Medigap Policies: Eliminate the Confusion to Make the Best Choice for You

By Richard Cantu

Searching for a Medicare Supplement Policy can be very confusing for those who don't know the essential facts concerning its coverage. There are so many different types of plans and programs from which to pick! However, once you've done just a little bit of research, you should have no trouble choosing the one that is best for you.

The confusion for many seekers of Medigap insurance likely stems from having to settle on just that one from all the great choices available. The government thought that by offering people many selections of additional coverage to supplement their Medicare, they were providing the public with a major perk. However, it is proving to just add more confusion to a process that's already loathed by anyone who's approaching or has already made it into their senior years.

Medicare supplements have 12 plans (A - L.) The initial 10 are similar, which often makes many question why there are so many if they are so close to the same. The final two, again are similar, but also have their slight differences.

Taking the time to find a good resource on which you are able to rely to obtain the information and details that you need about coverage should prove to help you more than you could possibly imagine. It doesn't matter if you're looking to get a little extra coverage from Medicare supplements or if you need the works, because there is something for everyone.

In case that's not perplexing enough, The initial four plans (A, B, C, and D) are often confused with Parts A, B, C, and D of typical Medicare coverage. This can be a huge point of bafflement where people get stuck in a haze of confusion and worry and may not make it back.

Fortunately, The federal government is going to do some work to improve these plans in the coming year. June of 2010 is slated for a big Medicare supplement overhaul. This overhaul includes doing away with extra plans, fixing broken plans, and adding a couple new and different plans to meet the new and different needs of senior citizens today.

Sure, Medicare might have fewer options than traditional health insurance, but you could at least decide what you needed and how to get It without getting words and plans mixed up. Now that you're dealing with Medicare supplements, confusion is likely to be something that comes your way. Just don't let it get the best of you.

In the event you see something that stumps you while researching your supplement options, simply look it up and then go back to choosing the best policy for your needs. With so much information right at your fingertips, it's going to be easy for you to learn everything that you want and need to know. - 32502

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Medicare Supplements 101: What you Need to Know about Original Medicare First

By Richard Cantu

When it comes to getting a Medicare supplement, there are many things that you need to understand. However, the most crucial thing that you need to understand is Original Medicare itself and how it functions before you can become involved in getting your own Medicare supplement policy.

Medicare started in 1965 as a government-sponsored healthcare program for seniors over age 65 and those who are disabled under certain circumstances. The policies are administered and regulated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS.

Anyone who has reached age 65 and is eligible for social security or railroad benefits can get Medicare, as can anyone who is disabled and has been on social security or railroad benefit plans for more than two years.

Additionally, people who have end-stage renal disease and require dialysis meet the criteria for Medicare if they qualify for social security. The purpose of Medicare is to act as health insurance for individuals who need it. The coverage is the same for all, and includes two parts:

Medicare Part A covers hospitalization expenses, home health care and hospice care.

Medicare Part B covers doctor visits, surgical services, diagnostic testing, therapies of certain kinds, medical supplies and equipment, ambulance services, plus some preventative care.

However, since these insurance programs are all uniform, some people miss out on critical services that they need because they aren't covered.

Enter the Medicare supplement. When a person has a Medicare plan of healthcare and it doesn't cover all their medical needs, he or she will likely seek out the coverage that they need in other places. However, those who are retired or disabled are generally living on a fixed income, which makes it hard to afford the insurance and/or medical services that they need.

Often known as Medigap, this is a government-regulated supplement plan which can be obtained by anyone with Medicare insurance to cover the expenses that aren't covered by their Medicare plan. You will find different plans to select from, and each one has different benefits and coverage types.

It is easy to consult with many resources online or an actual Medicare supplement insurance agent to figure out which plans are best for your specific needs. The supplement works by paying the leftover expenses that Medicare didn't cover for any health services that you need performed.

It doesn't matter how much or how little supplemental coverage you require, because there is something for just about everyone. When you understand Medicare and what it is lacking, you can then go on the hunt for a Medicare supplement that should complete the puzzle. - 32502

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Save Money on Your Medicare Supplement

By Richard Cantu

Living on a fixed income while trying to avoid and/or get out of debt is definitely not the ideal way to spend your golden years. Obtaining lower premiums for your health care expenses would be a great way to commence your quest for a more financially sound future. To do this, simply set aside some extra time to research your Medicare coverage options to find the best plan for you then find an insurance company which can provide you with that plan.

Medicare supplements are generally inexpensive (at least in relation to the price you would pay for medical services without the coverage.) To find the best rates on a Medigap policy, you should compare your options both with different plans and different insurance companies.

Medicare supplement costs usually differ from person to person. Each of the 12 different supplement plans is rated differently, and private insurance companies which provide the plans can charge various premiums for the plans according to their own pricing guidelines.

Thus, you cannot calculate the price of your Medicare supplement until you have chosen a plan, a provider, and received a quote. Medicare supplemental insurance is not like other types of insurance where you are able to predict an average cost. While there is, of course, an average, it is not very indicative as it varies greatly from one company to the next.

Medicare supplement costs are going to be higher in economies that have higher costs of living. Things are more expensive in Texas, for example, than they are in Indiana, which means that your Medicare supplement will be completely different in price if you live in one state or another.

If you know people in your state that have Medicare supplements, you can ask them about what they pay, but again, your policy will still be a different price when you apply with private providers, even sometimes when you choose the same company.

Each private insurance company has their own policies and guidelines to set Medicare supplement premium costs, as does each state. Some companies will base their rates upon age and the going rate, while others might have a completely random system for calculating premiums.

Take some time to shop around and compare your options so that you get the best coverage every single time, no matter what plan you choose or which company you work with. If you choose the first plan and provider that you find you'll be much more likely to pay too much, which you cannot afford to do on a fixed income. - 32502

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If You Are Over 65 There Are Health Insurance Options For You

By Ethan Kalvin

If you are over the age of 65, under 65 but have a specific disability or permanent kidney failure and have been a legal us citizen for at least 5 years, then you are eligible for medicare. Medicare has come as a product of a law passed by Congress in 1965. Since it is a federal program you are required to contribute to medicare through your paychecks during your working years, you will also discover that the guidelines for eligible are similar from state to state.

Medicare consists of two parts:

Medicare Part A - If you are a patient in a hospital, nursing home or hospice this is the part that helps cover the cost. It also covers care in your home under certain conditions. Because this was paid through taxes, that you paid while working, many do not need to contribute this part.

Medicare Part B - This helps to pay for doctors services and outpatient care that is medically necessary. It pays for preventative services like the flu shot and for some services to keep illnesses from worsening. In 2008, the standard monthly premium was $96.40.

During the first seven months after your 65th birthday, medicare enrollment is free. Individuals covered by medicare as called beneficiaries and will have help paying for most of their medical needs. Medicare does not cover care given at home, or in a nursing facility, for those with recurring disability or longtime illness.

Medicare does provide Advantage Plans where the plan can be customized to fit medical needs. This is not available in all areas. Some of these plans offer prescription programs and there are some private insurance companies who cover some of these programs. Details of the Advantage Plan depend on the certain program chosen and the eligibility of the patient.

You will receive your Medicare card, in the mail, three months before your birthday. If you are receiving Social Security benefits before you turn 65, you will be enrolled in Part A and Part B automatically the month you turn 65. Signing up for Medicare is simple, as long as you are aware of the different plans and enrollment periods. - 32502

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Medicare Supplements Made Easy

By Richard Cantu

There is a confusing time that all senior citizens must endure. It is full of unexpected twists, turns, tunnels, and loops all complemented by confusing jargon. What is this maze? It is the task of becoming enrolled in Medicare and choosing a Medicare supplement policy to ensure future well-being.

Not being aware of the basics of finding Medicare supplementary coverage will most likely increase your chances of making a decision which could come back to hit you in the pocket book. It is of utmost importance to take the time to research Medicare, its components, and supplemental coverage. After doing your research, you should make a better decision regarding your healthcare coverage, and you should be able to navigate that Medicare supplement maze in a jiffy.

When you get involved in Medicare supplement research, the most common confusion will be the differentiation between 'plan' and 'part'. As a Medicare patient, Part A and B refer to hospital and doctor or other medical services respectively. Part C is known as the Medicare Advantage plan, and Part D is prescription coverage. These are essentially parts of your medical care that is covered.

Plans refer to the 12 plans that are out there for supplemental insurance. Each plan has different levels of coverage for Part A and B coverage, and offers different deductibles, co-pays, coinsurance, and premiums. Speaking of premium, that is the cost that you will pay each month for your supplemental insurance, and it is determined by the insurance company.

Medicare supplement plans are also commonly referred to as Medigap plans, which can confuse some people. The words are interchangeable and both point to the 12 plans that you can get to supplement your existing Medicare coverage.

Co-pays and co-insurance are essentially the same thing, although some policies will define them differently. It's the expense that you'll pay out of pocket for your medical care, and is something that is important to know.

Taking the time to research the technical terms associated with Medicare and the 12 standardized Medicare supplemental plans should enable you to cut through the maze of choosing one with ease. You should allow yourself time to decipher the meaning of these terms then apply those to your decision of a Medigap policy. Find the one that will be the best for you. Rushing through this maze may cause problems in your future. Do your research, prepare, and be informed. Make a decision that will ensure your future health and wealth. - 32502

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How To Remedy Being Discharged From A Hospital Prematurely As A Medicare Patient?

By John Harvey

Perhaps you have an individual within your family who has been hospitalized, though they will be discharged rather soon. What does one do in this situation? Maybe you're not sure about assisted living, home health care, or even nursing facilities. Chances are you didn't even know that the person would be released from the hospital in such a short amount of time.

Now you might be panicking, and you might be trying to figure out exactly what it is you should be doing in this situation. Fortunately the hospital will probably give you a list of rehab clinics. Unfortunately they are not going to help you choose a clinic. You might feel like you have no time to render this decision, and you might even feel like you're being rushed. This may push you into making a fast decision, but you really have more time than you think.

Medicare as a government health insurance plan is under pressure from the US Congress to cut expenses and discharging patients too early is one of the most efficient ways to cut cost. In hospitals there is the so called Notice of Non-coverage, which means that the hospital has to let you know 3 days before the patient can be discharged.

If they haven't done that, you should insist that they do. And if you are persistent, they will give you that time. Remember you are here for your loved one and want to get the best care possible. You know that you will need the extra time to choose between the different rehab options and you will come to a much more informed conclusion.

It's going to become clear to you soon enough that hospitals try to discharge their Medicare patients as soon as possible. This has become a growing trend over the past forty years. Seniors have had hospital visits that dropped in time from fourteen days to six days. It will keep dropping if nothing is done.

The problem that hospitals have is the fixed fee system from Medicare. This means that a Hospital will be billed the same amount for every patient, no matter what happens to be wrong with them. The longer a patient stays, the more money the hospital will have to pay. If the stay is shorter, the hospital will be making much more money.

Patient care is no issue in the face of money. So when you enter the hospital there will be a paper that you sign. The paper will acknowledge your patient rights, and one such right is the right to not be discharged on a whim. You need to make a copy of the document: "An Important Message From Medicare -- Your Rights While You Are A Medicare Hospital Patient.".

The rights include the Notice of Noncoverage, and having this will stop the hospital from discharging you early. You will have the three days, and they will not be able to charge you. So long as you have not been provided the Notice of Noncoverage, you will be able to stay in the hospital.

In the meantime, you can appeal the decision of the hospital. This can be done by contacting the PRO in charge of filing appeals, but you need to make sure you do it as fast as possible. The claims take some time to process. Knowing your rights and having some nerve will take you a long way. - 32502

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Medicare's Unfunded Liabilities - What Are They?

By John Harvey

If you turn on the news you will see that some people are starting to discuss the tremendous unfunded liabilities of Medicare, that they prove that government programs typically cost much more than expected, and that they should be placed into the hands of private companies.

According to recent statistics, the current form of the Medicare system cannot be sustained and substantial changes must be made to fix this government health insurance program. So just what are these unfunded liabilities, and what impact will they have on you?

The unfunded liability is basically the gap between what Medicare or Social Security takes in through taxes and the amount they are expecting to payout, It's just a projection, not something that is set in stone.

Many European government health insurance programs, such as Germany's, have struggled for many years and can be thought of as being on the brink of bankruptcy. You know who is paying to keep them alive. The taxpayers.

Medicare and Social Security supposedly have sufficient funds to cover their current expenditures, but I would guess that the government is already printing money to pay Medicare's bills because I don't believe that US Treasury Bonds will sell well in the immediate future. Although we hear that the current administration does not anticipate raising taxes on the middle class, it will be the middle class who will see higher taxes in the form of higher prices and other higher fees and charges.

As who will be the lenders for Medicare. I would say primarily China, maybe Germany (which is funny because Germany is supposedly struggling with it's own health care system), but because of the weakness of the Dollar and the rising disenchantment with Americas spending policies it will probably end up on the shoulders of the American tax payer.

Why can't Medicare be sustained? Some people say that Medicare already was bankrupt in'65, the year it was introduced under Lyndon Johnson. Others expect it to collapse within the next ten years.

When the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 was signed into law by George W. Bush, it was in the name of "honoring the commitments of Medicare to all our seniors," but he might not have realized the consequences for a society which has more elderly people than young. He also probably did not expect that the economy would collapse the way that it has over the last six or seven years. - 32502

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