Since Medicare has some deep holes in the coverage it provides, you have more opportunities to save with Medicare Supplement Insurance (aka Medigap). These Medigap Plans are designed to pay after Medicare pays for its share of your medical bills so you have fewer out-of-pocket expenses.
Which Medigap Plan Is Right For You?
There are ten Medigap Plans, which all offer different benefits at different prices. To buy smart, start by making a list of your typical medical expenses for the most recent year. That may take some checking of past bills, but it gives you a good idea of what you are actually spending for healthcare. With that in mind, you can look for the right Medigap Plan that focuses on your biggest healthcare costs.
Another way that you can save on healthcare is by taking advantage of preventive services. Stopping a heatlh problem early is usually not only cheaper, but a whole lot easier. Once you’ve found a Medigap Plan that takes a bite out of your out-of-pocket medical costs, look for plans that cover the preventive services you’ll need, like screening for cancer and heart disease. You’re more likely to stay well when you’re monitoring your health with regular check-ups.
Next, see if the plans you like gives you access to the doctors and hospitals you prefer. If so, you’re more likely to keep up with regular check-ups. Medigap Plans usually have a list of medical providers so you can be sure your doctors are on the list.
See what, if any, co-pays apply to visiting doctor offices and emergency rooms. Co-pays are what you pay even with Medicare coverage, such as $20 for doctor office visits and $50 for emergency room trips, and these can add up quickly when you need these services often.
Getting help to pay for Medicare deductibles can mean big savings as well. You have to meet the Medicare Part A deductible when you are admitted to a hospital as an inpatient, and that deductible is $1,100 per illness in 2010. Fortunately, most Medigap Plans reimburse you for this deductible even if the amount increases from year to year.
How Can You Get The Best Value For Your Money With Medigap Insurance?
Keep a separate list for each plan you’re considering. Write down what you actually incurred for doctor office visits, ER trips, hospital admissions, lab tests, prescriptions, and so on. Then check off if a particular Medigap Plan would have covered that cost. Do this with any medical expenses you anticipate this year that you didn’t have previously, too. With this kind of an organized comparison, you can see which plan will save you the most, but you’re not quite through yet.
Insurers charge different prices for the same plan. That means once you’re sure which plan offers you the greatest savings, you need to contact several insurers and compare prices for that plan. When you see the reduction in what you’ve been paying for healthcare, you’ll be glad you took the time to do a little homework.