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Medicare Supplemental Insurance

Also known as Medigap Insurance, medicare supplemental insurance is a popular policy among seniors who want more protection than Medicare alone can provide. It's a smart purchase for the price, but it's essential you go into it knowing what you want, and what you need.

This page:

  • Describes medicare supplemental insurance.

  • Explains where to get the best senior health insurance quotes.

Medicare supplemental insurance is an affordable way to lower your out-of-pocket health care expenses and extend your coverage.

Get Free Medicare Supplemental Insurance Quotes

If you or someone you love is nearing retirement age, eHealthInsurance can give you information on what private individual health insurance can do for you.

You'll be able to get free quotes on Medigap Coverage that supplements Medicare, as well as plan comparisons and information to help you decide on what you need.

How medicare supplemental insurance works

Medicare is the basic health plan Americans over 65 (and some younger) rely on for the bulk of their health care needs. However, this care is limited, and Medicare supplemental insurance is a means of extending coverage and reducing out-of-pocket expenses.

Medicare supplemental insurance comes in 10 standardized Medigap plans. The plans are referred to by letter (A-J) and vary in price and coverage. Plan J has the most coverage, and Plan A the least.

Each plan is standardized. This system makes it very easy to compare polcies, because every plan must carry the same coverage, no matter who is selling it. Plan A from one insurer offers identical coverage to Plan A from another insurer, plan B from one is equal to B from another, and so forth. Not every plan is offered in every state.

Why Medicare supplemental insurance is so important

Medicare provides older Americans with a lot of health care security. But benefits are limited. Medicare doesn't cover prescription drugs and preventative medecine, and many medical expenses, like hospital stays and skilled care carry large deductibles. (For example, in the event of hospitalization, you must pay over $800 before Medicare pays anything.)

Just one serious illness (or even one large annual prescription drug bill) can take a dramatic financial toll, even with Medicare coverage.

That's where Medicare supplemental insurance comes in. The various Medicare suplements provide coverage for the following:

   365 extra days of hospital care
   3 pints of blood.
   The Medicare deductible.
  • The Medicare coinsurance or copayment
  • Costs above the Medicare maximum annual payout
  • Perscription Drugs
  • Foreign Travel Emergency
  • At-Home Recovery
  • Skilled Nursing Coinsurance
  • Preventative Care

Not every Medicare supplemental insurance plan covers each of these benefits. (Most don't.) The first three benefits are the "core benefits" found on every plan. The rest are add-ons, and with each increase in coverage comes an increase in cost.

Confused yet? It can help to see everything in a nice format, so we've put together a Medicare insurance chart that lists exactly which benefits each plan covers. Or keep reading for very important eligibility information.

Are you eligible for Medicare supplemental insurance?

Perhaps the most important thing to learn about Medicare supplemental insurance is how the eligibility works.

You can only buy Medicare suplemental insurance if you are enrolled in Medicare Plan B and you are at least 65 years old or are disabled. Once you meet both of these requirements, you have a six month open enrollment period to purchase the policy.

During this time health insurance companies cannot deny you coverage, cannot charge you higher premiums because of health issues, and caanot impose excessive exclusion periods.

After your inital enrollment period is over, you can still apply for coverage during one of the annual open enrollmeants, but you made be denied coverage or charged higher premiums.

It is very important to apply for medicare supplematal insurance during your enrollment period if you want to guarantee yourself affordable coverage later on. This is especially If your family has a history of health problems or if you need a lot of high-costing perscription drugs.

Medicare supplemental insurance quotes and info

Buying medicare supplemental insurance is an important process, and should be undertaken carefully. You want to be sure you're getting enough benefits while keeping premiums affordable.

While it's a good idea to evaluate your options before you shop, stay flexible. Not all plans are available everywhere (the most valuable plans can be hard to find), and even when they are available, you may find them priced out of your range.

eHealthInsurance, the web's largest insurance marketplace not only gives instant online medicare supplemental insurance quotes, it's a great source of information on the policies. You can check out policies in offered in your area and get your questions answered. Click here to try their service.

If you can't find the plan you want, try NetQuote. After you apply, an agent will contact you with more inforation about Medicare supplemeantl insurance available in your area. Click here for NetQuote.

And don't forget our helpful Medigap chart to help you compare polcies. The AARP and federal government are also good sources of information and brochures on Medicare supplemental insurance.

Next: Compare Medicare supplements using our Medigap chart


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This internet site provides information of a general nature for educational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. We make no guarantees as to the validity of the information presented. Your particular facts and circumstances, and changes in the law, must be considered when applying insurance law. You should always consult with a competent insurance professional licensed in your state with respect to your particular situation.