How to Choose the Right Medigap Plan
Navigating healthcare policies is a headache, but it shouldn’t be — especially given the global health crisis. This process can be even trickier for those taking care of their elderly parents, which is why seeking the help of elder law attorneys in Los Angeles is so necessary.
Indeed, numbers from the Lost Angeles Times show that there are around 744,000 confirmed cases of COVID019 within California and a little over 13,000 deaths. Health experts posit that the actual numbers are much higher than the official tallies. These numbers aren’t meant to scare you, but to give you a realistic picture of the current health situation.
The truth is that this global pandemic isn’t going to end anytime soon, so the best we can do now is to stay vigilant and take care of ourselves as much as possible. Aside from partnering with trusted elder care attorneys in Los Angeles, your first goal should be to educate yourself and find out what policies you need to invest in.
If you’re reading this article, chances are you’re looking to invest in healthcare solutions for you and your loved ones. That’s a great first step, so keep reading below to learn more about Medigap and find the policies that are right for you.
To understand what Medigap is, you first need to look at Medicare. Medicare is the government’s health insurance program that’s aimed mostly at senior citizens aged 65 years old and above, and covers the following services:
- Part A helps cover hospital insurance, which accounts for nursing facility care, hospice care, and the like.
- Part B helps cover medical insurance, including specific doctor’s appointments, outpatient care, medical supplies, and preventive services.
- Part D helps cover the costs of prescription drugs, including a number of recommended shots and vaccines.
While Medicare can give patients a bit of a boost, even a cursory glance shows that it is nowhere near enough to fully address the needs of your average patient. This is where Medigap comes in.
As the name suggests, Medigap aims to cover the gaps within Medicare’s current policy. Investopedia’s overview on Medigap highlights that this program is meant to help those who need more coverage for services under Part A and Part B.
Because it is under the umbrella of Medicare, Medigap can also be used in any doctor’s office that accepts Medicare. Since there are quite a number of hospitals that do accept it, supplementing your loved one’s Medicare with Medigap policies can be a worthy investment.
You’d also want to check to see if you or your loved one already has employee or union benefits that cover Medicare’s leftover costs. If this is the case, you may not even.
Types of Medigap Policies
We mentioned earlier that Medigap helps with Parts A and B of Medicare coverage, but there is more to that than meets the eye. The federal government standardized Medigap offerings in 2010, creating a set of 10 options: A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M, and N.
As of January 2020, those newly eligible for Medicare and Medigap can no longer avail of plans C and F. This is because Congress ruled that Medigap would no longer be able to cover annual deductibles from Part B of Medicare. That said, those who were already enrolled in Medigap plans C and F prior to January 2020 can keep these options.
Having these Medigap policies standardized means that each plan will stay the same no matter which insurer you go to. The difference between plans lies in the coverage: for instance, while all plans cover Medicare Part A coinsurance and hospital costs, Medigap plans D, G, M, and N also offer some coverage for foreign travel emergencies.
Differences in premiums is one of the biggest factors people keep in mind when deciding between Medigap policies. In general, premiums can classified in three ways:
- “Community-rated” plans mean that everyone who avails of that particular plan pays the same rate across the board.
- “Attained age” means that your initial rate depends on how old you are at the time of application, and this price will increase as you get older.
- “Issue age” means that unlike plans that are rated by attained age, your rate doesn’t change as you age. However, this means that younger applicants may pay less, so it’s best to start sooner rather than later.
It’s also important to keep in mind that Medigap options differ by state. Finding reputable trust attorneys in Orange County can help you find out what plans apply to you and how you can avail of them.
Applying for Medigap
Once you’ve more or less decided that you want to supplement your loved one’s Medicare plan with Medigap, the next step is figuring out how to apply.
The tricky thing about Medigap is that applicants have a brief period of time after their 65th birthday where they can easily apply for Medigap, no questions asked.
For applicants who have missed that window, insurance companies may then look into your health history to determine whether you are eligible for such policies. Certified Orange County trust attorneys can help give you some legal guidance if this is the case, and give you a working plan that you can proceed from.
According to ElderLawAnswers, the first rule to keep in mind is that you should start by shopping around for the right Medigap policy provider. It can be extremely costly to switch between Medigap plans, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.
The ElderLawAnswers article also states that Medigap prices can vary widely within companies. Just because Company A offers the lowest coverage for Medigap plan A doesn’t mean it will offer the lowest price for all other Medigap plans.
The advantages of having Medigap as part of your coverage far outweigh the hassle of researching for the best plan. We at McKenzie Legal and Financial pride ourselves on our team of reputable trust attorneys in Orange County, California. If you need help navigating the ins and outs of Medigap, don’t hesitate to contact us so we can help you get the care you need.