Do You Need Medicare Supplemental Insurance?

There’s good news and not-so-good news for those approaching retirement and possibly losing their employers’ health care plans. It may be time to learn what Medicare will (and won’t) provide, and decide whether you will need Medicare supplemental insurance.

There have been many changes in Medicare law since it was first revised in 2003. Fortunately, these new changes have improved the health and prescription coverage of disabled and elderly Americans by providing more protection against health care costs.

By allowing the private sector to compete for Medicare supplemental insurance, seniors and the disabled have greater control over coverage. However, determining whether you need supplemental coverage can be complicated, and you’ll need expert advice to make the right decision. Here are some issues to consider.

  • Traditional Medicare only covers up to 80 percent of average of medical expenses. Americans are living longer, and that means there’s a greater chance of developing chronic or acute diseases that could impact health care costs. As reasonable as 80 percent sounds, if your health care bills add up to a million dollars, you’d be liable for the additional $200,000.
  • Your costs will be higher if you’re diagnosed with two different diseases, because you’ll be responsible for double deductibles. Even with one diagnosis, you have more out-of-pocket expenses than you would in an employer-sponsored health care insurance. Having the right supplemental insurance can greatly reduce expenses.
  • Your Medicare supplemental insurance is a consistent monthly premium. You can budget for supplemental insurance far more easily than for sudden illnesses or injuries. The more coverage your supplemental package offers, the more it will cost you. You won’t have to budget as much for unexpected costs.

Contact your insurance advisor, who can administer a questionnaire to help you decide whether Medicare supplemental insurance is right for you.