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
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.