Determining the best Medicare supplement plan for you is something far more simple than you might think. Many times when a person is new to Medicare, you can feel overwhelmed by all the choices. You might fear making a wrong decision. I can ease some of this fear by walking you through a series of simple questions you can ask yourself. This will help lead you to the best Medicare supplement plan that is most suitable for you.
First, let’s point out that Medicare supplements and Medicare Advantage plans work differently. In the beginning, you want to look at all of your options. So let’s start from there. Then we’ll use these questions to narrow down to the best Medicare supplement (or perhaps Medicare Advantage plan) for you.
Which Medicare plans are accepted by your doctor?
The best Medicare supplement or Medicare Advantage plan for you is one that allows you to see your favorite providers. If you are open to seeing new doctors, then your choices are wider because any plan you choose will have a good selection of health care providers. However, most people want to be able to see their current primary care doctor and/or specialists.
Here at Medicare My Way, our licensed Medicare experts make these calls for anyone working with us to enroll in Medigap. In doing so, we’ve learned that it is important to speak with someone in the doctor’s billing department that understands networks. Ask the billing representative if the doctor accepts Original Medicare. If they do, then any traditional Medigap policy will enable you to continue seeing that doctor.
What is your Risk Tolerance?
Our agency often works with clients who helped their aging parents through a few illnesses. Once such client, Linda, told me that her mother had battled lymphoma for many years and went through several rounds of chemotherapy. She was astonished at the size of the medical bills they received and even further astonished to find that her mother’s Medicare supplement had covered every dime. Because of this, she knew she wanted the same kind of coverage. What Linda said was “If I am sick, I want to be able to concentrate on getting well. I don’t want to be worrying about how many bills are accumulating in my mailbox.”
So for this client, the natural choice was a Medicare supplement, which has very predictable benefits and covers comprehensively. A Medicare Advantage plan, on the other hand, requires cost-sharing from you. On many Medicare Advantage plans, the cost of chemotherapy is 20%. The plans do have an out of pocket maximum cap to protect you, but someone like Linda would worry about that during her treatment, so it’s not the right fit.
On the other hand, if you have some funds put away for a rainy day, you might enjoy the lower premiums that Medicare Advantage plans offer. Some people have a higher risk tolerance, and they are willing to shell out some copays and coinsurance in exchange for enjoying lower premiums. So ask yourself how much risk tolerance you have, and that should lead you toward one choice or another. This is the way we identify the best Medicare supplement plans for our own personal level of risk tolerance.
And that leads us to the third question, which is:
What is your budget for Medicare supplemental insurance?
Living on a fixed income is harder than most people think. You are still subject to inflation like everyone else, but the money you have coming in from Social Security and your investments has to last you for the rest of your life. Sometimes this single factor will make the decision for you.
Your budget is a consideration in identifying the best Medigap plans for you.
For a person turning 65 in Kentucky, you might expect to pay around $125/month for a Medicare supplement. It varies by zip code, gender, and age, but let’s use this number as an example. If your budget includes $1500/year for medical insurance, then a supplement provides great coverage. If spending $1500/year leaves you with very little for life’s other expenses, you might be more comfortable finding a Medicare Advantage plan with a $0 premium. Sure you’ll pay copays for doctors visits and hospital stays and other medical services, but if you spend less than $1500, you come out ahead.
So there you have the 3 main questions we walk our own clients through when helping them determine the best Medicare supplement for them. An insurance agency like Medicare My Way can help you answer these questions and then find the best Medigap plans that meet your needs based on your answers.
If you enjoyed this blog post and learned from it, give us a try so that you can experience all the great back-end policy service that you’ll get. This includes assistance with evaluating which Part D drug plan offers your medications. We also provide annual rate comparisons to ensure you stay with the most cost-effective policy in your area.
The best Medicare supplement for you is out there! Get in touch with us for help finding it today.
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