If you're wondering whether to buy supplemental insurance to handle the costs that Medicare won't cover, there are 6 things you need to know.
- If you apply during Medicare's open enrollment period, you're guaranteed coverage. This is the best time to apply for supplemental insurance. There won't be any questions about your health, and you can't be turned down. You can still apply if it's outside open enrollment, but you aren't guaranteed coverage. To check on your Medicare enrollment status, visit Medicare.gov.
- You choose your doctor and care facility. In many health care provider networks, you have to stick with "in-network" providers or you pay a hefty fee. Not with Medicare supplement insurance. You can see any doctor at any time, without any additional fees.
- Help stretch your retirement dollars by keeping future health care costs low. If you're concerned about outliving your assets, you're not alone. People are living longer, but their retirement dollars aren't going further. That means you have to find ways to cut costs. Medicare supplement insurance helps you do just that. These plans pay for your Medicare co-insurance, co-pays, deductibles, and more. If you're worried about being able to pay for the care you need later in life, the time to protect yourself is now.TIP: For maximum protection, check out Medicare supplement plan F and plan G. Only these plans cover what's known as "excess charges." This is the difference between what your hospital and doctor charge, and what Medicare will pay.
- It renews as long as you keep the policy in force. Even if your health gets worse, your policy can't be cancelled. Just keep making your monthly premium payments, and your coverage is guaranteed to renew.
- It's accepted everywhere Medicare is accepted. You don't have to worry about some doctors taking Medicare, but not your supplemental insurance. All doctors who accept Medicare patients will accept your insurance.
- Coverage is valid anywhere in the U.S. Many retirees like to travel, but that takes them outside the coverage area of their primary care physician. Both Medicare and supplementary coverage is valid anywhere in the U.S. Some plans even include limited coverage if you have a medical emergency while you're out of the country.
Your next question is probably about Medicare supplemental insurance cost. On average, it costs about $178 per month (just over $2,000 per year). That's not very much when you start to add up the potential costs of your future healthcare needs.