How Can a Medicare Supplement Plan Help You Manage Hospital Costs?

Pamela Cannaday by Pamela Cannaday | Licensed since 2011
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This article was updated on: 09/16/2018

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If you have a medical condition that has you in and out of the hospital frequently, you might worry about how you’ll manage hospital costs. Even though Medicare generally covers some hospital costs, your out-of-pocket costs might get high. A Medicare Supplement plan might help pay for some of your out-of-pocket hospital costs.

What is a Medicare Supplement plan?

Medicare Supplement insurance is sold by private insurance companies. They’re set up to work alongside your Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) coverage. Medicare Supplement plans can help pay your out-of-pocket costs from Medicare Part A and Part B, like copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles. There are a number of different Medicare Supplement plans, but almost all of them may help cover hospital costs.

Medicare Supplement plans and hospital costs

There are up to 10 standardized Medicare Supplement plans in most states. All of them may help you manage covered hospital costs by paying the Medicare Part A coinsurance amount when you’re a hospital inpatient.

Hospital cost-related benefits are the only benefit category that is generally fully covered by all 10 standardized Medicare Supplement plans. Every one of these plans may cover:

  • 100% of Medicare Part A coinsurance costs for covered hospital services.
  • Another year (365 days) of hospital coverage after Medicare benefits are used up

The 10 standardized Medicare Supplement plans have letters indicating their names: Medicare Supplement Plan A, Plan B, and so on. Every plan of the same name must include the same standard benefits, although some plans also offer additional benefits. Please note that Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Wisconsin standardize their Medicare Supplement plans differently.

Can a Medicare Supplement plan help manage your hospital costs?

Each person’s situation can be different from someone else’s. But you might want to learn more about Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) out-of-pocket costs. For some people, a Medicare Supplement plan might help manage hospital costs by covering the Part A coinsurance, the extra 365 days of hospital coverage, and other Medicare Part A and Part B out-of-pocket costs. Read more about Medicare Supplement plans.

When can you buy a Medicare Supplement plan that might help manage hospital costs?

If you’re enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B, you can apply for a Medicare Supplement plan anytime you want. However, the insurance company selling these plans doesn’t always have to accept your application – for example, if you have a health condition. The company may be able to charge you more than it would charge a healthy person, if it does sell you a plan. This information may be important for you to know if you have a health condition and need to manage your hospital costs.

There is a time period when you typically have “guaranteed-issue” rights to buy a Medicare Supplement plan: the Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period (OEP). During this time period, you can’t be turned down or have to pay more because of a health condition, although you might face a waiting period for coverage of that condition. The six-month OEP starts the month you’re both 65 or older and enrolled in Medicare Part B. There may be other situations when you have guaranteed-issue rights.

Do you have questions about how a Medicare Supplement plans might help with Medicare out-of-pocket hospital costs? I’ll be glad to help you.

  • You can arrange a phone call with me, or have me email you customized information about Medicare plan options; just follow the links below.
  • You can explore Medicare Supplement plans on your own; click the Find Plans or Compare Plans buttons on this page.

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