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Why should you choose Medicare Supplement plans for 2019? We’re going to show you what this kind of plan could provide for you, what expenses it would cover and how you can sign up for one. Every senior should at least look into Medicare Supplements and know what they are offering in coverage to determine if they would be good options for taking care of their medical expenses.  

What Medicare Supplements Do for You 

Medicare’s Supplement plans are designed to work side by side with Medicare Original. In fact, they won’t work without that original plan, as they are specially crafted to fill in holes in coverage that are left by that plan. There is a standard Original Medicare plan, and it doesn’t really change no matter where you live in the US, but the Supplement plans change depending on which one you get. There are standard plans, but there are ten different ones, so you can find a plan that works well for your situation and fills in the gaps that you have in your own coverage. You don’t have to settle for some one-size-fits-all plan that only really works for certain types of people. 

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The Supplement plans are diverse, but all ten of them take their coverage from the same list of items. Let’s go over what those are so that you have a better understanding of what could be covered. 

First up is the coverage for Medicare’s coinsurance payments. If you have Original Medicare (which you need to have to qualify for Medicare Supplements), then you would have to pay for a Medicare Part A coinsurance payment and a Medicare Part B coinsurance payment. Your Part A expenses may already be covered if you worked enough and paid your taxes before signing up for an Original Medicare plan, but most people have to pay that Part B coinsurance payment.  

Next up is the coverage for Medicare’s deductible payments. Once again, you’ll have to pay this for Medicare Part A and Part B. It’s a once-a-year payment, though. Most of the Supplement plans will cover you for the Part A deductible, but only a couple of them cover the Part B one. That deductible is $183, so it’s not too expensive, all things considered.  

Another expense that Medicare Supplements can cover is the Medicare Part B excess charges. These are not charges that everyone will need to pay in their lifetime. It’s really only something reserved for people who visit hospitals and other medical facilities where Medicare isn’t fully accepted. Part B coverage from Original Medicare may not be complete there, and there may be some leftover charges, which a couple of the Medicare Supplement plans will take care for those people. As this is an uncommon expense, it’s not one that most of the Supplement plans will bother to cover for you.  

Your Supplement plan can also take care of the cost of nursing care coinsurance. While Original Medicare covers you for some skilled nursing care expenses, the coinsurance payment is up to you, unless you get that covered by a Supplement plan. 

It’s the same with the hospice care coinsurance payment. This one can be covered by a Supplement plan, since Original Medicare would leave it for you to take care of on your own.  

Your blood usage can be covered as well. Now, Original Medicare covers some blood use for you each year, but the Supplement plans provide an additional three pints for you, and that’s renewed every year.  

The final item of coverage is for emergency medical transport in foreign countries. That’s to cover you if you need to be taken to a hospital for emergency care and the closest medical facility is outside the US borders. The cost of transport can be covered up to 80% of the cost each time, after you have paid the deductible. You will only be covered for up to $50,000 over your lifetime for this expense. 

What you need to know about this coverage item is that they are not always offering 100% coverage. Many of the plans only provide coverage for 50% or 75% of a given item. For instance, your Part B coinsurance payment may only be covered for 50% of the cost by Medicare Supplement Plan K, and this particular plan covers many of the items it provides coverage for at only 50% of their total. This makes it a low coverage plan but also a cheap one, so it’s a good pick for people who have few medical expenses to pay and who just want to be covered somewhat for many of their expenses. 

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Which Plan Is Best? 

Now let’s look at how you can pick  Medicare Supplement plans 2019 based on what they’re offering. We won’t give you all the details on all ten. We mentioned Plan K already, which is a low coverage plan, but it’s the high coverage plans that most people go for, and we can’t blame them. These plans pack in more value than any other of the other plans, and they cover a lot of stuff that people need to have covered. For many seniors, if they are going to need a Supplement plan, they probably need one that does cover quite a bit. So, the three-high coverage plans we want to look at will work well for the majority of seniors who could benefit from supplemental coverage. 

First off is Plan F. This is the one plan to cover everything we mentioned above 100%. Other plans come fairly close and cover most of the items or cover many of the items up to 75%, but none cover as much as Plan F. You only need one full coverage plan, anyway, but most people are going to lose money picking this plan. That’s because it costs more than it saves, when you compare it to other similar plans. 

Compare Plan F, for example, to Plan G. If you choose Plan G, you get almost the same level of coverage. The only difference is the Medicare Part B deductible, a $183 expense. That is an expense you pay once per year, and the difference between Plan F and Plan G, when you add up the monthly payments, is usually much greater than $183. It makes sense then to go with Plan G instead, and as more and more seniors begin to understand that, they are making Plan G the more popular of these two plans. In fact, Plan G is the most popular Supplement plans right now, and with all the value it has packed into it, we can see why. 

The other plan we want to discuss is Plan N. This one covers about the same as Plan G, but it loses just a bit more coverage for you. It won’t take care of the Medicare Part B excess charges and some small copayments. It also doesn’t cover the same deductible for Part B that Plan G leaves off as well. Otherwise, it covers everything else from the list above, and it’s still comparable to Plan F. If you want a high coverage plan that doesn’t have a bunch of stuff you don’t need, then Plan N is the stripped down but still robust plan for you.  

 

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How to Sign Up   

Now that we have looked at some of the better plans, let’s look at what you need to do to sign up for Medicare Supplement plans in the coming year. It’s really simple, so long as you understand where you need to go to sign up. You can’t get these plans through Medicare at all. While Medicare has designed them, and provides oversight for all of its plans, it is the individual insurance companies that sell you the plans. You have to go to one of these companies to sign up for the plan you want. We suggest comparing the plans from a few different insurance providers to find one that saves you money.  

You can’t just apply for a Supplement plan anytime you want and expect to be approved. You can sign up when you turn 65 and during Open Enrollment. The open Enrollment window runs from the first of November 2018 to the middle of December. Once you get approval for the plan you applied for, then you will see your plan go into effect on the first of January 2019. You will begin to be covered for the items your plan is designed to cover, and you will need to start making the monthly payments, called premiums.  

You can change out your Medicare Supplement Plans for 2019 once the term for that plan has expired, which is usually one year. Changing out the plan before then can result in extra fees or it may just not be possible. So, be sure you are choosing the best plan for you and that you are taking the time to look at your options and compare what different plans and different providers are offering you.  

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