What is the Best Medicare Supplemental Insurance?

rx pad with stethoscope

What if you could protect yourself better in your golden years?

Many of us rely on Medicare for various medical needs as we get older. However, there are certain things that Medicare doesn't cover.  You need to pick the right supplemental insurance to prepare for this.

But how can you find the best Medicare supplemental insurance? Who qualifies for these special supplements? Keep reading to discover the answers!

What Is Medicare Supplemental Insurance?

Medicare supplemental insurance is special coverage designed to help you pay for what your Original Medicare didn't cover. Such insurance is one of the best ways you can save money on out-of-pocket expenses.

The exact Medicare supplemental insurance options available are determined by the government. There are 10 different supplement plan options, and it is up to each person to determine which plan is right for themselves and their needs.

Like other forms of insurance, Medicare supplemental insurance requires that you pay a monthly premium. If you are on a budget, it's important to find a plan that will actually save you money over time. 

Who Qualifies For Medicare Supplemental Insurance?

You must be 65 years old or older to qualify for Medicare supplemental insurance. Alternatively, you may be under 65 and receiving disability benefits and/or have been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or end-stage renal disease. Finally, you must be enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B but not enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan.

Beyond the basic qualifications, it's important to have existing health insurance before you apply for Medicare. Otherwise, this could cause a delay of up to six months before your supplemental coverage insurance kicks in.

You can enroll in Medicare supplemental insurance at any time so long as you meet the qualifications above. That's important because it means you don't have to wait for a special enrollment period to sign up.

What Is Medigap Insurance?

"Medigap insurance" is just another term for Medicare supplemental insurance. It has this name because the supplemental plans are meant to help you fill in the gaps in your insurance coverage.

It's important to reach out to a good insurance provider who can answer your questions if you ever get confused about different insurance terms. And the world of insurance can often be very confusing to anyone who doesn't work in the industry.

Why Would I Need Supplemental Insurance?

A Medicare supplemental insurance plan can save you money by reducing how much you have to pay in out-of-pocket expenses. And different plans may do things like expanding your coverage beyond America.

When you first start using Medicare, you'll quickly discover that it doesn't cover all of your expenses. And every dollar matters if you are on a fixed income. The right Medicare supplemental insurance can effectively put more money back in your pocket.

And if you think you may need supplemental insurance in the next few years, you may want to go ahead and get it. That's because if you were to develop a health condition in the future, insurance providers would potentially be able to deny you coverage. But once you sign up for the supplemental insurance, you will keep it as long as you pay the premium ( regardless of your overall health).

Do These Plans Differ Across Insurance Providers?

One of the best things about Medicare supplemental insurance is that it is standardized by the federal government.  The same 10 plans are available to choose from regardless of which insurance carrier you go through. However, not every plan is available in every state.

When you decide to choose a Medicare supplemental insurance plan, it's important to make sure it is available in your area via your chosen carrier. And part of why it is so important is that most with this supplemental insurance keep it in the long-term.

Remember when we said that your carrier can't deny you coverage later on so long you make your payments? If you switch to a new carrier after developing a health condition, you may be denied coverage. So you have a powerful incentive to find the right insurance carrier and effectively lock down the plan that you need.

Let's review which of the 10 supplemental insurance plans are best for certain applicants.

A Supplement Plan For New Applicants

Are you relatively new to Medicare and looking to find the right supplemental insurance? In that case, Plan G will be your best bet.

Plan G supplemental insurance is designed to cover everything except your Medicare Part B deductible. So once you meet that deductible (which is $233 as of the time of this writing), your insurance kicks in and takes care of the rest.

What's the catch? Simply put, Plan G is usually the most expensive of the supplemental insurance plans because it covers so much. As with any insurance, it's important to weigh the cost of your monthly premium with how much money this particular plan can save you.

Best Supplement Plan For Medicare Veterans

Have you had Medicare before 2020? In that case, you are likely better off going with Plan F supplemental insurance.

Plan F is specifically designed to cover the things that would typically be out-of-pocket expenses. This includes things like your deductible. Most who are on this plan enjoy the fact that they can go to the doctor without getting "nickel and dimed" with many different expenses.

As useful as this plan is, it has two catches. The first is that it can be even more expensive than Plan G and the second is that it isn't available to anyone who got Medicare in 2020 or later.  This may be the coverage you are looking for if you're a Medicare veteran sick of paying out-of-pocket expenses. 

Best Supplement Plan If You're On A Budget

It can be difficult to find the balance between paying too much on your supplemental insurance and actually saving money. If you're on a relatively strict budget, your best supplemental insurance is likely to be plan K.

Plan K offers a smaller coverage for certain things. For example, it pays 50% on your Part A deductible, skilled nursing, Part B coinsurance, and more. This is in contrast to other supplemental insurance plans that usually offer fuller coverage on select things.

So, the built-in "downside" of Plan K is that it offers lesser coverage than other supplement plans. However, it is much more affordable, making it a good choice for those on a strict budget. But if you know you will need a lot of something Plan K covers 50% on (such as skilled nursing), you may be better off with another plan altogether.

Best Alternative To Plan G

Plan G is great for those who can afford it and those who have had Medicare before 2020. If you don't qualify for Plan G, your best alternative would be to get Plan N supplemental insurance.

Plan N does almost everything that Plan G does with one major exception. Specifically, Plan N does not cover the excess Medicare Part B charges that Plan G covers.

While that lack of coverage can be annoying, Plan N is cheaper than Plan G and (unlike Plan G) available to new applicants. And so long as you verify with your doctor that he will accept the Medicare-approved amount for services, you can reduce how much you end up having to pay.

How To Choose the Best Medicare Supplemental Insurance

These are just a few of the different supplemental insurance plans you can get. But how can anyone choose the best Medicare supplemental insurance for their particular needs?

First, you should consider your budget. If you are on a fixed income or another strict budget, this will play a major role in which plans you can afford.

Second, you should take stock of your current health and current medical needs. Different supplemental insurance plans cover different things, so it's best to find one that helps cover your particular needs.

Third, and finally, you should consider your future health needs. Is there anything in your family history to indicate health troubles you will have in the future? If so, it's best to get the right supplemental insurance plan to cover these issues before they develop.

Get the Insurance You Need Today!

Now you know how to select the best Medicare supplemental insurance. But do you know where you can find an insurance carrier that meets both your needs and your budget?

Here at Hummel, we're here to help you make the most of your golden years. We can walk you through options and help you select the best plan to fit your specific needs and budget.  To discover what we can do for you and your family, contact us today!