Medicare Supplement: Because Medicare Doesn’t Cover Everything
Until recently, Carol Fischer didn’t have to think too much about health insurance.
She is active and healthy, but the last two years brought an influx of health issues for the 71-year-old, ranging from knee and back pain to gout. She’s had an MRI, X-rays, a knee scope and countless other procedures in the past 18 months, but has yet to pay a bill besides that of her monthly premium for Medicare and Medicare Supplement.
"Every time I get a notice in the mail, I think, 'Oh, boy, here I go,'" the Sioux Falls woman said. "In my case, my issues just came on in a hurry. If I didn’t have the supplement insurance, who knows how much I’d be paying."
A few years ago, Fischer’s insurance agent suggested she look into Medicare Supplement, which helps pick up where Medicare leaves off, and recommended her to Avera Health Plans. It wasn’t something she had thought about because she was healthy and didn’t have a lot of medical issues.
Don't Wait Until It's Too Late
She talked with Pam Skals, a Sales Associate with Avera Health Plans, and enrolled in an Avera Select plan. She’s grateful she made the decision now.
"When you don’t have health issues you don’t think about it," she said. "I was relieved and thankful my friend talked me into it."
Skals said people are learning more and more how helpful a Medicare Supplement is in keeping costs down. Even if you are healthy, one thing to keep in mind is Medicare doesn’t have an out-of-pocket maximum that you may be used to with traditional plans.
"If you get sick you are paying a percentage of an unlimited amount," Skals said. "If you’re diagnosed with cancer and have chemotherapy and radiation there’s no out-of-pocket maximum. That’s scary."
Even though all Medicare Supplement plans are required to have the same benefits, premium prices do vary, which means it’s important to shop for the best plan on a yearly basis, Skals said.
In working with Fischer, Skals was able to secure her a monthly premium that was affordable to her budget.
For people who are wondering if Medicare Supplement is right for them, her advice is: "Don’t think about it, just do it. It’s not terribly expensive and it’s worth the money."
Are You Covered?
- Each individual’s guarantee issue enrollment period for Medicare Supplement (Medigap) is six months before or after your Medicare Part B effective date.
- Avera Health Plans is offering guarantee acceptance/open enrollment for Medicare Supplement Insurance through Feb. 15. No health questions are asked when you enroll at this time.