Medicare supplement programs can be confusing for many that are eligible for Medicare but need additional health insurance coverage to close the holes in coverage found with Medicare deductible, coinsurance and copays. However, there are so many on the market today that the average Medicare covered insured can be confused by what is a great supplement coverage for the money paid.

Supplemental coverage is a single contract similar to the Medicare coverage. These are offered by major insurance companies as well as smaller companies. Companies typically offer more than one type of contract. Buying a company name doesn’t necessarily mean you are purchasing the best supplemental policy for you.

Contracts will vary depending on what is covered and what is not covered on the supplemental policy. How much of copay, coinsurance and deductibles are paid and any services not covered by Medicare but are covered by the supplemental policy.

Services Medicare generally doesn’t cover include preventative services such as physical examinations or routine laboratory services. Even chiropractic services are routinely denied by Medicare.  Along with coverage variations are costs of Medicare Supplement policies. The more coverage you have the higher the costs.

It is critical to determine what you can afford in Medicare Supplement coverage costs. However, you also want to consider what kind of services you are using. For example, if you aren’t using your coverage very often and you are a fairly healthy person, having a policy that is covering many services that you aren’t using may be wasting your hard earned dollars by purchasing a more expensive policy.

Costs of policies can vary from carrier to carrier and from state to state. For example, the same plan offered by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Iowa can vary from state to state. You may purchase a Plan F from the state of Iowa and pay $800 and purchase the same Plan F from the state of Florida and pay $2100.  You can purchase a similar plan through Mutual of Omaha and pay $600. It pays to shop around for costs as well as coverage.  

Verify with the carrier if you purchase your plan and conclude you need more or less coverage, changes can be made without underwriting or passing health questions. If you have a company that allows you to make changes without penalty, this is great. You are estimating what coverage you will need if you don’t take the most expensive coverage with the most services covered. If your health needs change, the ability to change your coverage without penalty is a valuable asset to consider when deciding what company to go with.

When you have established what plan and coverage you would like to obtain, numerous companies offer a discount if you pay for more months of coverage upfront or through automatic withdrawal from your banking  account. You can pay for 3 months or 6 months of coverage and a discount may be offered by paying for the 6 months of coverage upfront versus paying 3 months. Automatic account withdrawal works well for some, better than obtaining a check or money order and sending it through the mail. These are two methods of obtaining a discount for something that you would have purchased anyway.

Purchasing a Medicare Supplemental policy can be difficult but these are some helpful points that will make your trek a little easier. Consider costs and coverage when determining which policy to buy. Smaller companies may have the best policy for you. You don’t need to necessarily purchase your policy from a large company to have a remarkable supplemental policy that works for you.