Whether you have recently joined a Medicare plan or you have been on one for years, you may not know that there are supplemental plans available, called Medigap plans. They are named so because they help fill in the financial gap between what Medicare covers on its own and what you have to pay out of pocket. In very rare cases, you might have Medicaid and Medicare combined. If not, you may want to ask about that option. Otherwise, continue on to learn how you can choose the right Medigap plan to meet your medical and financial needs.
Don’t Confuse Medicaid with Medicare
First of all, keep Medicare and Medicaid separate in your mind. Most people only qualify for one or the other. Medicaid is based on income, while Medicare is based on age. Medicaid covers far more than Medicare, including the cost of prescription and co-pays.
Make Sure Medigap is Right for You
Keep in mind that Medigap plans are meant for people who are paying more for out of pocket medical care than they can afford on top of the Medicare payments. Therefore it stands to reason that before you can qualify for Medigap, you have to qualify for Medicare. However, there are other plans to choose from, so you need to learn about all of your options before trying to enroll in a Medigap plan.
Medigap and Medicare Advantage
One reason that you need to be careful about the plan you choose is that you can’t combine all plans. Medigap works with Medicare to reduce your costs. However, if you are enrolled in Medicare Advantage, you won’t be able to enroll in Medigap because your costs are already reduced. That’s why you really need to speak with a professional who can interpret your medical and financial needs to combine what they learn with the available plans to find the right combination for you.
Don’t Forget Prescriptions
In some cases, Medigap isn’t what you need at all. Perhaps you have one doctor’s visit a month to refill your prescription. In that case, a prescription plan may be more along the lines of what you are looking for than a Medigap plan. When your prescriptions cost more than your visits or other treatments, you need to at least consider a Medicare prescription plan.
Reading through all the jargon that defines each plan, benefits, and costs can be difficult enough without trying to compare your current costs on top of it. Talk to an insurance professional who can help you determine what plan or combination of plans will best serve you.