One reason that it’s so difficult to keep up with Medicare is that it’s constantly changing. The government is always adding or taking away restrictions on health care. Not only does Medicare coverage continue to change, but supplemental insurance continues to cover as well.
Medicare is an excellent government program, and it help provide health care coverage to millions of seniors across the nation, but it doesn’t cover everything. In fact, there are a dozen different expense categories that Medicare Parts A and B don’t cover. Those expenses could leave you with massive medical bills and hospital fees.
Those massive bills could turn your retirement dream into a nightmare. It’s important that you get the health care coverage that you need to ensure that you aren’t responsible for hospital bills that would drain your bank account.
Every year, I get a lot of questions about Medigap Plan J, which is no longer available. It’s important that you understand all of the plans, and if you have a Plan J, you will need to understand your coverage and some other similar options.
Medigap plans are sold by private insurance companies, and they work together with your original Medicare Parts A and B to give you additional coverage that you wouldn’t get with just your traditional coverage. There are ten different supplemental plans that you can choose from, all of them are going to have different coverages and gaps that they fill.
Some plans are going to be more basic than others. A Medigap Plan A is going to be one of the most basic, and it’s going to leave more gaps in coverage than other plans, like supplemental Plan F, which is the most comprehensive policy.
Plan J was one of the most popular options for Medigap coverage because of the additional insurance protection that it provided to enrollees. If you have a Plan J still, then you have the most coverage that you can buy. In fact, the law no longer allows you to get some of the coverage.
With your Plan J, you will get the basic coverage categories, like Part A coinsurance and hospital costs for an additional 365 days after your original Medicare coverage has expired. If you’ve ever stayed the night in a hospital for whatever reason, you know that it can be an expensive stay. With traditional Medicare, you will get some hospital fee coverage, but after that coverage ends, you’ll be responsible for all of those bills out-of-pocket. With a Medicare Plan J (or any supplemental plan for that matter), you will get additional coverage that can protect your savings if you’re ever in the hospital for several weeks.
Some of the additional coverage that came with a Plan J was paying the Part A and B deductible. The deductible is the amount that you have to reach before your Medicare coverage kicks in. If you had a Plan J, then you wouldn’t be responsible for paying that bill. Every year, the Part B deductible changes. In 2017, this threshold is $183.
Plan J would also pay for any Part B excess charges. When you go to the doctor or hospital to get any service, there is a pre-determined amount that Medicare B will pay. The doctor is legally allowed to charge 15% more than that amount. Anything about that pre-determined amount is considered excess charges. If you don’t have supplemental coverage, you will have to pay for all of those excess bills out of your pocket.
One of the unique coverage categories of Plan J was the prescription coverage that it provided. Plan J will help cover some of the rising costs of medications. The prescription coverage was one of the main reasons that Plan J was so popular.
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