The US Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) reports that there are over 60 million people enrolled in Medicare today.
Medicare is health insurance managed by the federal government that allows a patient to pay for a portion of every health care service received and then Medicare covers the rest.
Did you know that there is a system of additional Medicare Supplement plans that provide additional services beyond the basic service level that the federal government provides?
Check out this useful guide on the basics of five of these plans and their 2021 updates. Then you can make some informed decisions on this hard-earned privilege.
Original Medicare vs. Medicare Supplement Plans
The Medicare system provides varying levels of health care coverage for qualifying patients. It’s easy to get the two mixed up. Here is a breakdown of the differences between the two plans:
What is Original Medicare?
Medicare has two original plans that all members can still leverage today. Original Medicare Part A and B were the first versions of the coverage created in 1965. All members in the Medicare system have original Medicare Parts A and B coverage.
Original Medicare Part A pays for fees like in-home-health care costs and other hospital fees. Original Medicare Part B pays for fees like diagnostic test costs, medical equipment expenses, and doctor exam co-pay fees.
What are Medicare Supplement Plans?
If you want to supplement what Original Medicare Parts A and B offer, you sign up for Medicare Supplement insurance that provides you additional services.
Think of a Medicare supplement plan as a plan that covers the out-of-pocket expenses that Original Medicare Part A or B can’t cover.
You can buy equitable Medicare Supplement insurance from a private insurance agency that contracts with the government to provide extra coverage on top of Original Medicare Plan A and B coverage.
There are currently ten supplemental insurance plans that offer additional coverage beyond what you’ll find included in the Original Medicare plans.
You’ll see these benefits outlined in this Medicare comparison chart that highlights each of today’s supplemental plans currently available.
Federal and state laws govern the design of Supplemental plans to ensure the same basic Original Medicare benefits are provided in each plan.
But it’s important that you compare Medicare supplement plans to be sure you are picking additional benefits coverage that’s right for you.
Below is a summary of five of today’s available Medicare Supplement plans:
1. Medicare Supplement Plan C
Medicare Supplement Plan C, not only includes coverage found in both Original Medicare parts A and B but also pays for additional medical fees like vision, hearing, dental, or wellness program expenses for a higher cost.
In 2020, Medicare Supplemental Plan C is no longer be available to new Medicare enrollees. People who were members of the Medicare system before 2020 are still able to sign up for Medicare Supplement Plan C coverage. New Medicare members after this date, are not be able to join this plan.
2. Medicare Supplement Plan D
Medicare Supplement Plan D is an added benefit that covers prescription drug expenses. Private insurance companies coordinate Medicare Plan D coverage.
Enrollees who are members of Original Medicare and live in a Medicare Plan D service area can sign up for this coverage.
3. Medicare Supplement Plan F
Medicare Supplement Plan F can cover hospice care and nursing facility costs if caring for seniors at home isn’t an option.
Medicare Part F can also help cover up to 80 percent of any emergency medical expenses you might run up while you travel out of the country.
4. Medicare Supplement Plan G
Medicare Supplement Plan G is a good fit for those who want additional coverage beyond the original Medicare plan. Plan G covers hospitalization costs for 365 additional days after Medicare benefits end.
Hospice care and blood transfusions for medical procedures are also eligible costs under Plan G.
5. Medicare Supplement Plan N
Medicare Supplement Plan N is also a popular choice for Medicare members. Plan N offers lower monthly premiums than some of the other Medicare Supplement insurance plans.
This plan also offers $20 co-payments for doctors’ office visits and $50 co-payments for emergency-room visits.
Medicare Supplement Plans in 2021
Dramatic changes began in 2021 for Medicare supplement plans. There are now over 2,000 more Medicare Supplement plans operating, all competing to offer their version of the best health care coverage available.
Enrollees will have more than 4,000 Medicare supplement plans to choose from during open enrollment. Starting in January, Medicare Supplement plan premiums declined by 34.2 percent.
These premiums are the lowest they’ve been (since 2007) while enrollment continues to rise. CMS estimates that there will be 26 million new enrollees in the system before 2021 is over.
Medicare Supplement plans also now accept members at any age who qualify for Medicare due to kidney failure or end-stage renal disease (ESRD).
Medicare Plan D plans have changed too. They reduced their insulin costs to $35 per month or less. Be sure your plan participates in the Part D Senior Savings Model to enjoy this cost reduction.
You can do this by contacting your primary care physician. Ask them if your Plan D is considered part of the Part D Senior Savings Model. Then you’ll be able to see your monthly insulin costs go down dramatically.
What Are Your Next Steps?
Ready to capitalize on these 2021 Medicare supplement plans to enhance your current health plan? If so, you can start today.
Review the Medicare Supplement plans comparison table referenced above, that charts the various types of Medicare supplement plans. Meet with an insurance agent and learn more about which supplement plan meets your current retirement lifestyle.
You can also find more advice on Medicare Supplement plans on our website. Do your research today. Then you will be able to rightfully enjoy the benefit you worked your entire career to earn.