Are All Medicare Supplemental Plans Standardized?
All Medicare supplemental plans sold since 1992 are standardized. The federal government regulates what the companies cover when they sell a consumer standardized Medigap. Although the plans are standardized, a person can have up to 12 different options to choose from.
Several years ago Medicare offered a prescription drug coverage plan. Generally, Medicare supplemental plans before 2005 may include coverage for medications. If a person has a supplemental insurance plan from 2005 or before he may want to see if switching plans will benefit him.
Standardized Coverage – Different Prices
While the plans that a person can get to cover gaps in Medicare coverage may be standardized, the prices are not. An insurance company can charge whatever the market will reasonably bear. In most cases this is a reasonable amount.
A Medicare recipient can shop around in order to get the best price on his supplemental plan but he does not need to worry about better coverage. Occasionally, a doctor’s office may accept Medicare but not accept a supplemental program, although this is rare. When Medicare supplemental plans do not cover all of a doctor’s bill a patient must pay the difference not covered.
What Standardized Medigap Coverage Means
Standardized Medigap coverage reduces the amount of paperwork on insurance companies and on the government. A recipient knows what each of the twelve plans does and does not cover and what to expect from the supplemental insurance plan that he buys. It does not reduce the bureaucracy involved in the process.
The standardization of Medicare supplemental plans also makes it easier on the buyer. If he switches from one company to another, he knows what he has covered as long as he chooses the same plan that he had with the previous company. The care that a person gets does not change this way and he further reduces his out-of-pocket expenses for Medicare.
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