Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans
Medicare supplemental health insurance is the health insurance taken in addition to the Medicare insurance. Supplemental refers to the add-on nature of the insurance; it supports the Medicare insurance by paying for costs that are not covered by Medicare. These include charges such as deductibles, copayments and coinsurance. Because it helps pay for gaps in the cost and reimbursements of the Medicare insurance, it is also called Medigap insurance. Private health insurers offer supplemental insurance plans; the prices for the plans vary from one insurer to another even for the same plan. Finding out the right plan is important from two aspects: getting the right supplemental insurance plan for your requirements, and getting it at the lowest cost.
Different Medicare Supplemental Insurance Plans
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMMS), the federal agency that administrators the Medicare program, has standardized the supplemental insurance plans into 10 plan types. These standardized plans are offered by private insurers as insurance products. The plans are named from A to N, with the plans names with E, H, I and J discontinued after May 31, 2010. Therefore, we have 10 plans named A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M and N. Plan F can be further divided into F and F with high deductible, which makes for a total of 11 plans.
The plans differ in the types of benefits they offer. The benefits can be divided under the following heads: Basic benefits, Skilled Nursing Care, Medicare Part A deductible, Part B deductible, Part B Excess Charges, Foreign Travel and Preventative Services. Even the basic benefits offered under different plans differ from one to another. For example, the Plan A offers just basic benefits, but is costlier than F deductible, which offers basic benefits in addition to other benefits. This is possible because plan A has more basic benefits.
Price Comparisons for Medigap Insurance Plans
Private companies offer different supplement insurance plans at different costs. Even for the same plan with exact same features, the monthly premiums can vary to a factor of up to 2x. For example, the Medigap K is available for a monthly premium of $85 to $165. This shows that among the many companies that offer K, at least one is offering it at a monthly premium of just $85 per month, whereas the same standardized plan with the same features is also on offer at a premium of $165 per month.
With so many different plans on offer, and the complexity of dozens of insurance companies offering the same plans at different prices, it becomes hard to find the best supplemental plan for your requirement. Therefore, it becomes all the more important to shop judiciously to get the plan that not only meets your requirements, but is also easy on your pocket.