Why a Medical Supplement Plan is Worthwhile
By Laura McElroy

You may be wondering whether having a Medical Supplement plan is really worthwhile. Original Medicare has some gaps in coverage and it doesn’t cover deductibles, co-payments or co-insurance. If you don’t have a Medical Supplement plan, you will have to pay the difference yourself. 

Deductibles, co-payments and co-insurance

Medicare Part A covers up to 60 days in hospital but you have to pay a deductible. If you have to stay in the hospital for longer than 60 days, you start paying a daily co-payment for hospital care. If your stay lasts over 150 days, you run out of coverage altogether. 

Under Medicare Part B, you also pay a deductible and then it only pays 80% of approved services which means you are responsible for paying the other 20%. This includes doctor’s visits, blood tests, ER visits, X-rays and surgeries. There is no cap on this 20% either, which means it can become a real burden when dealing with an illness like cancer. 

10 Medical Supplement plans

Most Medical Supplement plans are renewable for life. If you pay your premium, you can’t be denied coverage because of your age or health issues. Ten different plans are standardized by the government and available under the letters A to N. 

All the insurance carriers who offer such plans must give the same coverage within the plan letter. Once Medicare has paid, your Medical Supplement plan covers most of what remains for any Medicare-approved charges. An advantage is you can see any doctor that participates in Medicare. 

Medicare Supplement with the most coverage

Russell Noga created Medisupps in 2009 and has helped thousands of people with coverage-related issues. He says it is worth comparing plans because although they offer the same coverage, the rates may be different. 

Plan F is a very popular plan because it is the only one that offers full coverage on all supplemental expenses. However, it has been partially discontinued since January 2020 and only those who had a plan already were able to renew it. 

Noga recommends Plan G, which has taken the place of Mutual of Omaha Medicare supplement plan F as its most popular plan. Plan G is similar to Plan F in many ways and is not being discontinued. 

It offers everything Plan F offers except for the Medicare Part B deductible and has a relatively low monthly premium. Many people don’t mind paying the Part B deductible in return for the lower premiums than they would have to pay with Plan F. 

Medicare Supplement costs

Each insurance company sets its own rates. As cover is extensive, it stands to reason that Medicare Supplements will cost more than some other types of coverage. 

It is important to look not only at current rates offered by carriers but also the history of rate increases. You want to choose a carrier that has a low trend rate as well as a competitive current rate. 

Medicare Supplement eligibility

To be eligible for Medical Supplement cover, you need to be over the age of 65 and enrolled in Medicare Part B. An open enrolment period starts on the first day of the month in which you turn 65 and lasts for six months. 

If you apply in the open period, the insurer can’t turn you down for any pre-existing health problems. After this period, you are required to answer health questions that could affect your eligibility. 

If you’re asking yourself whether you really need a Medicare Supplement plan, consider whether you can really afford to pay 20% of approved services with no annual cap. 

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