2018 Medicare supplement plans are secondary insurance policies. Since Medicare does not cover everything, these plans fill several coverage gaps. However, they do not cover everything, and some may only cover a percentage of a service. There are several Medicare supplement plans to consider in 2018. To better understand supplemental policies, it is important to first understand how Medicare works and what it does not cover.
The main parts of Medicare are Part A and Part B. Part A mostly covers hospital care. This includes everything from hospice and home health to necessary hospital stays or skilled nursing care. However, there are limitations. Part B covers basic medical services such as regular checkups, preventative services, imaging tests, blood work, outpatient services, mental health care and medical equipment.
Medicare Part D coverage is for prescription drugs. Anyone who uses the original Part A and Part B option for Medicare coverage should also have a Part D plan to keep medication costs lower. Part D is not typically necessary for people who choose to participate in a Part C plan. This provision covers more than most other prescription drug plans in 2018.
Medicare Part C is a coverage option allowing private insurance companies to offer Medicare benefits through their own policies. It is not a separate benefit. The private insurers must cover the same benefits outlined in Part A and Part B coverage. However, plan members are limited to the care network of that insurer. Most insurers also include prescription drug coverage, which is similar to Part D coverage.
Keep in mind that supplemental policies and Advantage plans are completely different. While Advantage or Part C plans actually provide the same benefits as Medicare, supplemental policies provide coverage for items that Original Medicare or Part C plans do not cover. Many people who use a Part C plan also purchase a supplemental insurance plan.
Supplemental policies are classified by letters of the alphabet. Some come with more provisions than others, and some do not cover certain provisions at 100 percent. The following are the plan choices for 2018 Medicare supplement plans:
Although several factors affect plan pricing, one of the main variables is the provider. A difference in underwriting may save a consumer some money when shopping for plans. Location and age also affect final pricing. For example, 2018 Medicare supplement plans from Aetna may cost less than Humana Medigap plans for a person in a certain location, and United Healthcare Medigap plans for 2018 may be more affordable than both of those options in a different state or county. Plans can vary in pricing from one zip code to another as well as from one state to another.
Another good reason to compare plans is the difference in pricing due to age in 2018. An 80-year-old person searching for 2017 Blue Cross Blue Shield Medicare supplements may actually find a better rate with another company despite having success with BCBS in the past. This could be because of the age difference. For example, the average premium for an 80-year-old person in California in 2010 was $279, and the average premium for a 65-year-old person was $177.
These are the main 2018 Medicare supplement plan providers:
Ideally, many Medicare beneficiaries with limited income will qualify for a zero premium plan to cut down on costs that are not covered 100 percent by a supplemental policy or not at all by Medicare. This is a quick summary of the benefits covered by Medigap policies:
Medicare supplement plan F is the policy option with the most comprehensive coverage details. While many plans cover the majority of the previous provisions at 100 percent, Plan K covers most items at 50 percent. Plan L covers most items at 75 percent. Plan K and Plan L do not cover foreign travel emergency care, and all other plans cover it at 80 percent. Supplemental plan provisions do not change much each year.
To qualify for a supplemental policy, a person must have Medicare Part A and Part B. Since premiums vary based on age, location and insurer, it is important to compare several 2018 Medigap plan options before making a decision. Use our side-by-side comparison tool to look for cheap plans. Simply select the correct state from the drop-down menu to instantly see all available Medicare supplemental plans and their prices for 2018.