Medicare Supplement Myths: Choose Your Provider and Travel, Too
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Published on December 06, 2016

Doctor Speaking with Elderly Patient

Medicare Supplement Myths: Choose Your Provider and Travel, Too

Health insurance can be confusing and Medicare Supplement insurance is no different. Sometimes you just need some help sifting fact from fiction to figure out what’s best for you. Below are five myths Avera Health Plans Sales Associate Martin Dahl hears most often.

Myth 1: I can’t choose my own doctor, or stay with my current doctor.

Fact: All Medicare Supplement plans allow you to choose any doctor, and that includes those offered by Avera Health Plans. If this is an important feature for you, then keep in mind Medicare Advantage plans offer a more limited list of providers.

Myth 2: I’m not covered when I travel.

Fact: Medicare Supplement plans with Avera offer emergency coverage 365 days of the year from anywhere. So if you’ll be traveling for the holidays you need not worry. If you like to travel for an extended period of time, perhaps during the winter months, you have options, too. Avera Medicare Supplement plans will cover you for up to 90 continuous days of travel for both emergency and non-emergency care.

This means you can’t move to Arizona for five months for cancer treatment, but if you are down there for an extended vacation and get strep throat you will be covered for a provider visit, with your 90 continuous days of coverage starting at that point. If you return to Arizona four months later for another visit and need to see a provider again you won’t be covered because the 90-day period has expired.

Myth 3: Medicare will cover all my expenses, so I don’t need supplemental insurance.

Fact: Medicare is not designed to cover everything and includes things like deductibles and coinsurance. Plus, there is no out-of-pocket cap with Medicare, which means you could pay a percentage of an unlimited amount of medical expenses over the years. That’s where Medicare Supplement plans come in — to pick up where Medicare leaves off. A good example is chemotherapy treatment. A Medicare Supplement plan will cover the deductible and 20 percent coinsurance costs not covered by Medicare.

The difference between getting a Medicare Supplement plan and enrolling in a Medicare Advantage group plan is key with out-of-pocket expenses as well. Medicare Advantage is more like a traditional health insurance plan in that you will still have out-of-pocket costs such as coinsurance, co-pays and deductibles that can use up your savings.

Myth 4: My health history will affect whether I can get a supplemental policy.

Fact: Most companies do ask health questions, what’s known as underwriting. But during Avera Health Plans’ open enrollment period from Sept. 1 to Feb. 14, we don’t ask any health questions. That means you can sign up for a plan regardless of chronic conditions or past issues. This is something that no other health insurance companies in the area do — this is a benefit exclusive to Avera Health Plans.

Myth 5: I can only change supplemental plans during certain parts of the year.

Fact: You can change Medicare Supplement plans any time of year but you will have to answer health questions, which may limit your options. That’s why it’s so important to consider changing before Feb. 14, when Avera Health Plans is enrolling people with no health questions asked.

Learn more about Medicare Supplement options by talking with an agent.

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