Medicare Eligibility – The Differences Between Medigap Plans & Medicare Advantage Plans
Medicare Supplement insurance plans are a kind of private medical insurance that is designed to work in conjunction with the popular Medicare program. A Medigap policy will help you cover those out-of-pocket costs associated with Medicare. You essentially pay a regular monthly premium to a private insurance firm and in return, the company covers your out-of-pocket expenses. To be eligible for the plan, you must meet certain requirements, and there are a few tips you should follow to make sure you get the best plan available.
The first set of tips relates specifically to senior citizens. You should realize that Medicare does not pay for prescription drugs. As such, if you take any medications, you will need to purchase them on your own. If you are taking medication for high blood pressure, cancer, depression, diabetes, or an anxiety disorder, likely, your insurance provider will not pay anything at all for those medications, so you will have to handle those costs on your own.
Second, if you do plan on traveling outside of the United States, especially to Canada, make sure you understand what Medigap coverage means under the specific rules of that country. For example, in Canada, long-term medications are not covered. In the United States, if you travel outside of the 50 states, you are usually going to be accepted into a plan that provides coverage for a year to five years. Before enrolling in a plan, check to make sure that it covers long-term medications and that it does not have restrictions on covered medications.
Third, once you are a citizen of the United States, you should also realize that different insurance companies treat you differently depending on whether or not you are a resident or non-resident of the United States. Some companies only provide coverage if you are a United States resident. On the other hand, some Medigap insurance plans are available only if you are a non-resident of the United States. Therefore, before beginning the process of applying, you should know how the insurance company treats you and how your plan works.
Lastly, before enrolling in any Medigap insurance plans, be sure to do your homework. Compare the cost of the different plans side-by-side, and familiarize yourself with the different coverage plans.
You can learn about the difference between managed care and fee-for-service plans, the difference between premium and deductible plans, the difference between health maintenance organizations and point-of-service plans, and even the difference between short-term and long-term care policies. By doing so, you will be able to select the best plan for you, regardless of your current health care needs.
If you meet the Medicare eligibility guidelines, you may also want to consider enrolling in Medicare Advantage Plans. These are supplemental insurance policies that offer additional benefits, such as prescription drug coverage, at a more expensive rate than traditional Medicare. Medicare Advantage Plans must be selected based on your current circumstances, but they are often more beneficial than the Medigap plans.
However, some Medigap plans also offer Medicare Advantage plans, which are often better than the standard policies, because they offer more flexible enrollment periods. Regardless of which type of Medicare coverage you choose, knowing the difference between Medigap policies and Medicare Advantage Plans will help you make an informed decision about your health care needs.