Throughout our lives, we have a number of birthdays but only a few age milestones ever really stand out—thirteen, sixteen, eighteen, twenty-one, forty, and sixty-five. The milestones get fewer as we age, but few are as important as the final one.
If you or someone you love is soon to turn 65, there are a number of things to start to consider. While the potential for retirement is one, another really big decision to make is how much, or how little insurance you will need.
Three months prior to turning 65, you become eligible to sign up for Medicare. Once you review your options and make your selections between Part A, B, C, and D you must then decide if these plan benefits will be enough for you.
About Medicare Supplemental Insurance (Medigap)
For those who feel they need additional coverage and benefits, supplemental Medicare insurance (otherwise known as Medigap Supplement Plans) is there to help offset any additional costs you may not have foreseen when you originally signed up for Medicare. In fact, Medicare Supplemental Insurance is sometimes called Medigap coverage because it helps to fill in the gaps in coverage that Medicare can sometimes leave behind.
Your open enrollment eligibility to sign up for one of these policies begins on the day your turn 65 and are covered under Medicare Part B. To be eligible to sign up for a Medigap policy, you must be covered under Parts A and B of Medicare.
Your open enrollment period ends six months after your 65th birthday. So what happens then? What happens if you choose to not sign up for a Medigap policy within that specific time frame but still wish to purchase it?
The simple truth of it is, you may not be able to. In the event you are able to purchase a Medigap policy in your state after the initial six-month-period of open enrollment eligibility, it may cost you a great deal more than you were originally quoted to secure the same coverage you would have gotten if you had signed up immediately following your 65th birthday. In short, there are no positives to waiting to secure Medigap Supplemental Insurance.
Why Buy Medigap coverage?
Medicare Parts A and Part B do not offer you 100% medical coverage from the age of 65 on. While Medicare does cover a great deal of expenses that could otherwise be quite costly and stressful, it does not cover everything.
According to Medicare.gov, Medicare Parts A and B fail to cover the following:
- Long-term care
- Prescription drugs (Medicare Part D helps cover this)
- Most dental care services
- Eye exams pertaining to eyeglasses
- Cosmetic surgery
- The vast majority of Chiropractic services
- Exams and fittings related to hearing aids
- Routine foot care, not including injuries where a podiatrist might be necessary
For many, Medicare Part A is free and is designed to help enrollees pay for inpatient services, however, according to Medicare.gov, enrollees have a $1,316 hospital inpatient deductible for each benefit period.
While Medigap will not assist enrollees in paying for long-term care, it will assist with coinsurance, deductibles, copays, and serious vision issues such as cataracts surgery which can all greatly help senior citizens looking to minimize their out-of-pocket medical expenses.