For those 65 and older participating in traditional Medicare, it’s the time of year to select a Medicare Supplement plan. Also known as Medigap or Medicare Part B, these plans help pay for costs not covered by Medicare Part A.
It can sometimes be challenging to know whether to stay with your current plan or consider a different one. As you age and your needs change, it’s a good idea to review your situation every few years to make sure you are choosing the best plan.
One helpful resource is
Start by estimating your expected health care expenses for the upcoming year. Take a look at your costs for the current year and think about what might change for the forthcoming year. Write down both the costs and how much you paid.
If you know you are planning to have a procedure, such as a knee replacement, in the upcoming year, get the procedure code from your doctor. You can then go to Medicare.gov to compare national average prices for procedures and learn how much the patient is generally responsible for paying.
Review the Medigap standardized plans to see coverage options. All Medigap plans carry a letter designation, such as “C,” to denote the type of plan. All plans with the same letter code provide the same coverage, no matter what company offers them.
Coverage varies according to the letter code of the plan. For example, some plans cover 100% of some benefits, some plans offer coverage when traveling to foreign countries, and some plans pay lower percentages of benefits until the insured reaches an out-of-pocket limit.
Select the two or three most favorable plan letter codes, then compare premiums.
Calculate the annual premium for each company and add it to your previous expenses estimate. You’ll have a clearer picture of which companies and plan types will save the most money.
By taking the time to do this exercise every few years, you can stay on top of your choices and be confident you are selecting a Medigap plan wisely.