A question that is often asked early on in the process of considering Medicare Supplement insurance is; Is it worth it for me? Being that Medicare A & B is your primary medical insurance and the “meat” of the whole thing, so to speak, this is a valid question. In fact, it brings to mind similar similar situations we’ve probably all had when buying common items. When you were renting a car and that awkward moment arrives; “Would you like to add the extra insurance on the vehicle?” Or when you were buying that new computer at Best Buy and then comes the question; “Would you like to add replacement protection in case it breaks?” I have to admit, in many of these situations, I will decline. In a way, Medicare Supplement Insurance is like this; extra protection in case you break. But, there’s a huge difference between you, a rental car, and a computer; You are your most valuable asset.
During my experience as a Medicare Insurance Agent I have been given insight into many of the hardships and situations that can arise from making the wrong insurance decisions. My humble, professional opinion it is that is smart to have some kind of extra insurance rather than just Medicare A & B. Medicare Supplement Insurance, also known as Medigap, is a very specific type of insurance. Many people often get the different types of insurance available with Medicare into the same category. Besides Medicare Supplement insurance, the other main type of coverage is Medicare Advantage. In some cases this type of type of insurance may be more suitable to your situation and preferences. This post deals specifically with Medicare Supplements but I encourage you to learn more about Medicare Advantage and how the two compare.
When determining if anything is a good decision, we usually evaluate it’s pro’s and cons. Here are 6 reasons why many Medicare Beneficiaries decide to purchase a Medicare Supplement policy.
1. Financial Protection Against Out Of Pocket Costs
Medicare Supplements were designed specifically to help you pay for out of pocket costs not covered by Medicare A & B. These are costs you are probably familiar with; deductibles, co-pays, and the Part B 20% co-insurance. These are your out of pocket costs, or cost share, when you receive medical care. Depending on the situation, these costs can really add up and put a strain on your finances. In fact, and many are not aware of this, but Medicare by itself does not set limits on your out of pocket medical liability. This means that without supplemental insurance, your share of medical expenses is virtually unlimited. This can really put a strain on your finances and is the number 1 reason to have Medicare Supplement insurance in my mind.
2. More Access To Better Healthcare
By limiting your out of pocket costs, Medicare Supplements also encourage you to utilize healthcare. In layman’s terms, this means that if something hurts, you’re more likely to see a doctor because your expenses will be affordable. Of course, over utilization and abuse of healthcare by medical practitioner’s and patients can be a bad thing and cause waste in our system. Good utilization, when you need it, is positive. You, and many others, have been paying into Medicare for many years. Being able to see doctors when you need to will help you stay ahead of your health and get the treatment you need to live healthier and longer. This is the whole reason the program exists.
3. Live Happier & Healthier
Medicare Supplement insurance, or any insurance for that matter, is so much about your peace of mind. It has become common knowledge that there is a relationship between financial security and mental / physical health. When deciding on whether to supplement your Medicare coverage I think one of the biggest questions is; How do I want to feel? How do I want to live my life? Do I want to live with more freedom and less worry? You have more than likely done many things in your life. Worked a job, paid taxes, paid into social security, saved money for retirement, and raised a family. This, and much of what we do is for ours and our family’s peace of mind. Medicare Supplement insurance is just another tool for this.
4. Medicare Supplements Are A Right and A Privilege
Over the years you have paid into Social Security, Medicare, and federal taxes. Medicare is a right you have earned, and so are Medicare Supplements. In the medical insurance arena, there is nothing quite like Medicare Supplements. This is primarily because they work directly in sync with Medicare to cover all or most of your out of pocket medical bills. As you may know, individual and employer insurance deductibles have gotten higher & higher over the years. This has made good access to healthcare unaffordable, or at least expensive for many who are covered under these plans. In fact, I’m sure you, and many others may have wished that something like Medicare Supplements that exist for these other types of insurance. Now, being eligible for Medicare, this type of insurance is a right and a privilege to take advantage of.
5. They Have High Levels Of Customer Satisfaction
Medicare Supplements (also known as Medigap), have a track record of high customer satisfaction across the board. A 2017 survey conducted by AHIP, found that 9 out of 10 people with Medicare Supplement coverage are satisfied and would recommend it to a friend. 7 out of 10 surveyed indicated they were very satisfied and 2 of the 10 somewhat satisfied. Aside from the study, the feedback I get from my clients who have supplemental insurance is that they are happy. Many of us may have had a bad experience with medical insurance in the past. High monthly premiums, things not being covered, you know what I mean. Being covered by quality medical insurance, that does what it’s supposed to, can be a breath of fresh air.
6. They Are Affordable And Therefore Attainable
Many people who don’t sign up for Medicare Supplement insurance may think that it’s not affordable. This is not the case. There are currently 11 listed Medicare Supplement plans listed, 5 of which are most commonly purchased. Within these 5, there’s bound to be a plan that’s affordable for you. Medicare Supplement plans are represented by a letter, the top 5 are; A, F, G, N, and High Deductible F. Monthly premiums for these plans range between $40 – $200 per month, depending on the plan and other factors. In reality, the most popular plans are on the lower end of the scale and range between $80 and $115 per month. The plans in this range; G, and N, are high quality coverage and limit your out of pocket medical costs to a very low amount. At a minimum, for $40 to $60 a month, High Deductible Plan F will limit your out of pocket costs to $2,250 per year in 2018.
Also, if cost is an issue, Medicare Advantage plans may be a good alternative for you. These are an alternative to Medicare Supplements and can help limit your medical expenses for $0 extra monthly premium. Remember, Medicare by itself doesn’t limit your annual out of pocket medical costs. So, having some kind of extra coverage is a good idea. And, as you see, affordability is not a good reason not to.
There are many good reasons to have a Medicare Supplement plan. In your personal decision making, the question is whether these things apply to you. Do you value good healthcare? Do you want to have more financial security and peace of mind? Do you have the financial means to afford a Medicare Supplement? If you answered yes to these questions, then it may be a good idea for you to be covered.