it is recommended that you consult with one of the national groups that specialize in Medicare insurance. An excellent resource is the Senior Advisors Group. This insurance agency deals exclusively with Medicare supplemental, Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage plans. Because of their expertise, this agency as well as others quickly and (more importantly!) correctly answer any query whether it’s about Medicare Advantage, choosing the best Medicare supplemental insurance plan, or even questions about Medicare Part D (Medicare’s prescription plan). So next time you’re confused about your options, just pick up the phone and make a call!

Do I Really Need Medicare Supplemental Insurance?

Yes! So how does this relate to Medicare’s coverage? There is a general rule of thumb that is called the “80/20 rule.” Outside of some of the preventative items like mammograms, colorectal screenings, and some psychiatric care, Medicare covers the first 80 percent of medical bills, leaving you to cover the last 20 percent. Medicare will also cover certain medically-necessary pieces of equipment like seat lift mechanisms and diabetic shoes (fitted by a specialist, of course). It doesn’t seem so bad at first, especially if you’re a healthy individual, but if something happens that requires you to need urgent medical care or even an operation, you may have to spend tens- to hundreds-of-thousands of dollars. A June 2011 report from the Kaiser Family Foundation predicted that by the year 2020 the median out-of-pocket spending for seniors with Medicare is projected to reach 26 percent of all income, with the most money being spent in the last five years of their life. This is why supplemental Medicare insurance is a necessity for every senior. Not only do you really need Medicare supplemental insurance, you need it before something happens to you, and you likely won’t use it much until the last 5 years of life. So two points to keep in mind 1) If you wait until a procedure is needed or something unexpected happens to you, you’ve waited too long, and 2) Don’t make the mistake of cancelling your Medicare supplement policy because you’ve’ paid in more than you use. It’s health insurance and in this case it works best if it’s held to its natural end point.

So What Is the Best Medicare Supplement Plan for Me?

If you’re still wondering which Medicare supplement plan is the best Medicare supplement plan for you, the answer is: it really depends on your specific needs and preferences! This is why you need to compare Medicare supplement plans, Medicare Advantage plans and Medicare Part D plans thoroughly before making a decision. Depending on your specific needs there is a variety of choices that could fit. As they say, sometimes a good offense is to have a good defense, so don’t wait until the last minute to take care of finding a Medicare supplemental insurance plan. Pick up the phone and start to compare Medicare supplement plans today and you’ll be sure to have many happy, healthy tomorrows.

About the author: Simone is a writer and researcher who has written for various companies about Medicare supplemental insurance, home security systems, travel, and personal safety. Her opinions can be found throughout various industry forums and blogs.