If you take excellent care of yourself and rarely visit the doctor—except for routine, preventative care—you may be wondering if Medicare supplement insurance is a wise investment for you or a waste of money. Medicare supplement insurance helps pay the healthcare costs that original Medicare doesn’t cover, but if you don’t anticipate significant costs is it worth the monthly premium or would that money be better spent elsewhere? We have outlined some of the potential advantages of having a policy below, even if you think you won’t use it.
Even if you are generally healthy, unexpected accidents and illnesses can happen.
The risk of serious illnesses and accidents increase with age and without supplemental coverage a single incident can lead to medical bills that run into the tens of thousands of dollars. This is because Original Medicare typically only covers about 80% of healthcare costs, often leaving large unpaid portions beneficiaries are responsible for. For example, on average a week long hospital stay will cost about $17,416. After Medicare pays its share you could be on the hook for $3,843 or even more. Longer and more complicated hospitalizations would lead to even higher bills. A Medicare supplement policy would help cover these charges, greatly reducing your risk of large unexpected medical bills. For the lowest possible premiums you can select a high deductible plan that requires you to pay a certain amount before benefits kick in or a Select plan, which requires you to see in network doctors and providers to obtain coverage.
You will get the very best rates if you apply for a plan when you’re in good health
The very best time to apply for a Medicare supplement policy is during your 6-month open enrollment period, when you are guaranteed to be offered the best rates regardless of your health status. If this one-time period has passed and you are now considering obtaining coverage, being in good health can be a great advantage. This is because after your one time Open Enrollment Period has passed insurance companies are allowed to use medical underwriting to decide what policies they will offer you and at what rates. If you are generally healthy with few or no pre-existing conditions you are more likely to be offered a greater number of policy options at favorable rates.
The policy you get now can be a future life (and wallet) saver
Any standardized Medigap policy is guaranteed renewable, even if you develop health problems in the future. This means the insurance company can’t cancel your Medigap policy as long as you pay the premium. While these rates may go up somewhat as you age, they are still likely to be significantly lower than someone who tries to buy a policy when they are older and sicker. Purchasing a Medigap policy now can also give you greater peace of mind, as accidents and unexpected illnesses do happen. Locking in a plan when you are healthy is a wise move, because obtaining coverage after you have been diagnosed with a serious illness would be much more difficult if not impossible.
Medicare doesn’t have an out-of-pocket spending limit.
Many health insurance plans have annual out-of-pocket spending limits which protect enrollees from extremely large medical bills. That means once you have spent the designated amount the plan will pay for 100% of the remaining required care. Many people don’t know or consider that Medicare doesn’t have an annual out-of-pocket limit, which makes enrollees without supplemental coverage vulnerable to uncontrolled costs. A Medicare supplement insurance policy can protect you from these spiralling costs should you require hospitalization or extensive treatment for an illness. These policies can stabilize your healthcare spending and provide peace of mind that your savings won’t be eaten up by healthcare costs.
You get to choose your doctor’s and providers
You like being in charge of your health, which likely means you want to be in charge of your healthcare as well. Medicare supplement insurance plans allow you to see any doctor or provider that accepts Medicare and don’t require you to get approval to see specialists. Having the option to see any doctor that accepts Medicare can empower you to take charge of your care as well as streamlining the process.