Medicare Supplement Plan B is an insurance plan that is used to provide health security coverage for hospital bills not covered by government-offered Medicare plans.
These medical services may include the use of ambulance services, outpatient medical costs, and rehabilitation services like physiotherapy if prescribed by the doctor.
Medicare Supplement plans, also referred to as Medigap plans, are available in ten different options ranging from A-N. Each plan offers slightly different gap coverage as far as what you would have to pay out-of-pocket with just Medicare.
Supplemental Plan B is different from the actual Medicare Part B program offered by the government although they are names are very similar.
Medicare Supplement Plan B covers:
Medicare Part A coinsurance and hospital costs
Medigap Plan B also helps to cover any extra charges. These changes occur when you have been admitted for a period longer than Medicare is willing to cover.
For reference, Medicare generally only covers the first 60 days to 150 days you are in the hospital.
Medicare Part B co-insurance and co-payment
Medicare Part B covers 80 percent of outpatient costs. Medigap plan B covers the other 20 percent acting as either co-insurance or co-payment for the balance. The goal is to reduce your cost to zero.
- Blood Transfusion- Medicare Supplement Plan B will cover the first three pints of blood given in the hospital if you require a blood transfusion.
- Medicare Part A deductible- If you are admitted to the hospital, you’ll need to pay $1,340 out of pocket before Medicare Part A will begin covering costs—this is considered a deductible. The Medigap Plan B covers for this initial amount and is credited as a deductible paid.
- Medicare Part A hospice care – Hospice care is given to patients who are terminally ill towards the end of their journies. Medicare Plan B caters for 5 percent of hospice care if the doctor states that the patient only has six months to live and any other additional costs above the Medicare-approved amount.
Medicare Supplement Plan B requires that you already be enrolled in Medicare, meaning you are over the age of 65 or have a permanent disability.
There is a Medigap Open Enrollment Period (OEP) during the six months after you are approved for Medicare. While you can get approved outside of this time, this is the easiest time to enroll.
The Medicare Supplement Plan B has the following benefits:
Coverage for your hospital deductible – If for instance you got admitted once in the hospital at the beginning of the year, and then get admitted again after four months. If you are under the Medigap Plan B, you will not have to worry about paying for the second admission in the hospital, as the plan will cover this bill.
Coverage hospice care costs of the terminally ill patients
Coverage the cost of the blood received – up to three pints as well as basic hospital expenses like Medicare Part B co-insurance payments.
Uniform benefits regardless of the company you choose– This is under strict regulation. Standardization of coverage for insurance companies was a big step for the industry.
It meant that all companies had to offer the same coverage benefits for specific medical plans—regardless of the state. It means when one purchases a Medicare Plan B in Insurance Company A, it should be covering the same things as that of company B.
The Cost of Medicare Supplement Plan B
While the coverage itself must be uniform between provides, the cost is held to no such requirement. Different insurance companies have different fee structures regarding their Medicare Plan B policies.
The most common factors, however, are usually age, location, gender, and health history. These fee structures are broken into three primary types including:
- Issue-age-related: This pricing schedule determines the amount of premium by the age at which you purchased the policy plan. In this system the younger you are, the less costly the premium is. These policies are often of benefit to younger applicants with poor health histories or existing conditions.
- Community-rated: With community-rated premiums, everyone purchasing the policy will be paying the same amount of premium, regardless of whether they are young or old at the time of purchase. This flat rate can vary on numerous factors, such as inflation, making it a more volatile choice.
- Attained- age rated: Attained-age is a price rating system where the premium paid increases as you age. For example, if you purchase a premium policy at the age of 65 for $120, when you’re 67 years old, the premium will be $123, at 70 years it will be $125. This system portrays an increase in the amount after years.
In all cases, other factors may contribute to the increase of a premium. These may include high inflation and the rise in health care costs.
It’s best to compare all three options from multiple companies. Supplemental plans are one area where shopping around can mean a drastic difference in the cost of the plan. Be sure to do your research and get as many quotes as possible.
Medicare Plan B is offered by private insurance companies and licensed insurance agents. It is available everywhere Medicare is—meaning throughout the United States.
However, Medicare Supplement coverage in Massachutes, Minnesota, and Wisconsin is a bit different but still offered.
Plan B is not affected by the upcoming change in regulation for supplemental plans in January of 2020 and will remain unchanged.
Those changes only apply to plans that cover Medicare Plan B deductible costs (so plan C and F) and are aimed at reducing Medicare overuse. Medigap Plan B only covers Medicare Plan B co-insurance payments—not deductibles.
This distinction is important, as even though your insurance paid out the rest of the claim, you won’t be credited it against the required annual deductible.
Medigap Plan B Alternatives
Plan A – The most basic of all the medigap plans, Medicare supplement plan A has coverage for four of the ten gaps.
Plan N – Combining a large amount of coverage with small deductibles, Medigap Plan N is a top option for many people.
Plan G – Only lacking coverage for the Part B deductible, Medsup plan G is one of the two most popular plans.
Medicare Supplement Plan B Bottom Line
Medigap plan B provides minimal coverage at one of the lowest prices available for medicare supplement coverage. While it may not cover all the gaps left by Medicare, it is a solid plan and can be great for the right person.