medigap, medicare supplement

Medicare Insurance Companies in California

If you are eligible for Medicare in California, you may want additional coverage to reduce your out of pocket healthcare costs. Californians can choose from as many as ten Medicare Supplement plans. These plans may be offered by several insurance companies, at different price points.

If you’re having trouble wrapping your mind around this, here are the basics. The centerpiece of Medicare coverage is Part A (for hospitalization) and Part B (for other medical expenses). If you only have parts A and B, you will still have out of pocket healthcare costs, including deductibles and co-pays. 

Medicare Supplement, also known as Medigap, is a private insurance policy that provides additional benefits and picks up many of your out of pocket healthcare expenses. You pay a monthly premium for Medigap, but you save money on doctor and hospital bills.

There are 10 standard Medigap plans available in the U.S., identified as Plan A through Plan N. These plans may be sold by several different insurance companies, but the benefits for each plan will always be the same. 

Bankers Fidelity Plan F includes exactly the same coverage as United Healthcare’s Plan F. But the two Plan Fs may not cost the same amount – each insurer is sets its own premiums. This means your monthly costs will depend on both the plan you choose and the insurance company that issues your policy.

So how do you decide? One approach is to look at the offerings from some of the top California insurance carriers.

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medigap, medicare supplement

Parts of Medicare Breakdown

Medicare is divided into parts. Each part signifies which type of care is paid for. 

Medicare Part A


  • Hospital stays
  • Hospice care 
  • Time in a skilled nursing facility

Medicare Part A is generally regarded as hospital insurance even though it covers more than just a stay in the hospital. It also does not require any sort of premium by the person who is insured if they meet the requirements. The rule of thumb for whether a premium should be paid is if someone has worked for at least 10 years or 40 quarters and paid Medicare taxes throughout.

It is important to note that Medicare Part A does not completely cover the cost of a hospital bill. An insured person will have to pay some part of the cost. In terms of specifics, Medicare does cover up to 60 days in the hospital and 20 days in a skilled nursing facility completely. 

The maximum number of days for a hospital stay is 90 and 100 for a skilled nursing facility. After the initial 60 or 20 days are used up, you pay for a part of the stay. Lifetime reserve days kick in after that. They help cover days spent in the hospital after 90 days consecutively.

Medicare Part B


  • Doctor visits 
  • X-Rays
  • Blood tests
  • Screenings
  • Outpatient care
  • Home care
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Types of Medigap Pricing Methods

There are three types of Medigap pricing methods:

  • Community Rated
  • Issue Age Rated
  • Attained Age Rated

It’s important to understand pricing before you buy a policy. Some policies seem like a good deal, but the premiums will go up as you age. This can potentially leave you struggling to pay premiums in your later years, when your health is failing and it is hard to qualify for other coverage. Here are the basic features of each type of Medigap pricing.

Read Original Post Here

medigap, medicare supplement

Medicare Part B Excess Charges and the Medicare Overcharge Measure

Some healthcare providers don’t accept Medicare as full payment for their services. They may bill you for an “excess charge” over and above the amount that Medicare will pay. You can keep your health care costs down by understanding and avoiding excess charges.

Excess charges are a part of Medicare Part B’s medical coverage. Medicare has list of approved rates that it considers to be reasonable for medical procedures, including doctor visits and tests. Some healthcare providers agree to be paid these rates, and they bill Medicare directly. This is known as accepting “Medicare assignment.”

For example, if Medicare’s approved reimbursement rate for a test is $1000 and your healthcare provider accepts Medicare assignment, the total fee will never be more than $1000. Of that, you will be responsible for paying a 20 percent co-pay, or $200, plus any deductible you have not yet met.

Other healthcare providers take Medicare, but they don’t think Medicare pays them enough. Medicare rules allow these providers to charge up to 15 percent more than the Medicare reimbursement amount. These extra fees are known as “excess charges.” If Medicare will pay $1000 for your test, a provider who doesn’t accept Medicare assignment can charge you an additional 15 percent fee – or $150 – in excess charges over and above the $1000 Medicare rate. This means your test could cost you $150 more than if you had gotten the test from a provider who accepts Medicare assignment.

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What are the 2018 Top Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans

Another year has come and gone… and this year you, or your loved one, has or is going to become newly eligible for Medicare. Maybe you’re not new to Medicare and you’re already enrolled in Medicare Parts A & B, but wasn’t aware of Medicare Supplement plans. Then again, you could’ve been aware of these supplemental insurance policies (also known as Medigap) but didn’t feel you needed the extra coverage. 

This post What are the 2018 Top Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans what originally published on MedicareFAQ.

medigap, medicare supplement

What are the Top Medicare Supplement Plans for 2017


If you're turning 65 this year and ready to enroll in Medicare, you're probably asking yourself "What are the top Medicare Supplement plans for 2017?" There's so many important factors to consider when choosing a plan, that's why it's important to educate yourself prior to enrolling. Below, we'll provide you with a plan comparison of the top MedSupp policies. 

Top Medicare Supplement Plans for 2017

Supplement plans are standardized in almost all states across the nation, providing the same benefits regardless of whom you purchase the plan from. The basic policy benefits are standardized by the government and must be included in all letter plans.

Basic Policy Benefits:

  • Medicare limits the amount of days they’ll cover if you become hospitalized. All supplement policies will provide you hospital coverage for up to an additional 365 days after you’ve reached that limit. 
  • Medicare medical insurance, Part B, requires additional out of pocket costs such as copayments and coinsurance. All supplemental plans will cover these out of pocket costs. 
  • If you need blood for a medical procedure, Medicare won’t pay for the first 3 pints. All Med Supps will cover this cost that’s left up to beneficiary to pay. 
  • If you ever need hospice care, Medicare limits your coverage for outpatient drugs and inpatient respite care. Your supplemental Medicare insurance plan will cover these out of pocket costs. 
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How Much is Medigap Insurance?

 If you're trying to figure out how much Medigap insurance cost, you're in the right place. Original Medicare Part A and Part B do not provide coverage for all medical expenses. Medicare Supplement insurance, also known as Medigap plans, refers to additional insurance plans purchased from private insurance companies to fill the gap left by Medicare Part A (hospital and skilled nursing facility care) and Medicare Part B (medical bills and other related expenses).

How Does Medigap Insurance Supplement Original Medicare

There are ten Medigap insurance coverage options named alphabetically between letters A and N. All companies selling this insurance will offer the same plans as they're standardized by the federal government. 

For example, all letter plans will offer the same benefits regardless or what company the plan was purchased from.

Plans vary according to the level of benefits they offer. Some plans are only available in certain states but not in others. This supplement insurance complements original Medicare and both plans work together to cover your medical costs.

These policies will pay its portion after Original Medicare has paid its share. Any person eligible for Medicare part A and B is eligible.

How Much is Medigap Insurance?

It's not easy to answer the question "how much is Medigap insurance" since premiums vary widely. The reason is because every carrier gets to individually determine their rates. 

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medigap, medicare supplement

How Much is Supplemental Medicare Insurance

The answer to this issue depends on what each person is looking for. Different states provide various types of supplemental Medicare insurance plans. The benefits tend to be standardized across the types of policies. This means that a certain plan offers the same benefits regardless of the carrier. The only difference will be how the company sets the cost of the policy.

It's important to note that supplemental Medicare insurance companies set their monthly premiums differently. For instance, if you buy Plan A from one company, you'll see that the rates differ, but the benefits will remain the same.

How do Insurers Set the Costs for Medigap

The main reason why premium rates vary from one company to the next is because insurance providers are allowed to set the prices for their own Medigap plans. A company can price its rates in three ways:

  1. Community-rated - with this option, the premium will cost the same no matter how old one is. The rates can increase because of inflation and other factors, but not age.
  2. Attained-age-rated – with this plan, the rates of the premiums are based on the age an individual had when they joined the plan. These kinds of policies are not very expensive especially if you are young. However, the premium rates will increase with age, and they can be changed by factors such as inflation, among others.
  3. Issue-age-rated – this type of policy is also known as entry-age-rated. The premium is determined by a person's age at the time when they purchase the policy. You'll be charged the same amount as your age mates. So, the earlier you sign up, the better. Rates can still fluctuate depending on other factors but not your age.

Ensure that you compare the plans and always ask the insurer how their prices are set. This question is essential as it can affect the amounts you pay at the time of enrollment and in the future.  Medigap will not cover your Part A or B Medicare premiums. Most people will not pay for Medicare Part A if they have worked for more than ten years while paying Medicare levies.

Certain Factors that Affect the Policy Costs

The biggest factor that affects the rates of a Medicare supplements policy, and whether the insurer will accept you, is the time you enroll. It's always advisable to register for your plan at the right time (during the Open Enrollment Period), which starts immediately, or the 1st day of the month, after you turn 65 and have Medicare Part B. During the Open Enrollment Period, you'll have the guaranteed issue rights. This means that you are allowed to join any Medigap policy regardless of disabilities or any other pre-existing conditions. Insurance companies will not fail to cover you in case you have health problems or even choose to charge you highly rated premiums.

Once this period lapse, it's a bit tricky to switch or join a Medigap plan. Insurers can charge you more, require medical underwriting, or choose not to allow you to take a plan if you have health issues. It's always better to join a plan during the open enrollment period because the costs are lower and you have more choices.

If you would like to switch to another plan, especially because of poor health, talk to one or our licensed agents and see if they can help. You may get guaranteed issue rights depending on the reason you have for the switch as well as the situation.

Keep in mind that the insurance plans can be affected by the rising costs of health and inflation. This means that the price can go up yearly regardless of the pricing method used. Individual companies can increase the price rapidly compared to others.

The premium rates can also be determined by where you live and your age. However, insurance providers may offer the following discounts depending on your circumstances:

  • Discounts to married couples who have two policies, non-smokers, individuals who choose to make payments on a yearly basis, and those who pay via electronic funds transfer.
  • Policies that require you to use certain network providers so as to get low premium charges.

What Questions Should you ask as you Compare the Costs

There are many private companies that sell Medigap policies. Ensure that you do some digging and make the necessary calls once you are ready to pay. The comparison should be made depending on the type of policy. If it's Medicare Supplement Plan C, you need to compare the costs of the plan from every company you contact.

Below are some queries you can ask your insurer as you compare costs:

  • How will the company price their Medigap policy?
  • In case the policy is attained age rated, how will the rates increase because of age?
  • How much is supplemental insurance for Medicare and how have the prices increased in the last few years as a result of inflation and other factors?

Should you Focus More on the Benefits or Costs

You shouldn't just concentrate on the expenses alone when making this important decision. A less expensive plan may not be offering the expected 'gap' coverage. If you know that you aren't capable of making this comparison, consider contacting us. You may also get an experienced agent to help with the comparison. We will assist you to reach an informed decision and also help you with the budgeting.

medigap, medicare supplement

Why Every Senior Should Have a Medicare Supplement Plan

Medicare supplement insurance, also commonly referred to as Medigap, is a type of insurance that’s sold specifically by private companies. These insurance policies help to pay for some of the costs that aren’t covered by standard Medicare policies.

For instance, a Medicare policy might cover the costs of an entire doctor visit, save for the deductible. A Medigap policy would possibly pay for the deductible that wasn’t covered by your Medicare policy. Some of the primary coverage types that can be provided by a Medicare supplement plan include:

  • Copayments

  • Deductibles

  • Coinsurance

  • Hospital costs in the event that you run out of days covered by Medicare

  • Skilled nursing facility costs when you run out of Medicare-covered days

  • Most additional out-of-pocket expenses

All that’s required of you when selecting one of these policies is to pay the monthly premium for this Medicare supplement plan. You must also have a Medicare Part A and Part B plan. Each plan will differ slightly, so weigh your options before choosing the one you believe is right for your needs.

This post Why Every Senior Should Have a Medicare Supplement Plan was first found on Healthable

medigap, medicare supplement

Does Medicare Cover Hospice?

If you’re a Medicare beneficiary, Medicare does cover hospice. Medicare beneficiaries might not know about the hospice benefit that’s available to support end-of-life issues.

Dealing with a terminal illness is extremely challenging for the patient and his or her loved ones. Worries about care-giving, pain management, and costs of medication are overwhelming.

Financial planners say that Medicare hospice benefits are underused by beneficiaries. Hospice care can help the dying patient with medical care, emotional support, and pain management per his or her wishes.

For qualifying patients, Medicare pays for comprehensive hospice care delivered in a hospice facility or in the patient’s home. Importantly, Medicare Part F supplement plans cover patient deductibles and co-pays for Medicare eligible hospice beneficiaries.

Medicare Hospice Benefit

The hospice benefit includes an array of services that aren’t typically covered by Medicare. CMS says that approximately 90 percent of hospices across the nation are Medicare-certified. The Medicare hospice benefit includes:

  • Doctor and nurse practitioner (NP) services

  • Medical supplies and appliances

  • Short-term respite care and in-patient care

  • Nursing care

  • Home health aide (CNA) and homemaker services

  • Social worker services and counseling services

  • Spiritual support

  • Bereavement services

This post Does Medicare Cover Hospice was originally posted on One Frugal Girl