Medicare Supplement plans, which can also be called Medigap plans, enhance Original Medicare benefits that have certain limitations. Although Original Medicare helps cover many medical expenses, there are out-of-pocket costs that can add up. To protect themselves from potentially stressful out-of-pocket expenses, many Medicare recipients choose to buy supplemental insurance, such as a Medigap plan.
Understanding Medicare Supplement Plans
Original Medicare provides coverage in two parts. The first, Part A, is hospital insurance and the second, Part B, is medical insurance. Most people do not pay a monthly premium to receive Part A coverage, but they are obligated to pay the Part A deductible and any copayments or coinsurance charges that arise during care. Part B does charge a monthly premium in addition to a deductible, copayments and coinsurances.
Some Medicare recipients may want to enhance the benefits provided by Original Medicare, or reduce their potential out-of-pocket expenses. Medicare Supplement Plans can help reduce a recipient’s cost-sharing obligations when it comes to certain services, deductibles, copays and coinsurance charges. In order to help those eligible for Medicare choose a plan that meets their needs and their budget, private insurers can offer a range of Medicare Supplement plans with varying degrees of coverage.
In all but three states, these plans are assigned letter names to make identifying their unique range of benefits easier for insurers and recipients alike. In Massachusetts, they can choose between a Core Plan or an expanded one called Supplement 1. In Minnesota, they have a choice between a Basic Plan or an Extended Basic Plan. Wisconsin recipients have only one Supplement plan.
Medicare Supplement Plan N Benefits
Medicare recipients who enroll with Medicare Supplement Plan N will have their Part A deductible and hospital costs, including the coinsurance charge, fully covered. This also extends inpatient coverage for up to 365 days once Part A’s inpatient coverage is used up. Plan N also covers 100% of the coinsurance at a skilled nursing facility. The first 3 pints of blood transfusion are also a fully covered hospital benefit.
Through Original Medicare, Part A covers hospice care, but patients may be charged copayments or coinsurances for certain services; Plan N covers these costs. Copayments and coinsurances with Part B are almost entirely covered, however, some office visits may still require a $20 copay. Emergency room visits, which fall under Part B coverage terms, will require a $50 copay when the recipient is not admitted for inpatient care. Plan N covers 80% of the cost of care received while traveling outside of the country.
Plan N may not be available in every area or through every insurance carrier who offers Medicare Supplement plans. Medicare Supplement plans do not offer prescription drug coverage, either. Recipients interested in prescription drug coverage must purchase a stand-alone Part D Prescription Drug Plan if they choose to enroll in Original Medicare with or without a Medicare Supplement Plan. While many Medicare Advantage plans can offer prescription drug coverage, recipients cannot enroll in both a Medicare Supplement and Medicare Advantage plan.