Medicare Supplements are insurance plans that cover a percentage (or all) of your cost-sharing responsibilities that Medicare requires of you should you have lengthy hospital stays.
There are 10 lettered plans, A-N, that each cover a different percentage of the out-of-pocket costs Medicare sticks you with.
Some even cover a percentage of a foreign travel emergency.
Medicare Supplements are standardized, meaning no matter which company you go with a plan of the same letter will have the same coverage. The only difference between companies is price.
What costs do Medicare Supplements cover?
Each plan covers a different percentage of the following items:
- Medicare Part A coinsurance or copayment and hospital costs
- Medicare Part B coinsurance or copayment
- First three pints of a blood transfusion
- Part A hospice care coinsurance or copayment
- Skilled nursing facility coinsurance
- Medicare Part A deductible
- Medicare Part B deductible***
- Medicare Part B excess charges
- Foreign travel emergency (up to plan limits)
*** Those who turn 65 after January 1, 2020 are not eligible for plans that offer this benefit.
How much are Medicare copayments?
For Part A, you’ll have your $1,408 deductible for each benefit period. Then you’ll have coinsurance depending on how long your hospital stay is:
- Days 1-60: $0 coinsurance for each benefit period
- Days 61-90: $352 coinsurance per day of each benefit period
- Days 91 and beyond: $704 coinsurance per each “lifetime reserve day” after day 90 for each benefit period (up to 60 days over your lifetime)
- Beyond lifetime reserve days: all costs
For Part B, it’s 20% of the Medicare-approved amount for most doctor services, outpatient therapy, and durable medical equipment. Part B has a deductible of $198 in 2020.
When can I enroll?
Once you have Medicare Part B, you are able to enroll at any time. The best time to enroll is within six months of your Part B effective date. During this time you cannot be turned down for any health conditions, cannot be asked any medical questions, and cannot be charged an additional premium for any health reasons.
After that, your premium and enrollment is subject to medical underwriting.
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