If you've begun planning your 65th birthday celebration, you may find that you're most excited—and, perhaps, apprehensive—about enrolling for Medicare. For many, this milestone is enough to say goodbye to the working world (and employer-sponsored health insurance) forever. But while Medicare Parts A and B are straightforward enough, the decision about whether to enroll in a Medicare supplement plan can be anything but simple. Read on to learn more about a few of the situations in which enrolling in a Medicare supplement plan may or may not make sense—at least for the time being.
Who Needs a Medicare Supplement Plan?
A Medicare supplement plan is designed to cover events and medical situations that aren't necessarily covered by Medicare Parts A or B. Everyone's individual circumstances are unique, so it's always important to absorb blanket statements with a grain of salt. However, there are a few situations in which having a Medicare supplement almost always makes sense.
First, if you often travel outside the U.S. (even just over-the-border trips to Mexico or Canada or cruises to the Caribbean) it's a good idea to have a supplement that provides care coverage overseas. Because the cost of medical transport can be exorbitantly expensive and Medicare doesn't cover medical care received abroad, something as seemingly minor as a broken bone or bad case of food poisoning can mean racking up thousands in medical bills.
You may also want to consider a Medicare supplement if you've been hospitalized more than once over the last year, expect to be hospitalized more than once over the next year, or have a chronic condition for which you receive regular medical treatment. While Medicare Parts A and B cover both hospital stays and non-hospital medical care, there can be limits to this coverage; having a supplemental policy will ensure that no type of care or treatment inadvertently falls between the cracks.
Who Doesn't Need a Medicare Supplement Plan?
If you're generally healthy, don't take any prescription medication, don't have a family history of chronic illnesses like diabetes or heart disease, and don't plan to leave the country in the next year, forgoing a supplement may be the right choice. The decision not to enroll for a supplement one year shouldn't impact your ability to select the supplement in future years, although you may wind up paying a higher premium price.
Even for those who are well-versed in health insurance, the Medicare supplement process can be complex. Don't be afraid to seek out an insurance agent or broker who specializes in Medicare to help you find the best policy (or policies) for your unique needs. If you'd like more information, contact a company like Senior Advisors.