Medigap or Plan B also called a Medicare Supplement Plan B, provides the same benefits as Plan A. However, it will also cover your Part A hospital deductible for you. This is a huge benefit since the deductible in 2018 is $1,340 and tends to go up somewhat every year. Having Medicare Supplement Plan B means you’ll never have to worry about that deductible going up because it is covered by the plan.
Medigap Plan B covers several gaps that Medicare leaves behind in the form of out-of-pocket costs. Purchasing a Medicare Plan B makes is possible that you’ll not have any of those costs to worry about.
Your hospital deductible is based on a benefit period, it’s not an annual deductible. This is important to understand because a new medicare benefit period can re-occur anytime you have been out of the hospital 60 days or more. Medicare Plan B will pay the deductible even if you incur it more than once in the same year.
Here’s an example: Martha has a chronic heart condition that causes her to have an overnight hospital stay in May. Then she is admitted again in September for the same heart condition. Because her hospital stays are more than 60 days apart, she would normally have to pay the $1,340 deductible TWICE.
Fortunately, Martha had well considered her Medicare options and purchased a Medigap Plan B policy to cover the out-of-pocket costs that medicare doesn’t cover like the hospital deductible. That policy pays both deductibles for her. She’ll owe nothing to the hospital for the semi-private room she had during her stay as an inpatient.
However Martha’s Medicare Supplement Plan B policy doesn’t cover everything, for example there is no coverage for things like foreign travel or excess doctor charges that Medicare allows. Now Martha could consider a different Medigap plan if she wants to have coverage for foreign travel, excess doctor fees that can be as high as 15% over the normal medicare doctor fee and other out-of-pocket costs as well. Plans that provide more coverage are Medicare Supplement Plan F or Plan G.
Each private insurer that offers Medigap Plan B must provide the benefits established by the government by they still can set their own rates. These rates set by the insurance carrier’s can vary widely by region. Your zip code, your gender, your age, whether you are a tobacco user or not affect your eligibility. You may also be eligible to receive household discounts if two medicare beneficiaries purchase a medicare plan b from the same insurance company, this too affects the rate as well.
The individual insurance carrier’s themselves also all have different loss experience called “loss ratios” from their existing clients. Based on this claims experience or “loss ratio”, the company sets pricing in anticipation of how much they expect to pay out in claims, there operating costs, projected profits they wish to attain for their stockholders etc… In other words, each carrier has different rates because each carrier has different profit goals. What you need to remember is that the benefits are standardized so a Medicare Supplement Plan B with insurance carrier X has the same benefits as a Medicare Supplement Plan B with insurance carrier Y. Choosing the right carrier with low rates and a good stable history of the low rate is something we can help you with. Our quoting software can provide all the information you need to make an informed decision.
Medicare Supplement Plan B is one of the many different supplemental plans of insurance that you can buy to help offset your out-of-pocket expenses. It is not the same as Medicare Part B, which is your outpatient medical coverage under Original Medicare that you must pay a premium for and have deducted from Social Security check each month.
You must have Original Medicare Part B for outpatient coverage, but because it only covers 80% of your medical costs, you still need a supplement or medigap plan to pay the expenses that original Medicare doesn’t cover. Just make sure not to confuse the Plan B wit Part B – and if you find it hard to keep the differences straight, please give our Medicare Coverage Helpline a call at 1-866-936-3831.
We wish the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) had chosen to use different terms to define the medicare program. These two things are so similarly named, that many people find the terminology hard to keep straight which is which. It’s very important though to understand the difference because it will affect which coverage you ultimately decide to purchase for yourself that will effectively protect you from the coinsurance, deductibles and copayments that Original Medicare doesn’t pay for.
Contact the Medicare Coverage Helpline
Just contact our agency, the licensed experts can find a plan that fits your personal needs. Call our Medicare Coverage Helpline for no-hassle assistance in understanding your benefits, at 1-866-936-3831