Message from Wiley Long
President - ColoHealth
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Medicare Supplement Insurance and Medicare Advantage Plans In Colorado

Medigap Insurance: Why Do You Need It If You Have Medicare?

If you’re approaching age 65 and you’ve started doing some research into your health care coverage options, you may have discovered that Medicare can be confusing. Have you figured out what Medicare will cover as what as what it won’t cover? Have you looked at the list of prescription drugs you take, and thought about what your monthly expenditures for them will be, since Medicare alone does not cover the cost of prescription drugs? Medicare's benefit periods, coinsurance, copayments and deductibles often make Medicare difficult to understand for many people.

In addition to Medicare, there are additional plans you should consider in order to reduce your out-of-pocket costs. Medicare alone can leave you with considerable expenditures. Recent figures indicate that it only covers, on average, about 51% of medical costs in a year for an individual.

The Different Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans

Generally speaking, Medicare Part A covers charges incurred if you are admitted to the hospital for treatment. Part B covers doctors visits. There are deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance associated with both Parts A and B, and  Medicare Supplement plans are designed to help pay those costs.

Medicare Supplement Plans (also called “Medigap” plans) are designed to limit your expenditures. They do this by helping with the copayments and deductibles, and by limiting the amount you’ll spend out of your own pocket. These plans are offered by private insurance companies, but their benefits are standardized, which makes comparisons between them fairly straightforward. All ten of these plans cover copayments to see a doctor or go to the emergency room. Medigap policies can also help if your doctor charges more that the pre-approved amount Medicare will pay for procedures.

Medicare Supplement plan coverage is even more important when you are admitted to the hospital. That's because you must meet Medicare's Part A deductible of $1,100 per illness before Medicare pays for hospital charges every time you’re admitted to the hospital. Medicare Supplemental health insurance pays that deductible for you.

Medigap insurance also covers the Medicare coinsurance charges if you have to stay in the hospital for more than 60 days. With Medigap insurance, you can get the hospital care you need without being overwhelmed by the expense.

Medigap coverage can protect your health and your retirement savings when you need either doctor or hospital care.  It can also help with care in a skilled nursing facility when you leave the hospital. Medigap coverage can pick up the charges after comprehensive Medicare coverage ends.

Medicare Supplement insurance can extend your rehabilitation in a skilled nursing facility, so you're ready to take care of yourself when you do go home. That reduces the chances that you'll have to be readmitted to the hospital. With Medicare Supplement Insurance, you can rebuild your strength and stamina to regain your independence.

Medigap Plan F and Plan N

Medigap Plan F is the most popular plan and it offers the most complete coverage. Because Plan F covers more, premiums for Medigap Plan F will be higher than those of most other plans.

At the other end of the spectrum, the new Medicare Supplement Plan N pares down coverage and offers one the lowest premiums. Even with lower premiums, Medicare Supplement Plan N still helps with the really big gaps in Medicare, such as hospitalization costs.

Comparing Medigap plans can help show you all the different combinations of coverage available so you can get help with the expenses you have without paying for the benefits you don't need. It's also important to check Medigap comparisons between insurance companies, which can charge different prices for the same plan.

How Will I Cover the Costs of My Prescriptions?

As mentioned above, neither Medicare nor Medicare Supplement plans cover the costs of prescription drugs, unless they are prescribed by a doctor for use during an inpatient hospital stay. This can become a significant cost, since many Americans take several prescription drugs a day, and the number increases as you age.

Part D Prescription Drug plans are available from private insurance companies, and for a small monthly premium, they help with the cost of prescription drugs. Each insurance company covers drugs differently, so when you’re shopping for a prescription drug plan it’s extremely important to consider what drugs you take now, and if possible what drugs you might take in the future, and make sure that the policy you’re considering will cover them.

What About a Medicare Advantage Plan?

Medicare Advantage plans offer a different type of solution for those looking to more completely protect themselves from the excess out-of-pocket costs of having original Medicare along. People who have Medicare Advantage plans do not have Medicare Parts A and B. They are required to use the doctors and hospitals within the networks (either Preferred Provider Organizations or Health Maintenance Organizations) of the plans they sign up for. Medicare Advantage plans often cover the costs of prescription drugs, and sometimes offer additional benefits, such as health club memberships. Like Medicare Supplement plans, Medicare Advantage plans are offered by private insurance companies, and there is a wide array of plans and premiums.

Where to Turn for Help

If you would like more information on Medicare Supplement insurance, Medicare Advantage plans, Part D Prescription Drug plans, or any other Medicare-related services, we strongly recommend consulting the experts at our sister company, Medigap Advisors. They have great information on their website about all of the options available to you for health coverage when you turn 65. You can also run online quotes and set up an appointment with a qualified Personal Benefits Advisor to discuss your needs. You can also reach them by phone at (866) 323-1441.


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"You were very responsive when I first called, followed up well, and were patient and helpful despite me taking so long to make my decision.  You were the most helpful in guiding me through the process of selecting what was right for me.  In today's world of web-based and long-distance business, your personal touch was and continues to be important for me.

I appreciate your willingness to work with the customers, providing information online for the customers to peruse before they buy, providing choices to the customers, and assisting the customers in selecting from them.

Thanks for continuing to follow up, you have been very helpful. I would most definitely recommend you to others.

Murali Gopalakrishnan
Computer Analyst
Superior, CO