Medicare Supplement

If you’re one of the many millions of baby boomers turning 65 soon, you’re probably thinking about Medicare and Medicare supplement insurance.  You’re likely wondering how you can possibly afford both Medicare premiums and premiums for a Medicare supplement insurance policy.  This may be even more of a worry if you’re not going to have a part-time job after you retire at age 65.

To decide if you’re going to need help to fill the gap in coverage that’s left after Medicare pays 80% of your medical bills, your first step should be to learn some basic facts about what Medicare and Medicare supplement policies cover.

What Medicare Pays For

Original Medicare Part A is hospital coverage that pays for:

  • Inpatient hospital services
  • Skilled nursing facility care (after a hospital stay)
  • Home health care
  • Hospice Care
  • All but the first 3 pints of blood you receive per calendar year

Original Medicare Part B is medical coverage and pays for:

  • Medical expenses
  • Home health care
  • Clinical laboratory services
  • Outpatient treatment
  • Durable medical equipment and supplies
  • Preventive health care including exams, screenings and shots

Original Medicare Part D is prescription drug coverage and pays for generic and brand-name prescription drugs.

What Medicare Doesn’t Pay For

  • Custodial care
  • More than 100 days of skilled nursing home care following a hospital stay
  • Homemakers services
  • Private-duty nursing care
  • Dental cleanings, fillings, extractions and dentures
  • Medical care while traveling outside the U.S.
  • Cosmetic surgery
  • Preventive care of the feet
  • Eye exams and glasses
  • Hearing exams and hearing aids

What Medicare Supplement Insurance Pays For

According to Medicare.gov, there are 10 standard Medicare supplement insurance plans – A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M and N, and each offers different benefits that are set by the U.S. government, though all 10 plans offer these basic benefits:

  • Part A coinsurance and hospital costs up to an additional 365 days after Medicare benefits are gone
  • Part B coinsurance or copayment
  • Part A hospice care coinsurance or copayment
  • The first 3 pints of blood

If you choose plans F, K, L or M, you’ll share a greater portion of the costs through higher coinsurance and copayment rates.  And like Medicare, Medicare supplement insurance generally doesn’t cover long-term care, vision care, dental care, hearing aids, eyeglasses or private-duty nursing.

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