April 2021
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A short Discussion on Medicare and Medicare Supplement Plans

To talk about Medicare and Medicare Supplement Plans, the first thing that we need to know is what is Medicare? The answer is almost known to all. But still let us define it a little. Actually Medicare is the health insurance for people about the age of 65 or older. This is also a health insurance for people under the age of 65 with certain disabilities. This is also applicable for people of any age with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) such as permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a kidney transplant. The Original Medicare plans covers most of the health care services costs. As for example impatient care in hospitals, skilled nursing facility, hospice, and home health care, costs for prescription drugs, etc. It may also help lower your prescription drug costs and help protect against higher costs in the future.

Though the Original Medicare covers many of the costs for health care services, but still there remains certain costs or gaps that are not covered by the Original Medicare policies. And to cope up with these costs there is the need of having Medicare Supplement Plans. The Medicare Supplement Plans helps you fill up these gaps so that one can easily meet the health care costs. And because of this very feature the Medicare Supplement Plans they are also known as the Medigap policies. These are private health care policies, which are designed to supplement original Medicare plans. These policies are specially designed to cover some of the basic benefits and more especially to fill up the gaps left behind the original Medicare plans. But it should be kept in mind that a Medigap policy is only a supplementary plan to the original Medicare plans and does not provide the total coverage of a Medicare policy. Therefore it means that you need to be under the original Medicare policy in order to get enrolled under a Medigap plan. Medicare will pay its share of the health care costs and the things that are left behind would be covered by the Medicare supplement plans.

Along with these there is another thing that is to be kept in mind and it is that Medigap policy is not in any way related to Medicare advantage plan. Medicare Advantage Plans like HMO or PPO plans are different from Medicare supplement plans. And this is because it is not a way to get Medicare benefits. Moreover, if you switch over from original Medicare to Medicare Advantage Plan, you no longer can use Medigap policy to cover deductibles, copayments, or coinsurance under the Medicare Advantage Plan. And if you already have Medicare Advantage Plan, then it would be illegal for any insurance company to sell you a Medigap policy unless you switch back to Medicare Original Plan. Therefore it can be said that the Medicare Supplement Plans are directly linked to Original Medicare plan.

Moreover, the Medicare Supplement Plans are solely sold and administered by the private insurance companies but they are only allowed to sell 12 standard Medigap plans under the letter cover A through L. Each of these Medigap plans have different policy coverage but the benefits and coverage of the plans are the same under the same letter cover irrespective of the insurance company selling it. Though the amount of premium may differ.

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