A Medicare Supplement is a supplemental insurance you can get on top of your Medicare Part A and Part B coverage. Medicare covers many healthcare costs, but it does not pay for every expense. You are responsible for these costs, sometimes called the "gaps" in Medicare Coverage. Medicare Supplements help pay for these gaps.
A major benefit of having a Medicare Supplement is you may see any doctor you choose as long as your doctor "accepts assignment". This means your Dr. agrees to be paid the Medicare approved amount for a service. Your supplement insurance pays the Dr. directly.
How does a Medicare Supplement work?
You can buy a Medicare Supplement from private insurance companies in your state. There are 11 different standard Medicare Supplement plans that can be sold in most states labeled A-D, F, High-deductible F, G and K-N. Each of these plans cover different services.
The most common plan is Plan G; you pay a one time $226 deductible payment and all other Part A and Part B services are covered 100% until the end of the year. Across all companies these 11 plans cover the same criteria, only the prices change.
Prescription Drug Coverage (Part D)
Medicare offers Prescirpition Drug Coverage, or Part D, to everyone with Medicare Part A and/or part B. To get Part D you must join a plan contracted with Medicare. Each plan will vary in cost and the drugs that are covered.
Why do I need Part D?
You may be in good health and not take prescription drugs now but unfortunately as we grow older things change. For example, if you developed diabetes, congestive heart failure or a cardiovascular disorder you would need drugs that without Part D coverage coud be very costly.
Also, if you choose not to enroll in Part D, you may face a late penalty, depending on your circumstances, and have to pay a higher monthly premium once you do enroll at a later date. That penalty will be charged every month until termination of the Part D policy.
What about the extra benefits that Part C provides?
Although Supplements and Stand-alone Prescription Drug Plans (Part D) have their own set of benefits they do not provide any of the extra benefits that Part C provides. If you would like Dental, Vision or Hearing coverage you must pay an additional premium.