Medicare Supplement plans are sold by private insurance companies to help fill in the coverage gaps of Original Medicare Parts A (hospital insurance) and B (medical insurance). Purchasing a Medicare Supplement plan is optional for Medicare beneficiaries. They help pay for some copayments, coinsurance charges, deductibles, and other medical expenses. If you or a loved one is considering long-term care, you may know that Original Medicare coverage is limited. Let’s find out if a Medicare Supplement plan may be able to help pay for it.
What is long term care?
One of the biggest concerns for seniors is whether they’ll have insurance coverage for long-term care if they need it later in life. In fact, today in the United States, over 8.3 million people depend on long-term facilities for their daily care.
According to Medicare’s definition of long-term care, also known as custodial care, it includes services that support a patient’s personal care needs, or daily living activities, and not their medical care needs. Activities of daily living include:
- Using the toilet or incontinence care
- Getting dressed
- Help with personal hygiene
- Help getting in/out of bed or a chair
Long-term care services can also include help with other daily activities, mainly while the patient is at home, such as:
- Housework like cleaning and cooking
- Money management and bill paying
- Taking medication
- General help around the house
How Medicare Supplement plans help pay for long-term care
Unfortunately, neither Original Medicare benefits nor Medigap plans include coverage for long-term care or nursing home care if custodial care is the only care you need. Medicare does offer coverage for skilled medical carein a long-term care hospital, skilled nursing care in a facility, certain home health care services, and hospice care services to those who are eligible.
Medigap plans, sold by private insurance companies that work with Medicare, help enrollees cover some of their out-of-pocket expenses associated with Original Medicare Parts A and B. There are several types of Medicare Supplement plans you can choose from. Most Medigap plans cover a part or all of the following expenses:
- Medicare Part A coinsurance and hospital fees
- Hospice coinsurance or copayments
- Medicare Part B coinsurance and/or copayments
Some Medigap plans also cover the following:
- Skilled nursing facility costs for medical care
- Medicare Part A deductible
- Medicare Part B excess charges
If you are thinking about purchasing a Medigap plan to help fill in some of the gaps left by your Medicare benefits, you should carefully examine what each of the plans offers before making your decision.
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