Should you buy a Medicare supplement?
You’ve probably heard that when you become Medicare-eligible you should get some type of Medicare plan. The risk of getting your health insurance coverage from Medicare alone is just too great. Unpredictable out-of-pocket costs could crush your budget. There are several reasons why you may want to buy supplemental coverage instead of relying on Medicare alone or enrolling in a Medicare Advantage Plan. The following are some of the most popular reasons to buy.
You want to control your budget
Medicare supplement plans are standardized and pay some of your costs for Medicare-covered services. You can choose a plan with a low premium and continue to pay some of the costs or you can choose a comprehensive plan like Medicare supplement Plan F with a higher premium and eliminate the costs for covered services.
With the right supplement you can have greater certainty over your annual medical costs. You can end the uncertainty of unpredictable cost-sharing amounts associated with Medicare and you can avoid the deductibles, co-payments and coinsruance amounts required when enrolled in an Advantage Plan.
You want freedom
When you own a Medicare supplement you are able to choose your providers without being restricted to using a provider network like an HMO or PPO. If you need a specialist, you have the freedom to use their services. If you travel, you are not required to tell the insurance company or search for a provider that’s in network.
You don’t want to have annual enrollment periods
Unlike having a Medicare Advantage Plan, you will not need to renew or buy a new plan each year. Plan’s are standardized and the benefits can’t change once you’ve bought a plan. You cannot be canceled expect for nonpayment of premiums or the unlikely event of the insurance company going bankrupt.
You are in Your Open Enrollment Period or have Guaranteed Issue Rights
When you first become Medicare-eligible you have an open enrollment period to buy a supplement that lasts for 6 months. This is the best time to buy because:
- The insurance company must sell you any policy that it sells
- Cannot make you wait for coverage
- Cannot charge you more due to poor health
Another time to consider a Medicare supplement is when you have Guaranteed Issue Rights. These rights are generally the result of a change in your circumstances or the result of trial rights associated with Medicare Advantage Plans.
The short answer to, “who should buy a Medicare supplement?” is anyone who wants control; control of your budget and control of how you use your plan. If a policy is affordable, purchase during your open enrollment period to get the best price with the most flexibility.