Most people are well aware of the gaps within the original Medicare plan. For one, there is no stop loss feature. Other health insurance policies will pay 100 percent toward certain medical services after you meet your deductible, for example, you might have to pay $1,500 per year before your benefits will kick in. If you have Original Medicare and need hospital care or must enter a nursing home, this applies to you. More about the author
Many people buy Medicare Supplemental (Medigap) Insurance policies to fill in the gaps within their existing coverage, which might include co-payments or deductibles. Medicare Advantage Plans cover all the same services Original Medicare covers, and potentially some it doesn`t. These plans are offered in some parts of the country through private insurance companies, but are still part of the Medicare program. If you`d like to switch to a Medicare Advantage Plan, now is the perfect time. Open enrollment for Medicare Advantage extends from January 1st through March 31st. You are eligible for a Medicare Advantage Plan if you currently have Medicare Part A or Part B. You will, however, need to see doctors and use hospitals within the plan, much like you would with an HMO. If you`d like to switch plans, keep in mind that you cannot drop Medicare prescription drug coverage. If your existing plan has prescription drug coverage, then your new one needs to have it as well.
For more information on the plans available in your area, visit Medicare’s web site or call 1-800-633-4227. Your new plan should be effective on the first of the month after your request is received. Still not sure what all the Medicare plans cover? Gilbert Guide lists all of the major types of insurance as well as what they cover. For a detailed explanation, check out Gilbert Guide’s Medicare Explained or Senior Care Reimbursement Overview, which will show you where each type of insurance pays benefits.