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Medicare Supplemental Insurance
Frequently Asked Questions

Medicare can be a confusing and complicated issue to grasp, below are a few of the most commonly asked questions we hear. If you should have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

What is Medicare?
Medicare is a federal health insurance program for (1) people 65 and older, (2) people of any age with permanent kidney failure, and (3) certain disabled people under 65.

What is Part A?
Part A is Hospital Insurance that will help pay for medically necessary inpatient care in a hospital, skilled nursing facility, or psychiatric hospital, and for hospice care.

What is Part B?
Part B is a Medical Insurance that helps you pay for physician services no matter where you receive them-at home, in a doctor’s office, at a clinic, or in a hospital. It also covers medical services and supplies.

When do Medicare benefits begin?
Benefits become available the first month in which the individual reaches age 65 (except for the disabled). This is true even if the individual is still working. (Example: If your birthday were May 25th, your Medicare effective date would be May 1st.)

How does a person enroll in Medicare?
Those who are receiving Social Security benefits will be enrolled automatically at the time they become eligible for Medicare. (You may elect not to be covered under Part B medical insurance by signing a form that will be sent to you.) Others may enroll at the nearest Social Security office, preferably three months prior to their 65th birthday. (Call 1-800-772-1213 to find the closest office.)

Who pays for Medicare?
The government pays part A. Part B is partially paid for by the customer, usually in the form of a deduction from their Social Security check. The 1997 monthly premium is $43.80. Although it is an option, it’s wise to enroll in Part B because (1) it’s a good value, and (2) all Medicare supplement plans require Part B coverage.

What is Medigap Insurance?
Medigap insurance (or Medicare supplemental insurance) is private health insurance designed to supplement Medicare by filling in the gaps in its coverage.

Who need a Medigap policy?
Most experts recommend buying the additional protection that private health insurance provides; they feel it’s a wise investment. But you should be sure to find one that suits your needs and budget.

How to find the best plan?
Shop carefully. Although all companies offering Medigap must offer standardized plans, policies differ widely as to cost. Also, some companies have a waiting period before pre-existing health conditions are covered.

Seek out a qualified insurance professional that specializes in Medicare supplemental insurance.

Who needs an agent?
Some companies and associations solicit business through the mail. If you are a person who can sift through the literature, understand the contents, and handle all claim problems, then perhaps you do not need an agent. On the other hand, if you are like most consumers, you’ll find Medicare and Medicare supplements confusing and complicated. Working with a specialist can save you both time and money, and prevent needless anxiety.

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