Posts Tagged ‘medicare plan’

Medigap Policies

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

365.118 - family recognitionA Medigap policy is a health insurance policy sold by private insurance companies to fill “gaps” in Original Medicare Plan coverage. Medigap policies must follow federal and state laws. These laws protect you. The front of the Medigap policy must clearly identify it as “Medicare Supplement Insurance.”

In all states, except Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, a Medigap policy must be one of twelve standardized policies so you can compare them easily. Each policy has a different set of benefits. Two of the standardized policies may have a high deductible option. In addition, any standardized policy may be sold as a “Medicare SELECT” policy. Medicare SELECT policies usually cost less because you must use specific hospitals and, in some cases, specific doctors to get full insurance benefits from the policy. In an emergency, you may use any doctor or hospital.

Click image to view guide to Medigap Policies

Outline of Medicare Supplement Coverage

(Benefit Plans A-L)

Medicare Supplement Insurance can be sold in only twelve standard plans. This chart shows the benefits included in each plan. Every company must make available Plan “A”. Some plans may not be available in your state as indicated below.

A B C D E F* G H I J* K L
Medicare Part A Coinsurance & Medigap Coverage for Hospital Benefits
Medicare Part B Coinsurance or Copayment 50%* 75%*
Blood (First 3 pints) 50%* 75%*
Hospice Care Coinsurance or Copayment 50%* 75%*
Medicare Part A Deductible 50%* 75%*
Skilled Nursing Facility Care Coinsurance 50%* 75%*
Medicare Part B Deductible
Medicare Part B Excess Charges 80%
Foreign Travel Emergency (Up to Plan Limits)
At Home Recovery (Up to Plan Limits)
Preventive Care Coinsurance (Included in the Part B Coinsurance)
Preventive Care not Covered by Medicare (up to $120)
**Out-of-Pocket Limit $4,620** $2,310**

Plans A-L are standardized by the federal government. Not all plans may be available in your area. Consider the benefits offered by each plan and look for one that best meets your individual needs.

*Medigap Plans F and J also offer a high-deductible plan. You must pay the high-deductible ($2,000 in 2010) amount before your Medigap-covered costs before pays anything..

**After you meet your out-of-pocket yearly limit and your yearly Part B deductible ($155 in 2010), the plan pays 100% of covered services for the rest of the calendar year. Out-of-pocket limit is the maximum amount you would pay for coinsurance and copayments

Introduction to Medicare

Friday, May 21st, 2010

The Medicare Program

Medicare is a health insurance program for:

  • People age 65 or older.
  • People under age 65 with certain disabilities.
  • People with End-Stage Renal Disease (permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a kidney transplant).

The Original Medicare Has Two Parts

Part A

Hospital Insurance.

Most people pay for Part A through their payroll taxes when they are working.

Part B

Medical Insurance.

Most people pay monthly for Part B.

You can elect to participate in a Medicare Advantage Plan Part C and Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage Part D

Medicare Advantage Plans

You can choose different ways to get the services covered by Medicare. Depending on where you live, you may have different choices. In most cases, when you first get Medicare, you are in the Original Medicare Plan. Or, you may want to consider a Medicare Advantage Plan (like an HMO or PPO) that provides all your Part A, Part B, and often Part D (Medicare Prescription Drug) coverage. You make a choice when you are first eligible for Medicare. Each year you can review your health and prescription needs and switch to a different plan in the fall.

Medicare Advantage Plans are health plan options that are approved by Medicare but run by private companies. They are part of the Medicare Program, and sometimes called “Part C.” When you join a Medicare Advantage Plan, you are still in Medicare. As long as you have both Part A and Part B, items covered by Part A and Part B are covered whether you have the Original Medicare Plan, or you belong to a Medicare Advantage Plan (like an HMO or PPO).

Part D

Prescription Drug Coverage

Medicare Prescription Drug Plans are offered by insurance companies and other private companies approved by Medicare.

Medicare Health Plans

Today’s Medicare is about choice. Your health plan choices include:

  • The Original Medicare Plan
  • Medicare + Choice Plans, including:
  • Medicare Managed Care Plans
  • Medicare Private Fee-for-Service Plans
  • Medicare Preferred Provider Organization Plans

Medicare + Choice Plans are available in many areas.

The Medicare health plan that you choose affects many things like cost, benefits (some have extra benefits like prescription drugs), doctor choice, convenience, and quality.

What is Medicare Part A?

Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) helps cover your inpatient care in hospitals, including critical access hospitals, and skilled nursing facilities (not custodial or long-term care). It also helps cover hospice care and some home health care. You must meet certain conditions.

Cost

  • Most people do not pay a monthly Part A premium because they or a spouse has 40 or more quarters of Medicare-covered employment.
  • The part A premium is $254.00 per month for people having 30-39 quarters of Medicare-covered employment.
  • The Part A premium is $461.00 per month for people who are not otherwise eligible for premium-free hospital insurance and have less than 30 quarters of Medicare-covered employment.
  • Medicare Part A Helps Cover Your Medically Necessary:

Hospital Stays

Semiprivate room, meals, general nursing, and other hospital services and supplies. This includes inpatient care you get in critical access hospitals and mental health care. This doesn’t include private duty nursing, or a television or telephone in your room. It also doesn’t include a private room, unless medically necessary. Inpatient mental health care in a psychiatric facility is limited to 190 days in a lifetime.
Skilled Nursing Facility Care

Semiprivate room, meals, skilled nursing and rehabilitative services, and other services and supplies (after a related 3-day inpatient hospital stay).

Home Health Care

Part-time or intermittent skilled nursing care and home health aide services, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech-language therapy, medical social services, durable medical equipment (such as wheelchairs, hospital beds, oxygen, and walkers), medical supplies, and other services.

Hospice Care

For people with a terminal illness, includes drugs for symptom control and pain relief, medical and support services from a Medicare-approved hospice, and other services not otherwise covered by Medicare. Hospice care is usually given in your home. However, Medicare covers some short-term hospital and inpatient respite care (care given to a hospice patient so that the usual caregiver can rest).

Blood

Pints of blood you get at a hospital or skilled nursing facility during a covered stay.

What is Medicare Part B?

Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) helps cover your doctors’ services and outpatient hospital care. It also covers some other medical services that Part A doesn’t cover, such as some of the services of physical and occupational therapists, and some home health care. Part B helps pay for these covered services and supplies when they are medically necessary.

Cost

You pay the Medicare Part B premium each month*. In some cases, this amount may be higher if you didn’t sign up for Part B when you first became eligible. The cost of Part B may go up 10% for each 12-month period that you could have had Part B but didn’t sign up for it, except in special cases. You will have to pay this extra amount as long as you have Part B.

Medicare Part B Helps Cover Your Medically Necessary:

Medical and Other Services

Doctors’ services (not routine physical exams), outpatient medical and surgical services and supplies, diagnostic tests, ambulatory surgery center facility fees for approved procedures, and durable medical equipment (such as wheelchairs, hospital beds, oxygen, and walkers). Also covers second surgical opinions, outpatient mental health care, and outpatient occupational and physical therapy including speech-language therapy. (These services are also covered for long-term nursing home residents).

Clinical Laboratory Services

Blood tests, urinalysis, some screening tests, and more.

Home Health Care

Part-time or intermittent skilled nursing care and home health aide services, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech-language therapy, medical social services, durable medical equipment (such as wheelchairs, hospital beds, oxygen, and walkers), medical supplies, and other services.

Outpatient Hospital Services

Hospital services and supplies received as an outpatient as part of a doctor’s care.

Blood

Pints of blood you get as an outpatient or as part of a Part B covered service.

What is the Original Medicare Plan?

The Original Medicare Plan is a “fee-for-service” plan. This means you are usually charged a fee for each health care service or supply you get. This plan, managed by the Federal Government, is available nationwide. If you are in the Original Medicare Plan, you use your red, white, and blue Medicare card when you get health care. If you are happy getting your health care this way, you don’t have to change. You will stay in the Original Medicare Plan unless you choose to join a Medicare + Choice Plan.

Your costs in the Original Medicare Plan

What you pay out-of-pocket depends on:

  • Whether you have Part A and Part B
  • Whether your doctor or supplier agrees to accept “assignment”
  • How often you need health care
  • What type of health care you need
  • Whether you choose to get services or supplies not covered by Medicare. In this case, you would pay for these services yourself.
  • Whether you have other insurance