The importance of having health insurance can’t be stressed enough.
Unfortunately, many people avoid getting health insurance because it’s not only expensive but confusing. Medicare, in particular, is complex along with all its supplemental plans.
What is Medicare Supplement Plan D?
Medicare Supplemental Plan D, is then, of course, one these Medigap plans.
This plan is used in tandem with your initial Medicare coverage and is meant to cover some of your out-of-pocket costs, such as coinsurance, co-payments, or deductibles, that are not necessarily covered by Medicare.
It is crucial not to confuse Medicare Supplemental Plan D with Medicare Part D. The US government offers Medicare Part D. Private insurance companies offer supplemental Plan D.
Medicare Part D covers prescriptions, often in conjunction with Medicare Part A as well as Part B, while the Medicare Supplemental Plan D is insurance coverage that complements Medicare coverage.
Medigap plans including Plan D, are regulated and standardized by the government to ensure their validity and quality of service.
Medicare Supplemental Plan D is considered to have more benefits compared to Medigap plans A and B, but it is not better than Medicare Supplemental Plan C or F. It is, however, cheaper than the latter two, and often considered the middle ground.
On that note, it’s worth mentioning that both plan C and F will be discontinued beginning January 2020.
You can enroll in these plans until that date, and existing policies will remain in effect after that date, but no new applications will be accepted past the deadline.
This change is a result of a congressional ruling which deemed plans that cover Medicare Plan B deductible costs were increasing the prevalence of Medicare overuse.
Benefits of the Plan
The Medicare Supplemental Plan D offers a variety of benefits— benefits that are certainly different when compared to the other Medicare supplemental plans. That said, those benefits are as follows:
-Just like Medicare Supplemental Plan C, Medigap Plan D is a comprehensive plan. It enables access to Medicare Part A hospital and coinsurance costs that will cover up to a year of costs once you deplete the original Medicare benefits.
-It can be used to cover Medicare Part A deductibles, which goes a long way to ensure your costs come down. In addition to Medicare Part A deductibles, Medigap Plan D includes hospice care coinsurance and co-payments for both Part A and B.
-When it comes to hospital staff access, this plan will ensure you have access to skilled nursing care based on coinsurance.
-When it comes to issues pertaining to blood, the first three pints are covered by the plan during any medical procedure requiring a blood transfusion.
-It also offers coverage for foreign travel emergency care, where eighty percent of the agreed costs are covered, subject to the plan limits.
Costs of Plan D
Price is a major concern for many when insurance policies are being talked about. However, it’s always important to compare the costs of insurance against the cost of paying out-of-pocket for services that insurance covers.
With any comprehensive plan comes numerous benefits which mean your health is well covered despite the costly nature of the plan.
In that regard, the benefits mentioned above are associated with different costs subject to the plan that you select.
The average price for the Medicare Supplemental Plan D carries a monthly premium of $299, which may be paid annually if you choose.
However, as with many health insurance plans, it is subject to factors such as where you live, the carrier you decide to use, age, gender, and many other factors.
Many carriers also offer different pricing systems which may, for example, ignore your medical history, but come at a higher cost. Some plans simply provide everyone the same rate based on current medical costs.
Other plans might have a premium that increases with age in exchange for lower initial costs. As you can imagine, with so many factors in play, price quotes can vary widely.
It’s highly advised that before settling on a Medigap plan, such as Medicare Supplemental Plan D, you compare costs between all the supplemental plans and get quotes from a variety of insurers.
You might be tempted to go with a lower-cost plan, only to find out later that it doesn’t cover everything you need it too. Often the easiest course of action is to consult with an agent who can offer the necessary help required to facilitate comparison and an informed choice.
Medigap Plan D Alternatives
Plan C – Only requiring you to cover the cost of any excess charges from Part B, Medigap Plan C is a popular options among those with Medicare coverage.
Plan F – With a no strings attached approach, plan F is typically the most expensive, but covers all expenses that Medicare does not.
Plan G – Only having to pay for the Medicare Part B deductible each year, people who use Medicare supplement Plan G for coverage, love the easy to understand costs of the plan.
What are Medicare and Medigap?
Medicare is a government program that offers health insurance to those over the age of 65 or permanently disabled. However, it doesn’t comprehensively cover all healthcare costs.
Given this, supplemental Medicare plans, also known as Medigap plans, were created. There are ten Medigap plans that cover different costs not covered under Medicare ranging from A to N.
Availability of Medigap Plans
When it comes to the question of the availability of this plan, there are certain terms that one needs to follow or be knowledgeable about.
To be considered for this plan, you must have enrolled in Medicare which includes Part A and Part B. This enrollment requires that you are a resident of the United States, over 65, or permanently disabled.
The second is regarding when to apply. While you can apply at any time, there is a window regarded as being the best time to sign up.
That best time, for all supplemental plans actually, is during the six months after you are accepted to Medicare, known as the Medigap open enrolment period (OEP).
Applying during this time often streamlines the application process, resulting in less paperwork. You may also not need to provide new health exam information as some requirements can be used from your Medicare approval application.
Which plan you apply to is totally up to you as there usually are no additional qualifiers there—the main difference is in the cost of coverage.