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Understanding Medicare Supplemental Insurance

If you are 65 years old, or older, you have probably learned that Medicare Parts A and B does not pay for all your medical expenses. That is why many people choose to obtain supplemental insurance. How do these plans work? Are they worthwhile? Before you go out and buy a supplemental policy, let’s talk about them for a few moments.

Supplemental policies, often referred to as Medigap policies, are sold by private insurance companies. They are not programs of the Federal government. They are designed to supplement your Medicare coverage. Many of these supplemental policies pay deductibles and cover co-insurance payments. Because the policies vary widely from state to state, it’s important to find the policy that is right for you.

Supplemental policies work hand-in-hand with Parts A and B of Medicare by enhancing the existing benefits. Medicare, as the primary policy, pays first. What is left over needs to be paid out of pocket or by a Medigap policy. Sadly, the older we grow, the more we spend on our healthcare. Therefore most people agree that supplemental insurance is important.

Most supplemental policies cover only medical procedures. They do not cover vision care or dental procedures. You may find, however, a few very innovative packages that provide dental or vision care in your area. If these benefits are important to you, ask your insurance agent.

How do you obtain supplemental insurance? First off, you must be enrolled in Medicare Parts A & B. Your Medigap policy must be identified as a supplemental policy to your Medicare coverage. And remember, each policy covers only one person. So if you are a married couple, you must each obtain a supplemental policy.

Before you purchase any insurance, make sure you compare policies and premiums. You want to ensure that the policy you choose provides the basic coverage you need. Go over all of the details with your insurance agent before making your decision. As a rule, you can only change your policy one time a year.