Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Selecting Medicare Supplement Plans - A Specific Case

This blog post covers my specific selection of a Medicare supplement plan, also known as Medigap plans or medicare supplemental insurance. Click here to see a previous post addressing Medicare eligibility.

Current Situation
In my post about Medicare eligibility I mentioned that my current (pre-Medicare) medical insurance is a high-priced, high deductible policy with a nationwide carrier.

When I am eligible for Medicare, I will cancel out of this policy because I will be covered by Medicare and a supplement plan I now am selecting. The combination of Medicare and the supplement policy will give me better coverage than the current policy at a lower cost.

Notes to Keep in Mind
  1. Neither Medicare nor the supplemental policies cover drug prescriptions. I will discuss Medicare Part C (drug prescriptions) in a future post. 
  2. Remember that this post addresses my specific case - you may have different circumstances; for example, you are working and will keep your employer's policy as well as taking advantage of Medicare coverage.
  3. I selected Medigap over the Medicare Advantage plans (an alternative to supplement plans). When I discovered that my primary care physician does not accept several Advantage plans, I opted out of them.
  4. Medigap insurance covers medical payments for doctors and hospitals not covered by Medicare Parts A (hospital costs) and B (doctor costs) such as hospital co-payments and deductibles.
Selecting a Medicare Supplemental Insurance Policy
Since I won't be actually getting Medicare for several months, I have plenty of time to find the most cost-effective medigap policy. So, here's the steps I am taking now to pick this policy:

  1. Bought a copy of Medicare For Dummies. This is the main source of my information.
  2. Reviewing the types of medical coverage in each category of medigap insurance. Basically, each category (A,B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M, N) encompasses different benefits. The best place to get this information is 
  3. Looking up the costs for the carrier and category I select. This is a matter of narrowing down the carriers in my state (CT has many insurance carriers) and finding the one I am most comfortable with.
  4. I am also going to check out a broker who deals in different policies. This will help get questions answered. Unfortunately, no book or online resource substitutes for the experience of people who are familiar with supplement plans.

A Continuing Process
The selection of a medigap plan is an ongoing process for the next few months. Should I find any major obstacles, I will report them in this blog.

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