Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield

Medicare 101 Video Series

“Medicare Supplement Insurance”

When you become eligible for Medicare, you may think, “That’s great, because now all of my medical bills will be paid.” Right? It’s not that simple. You see, Medicare was never designed to cover all of a person’s healthcare expenses. That’s why most people find they need additional coverage. A popular choice is a Medicare supplement health insurance plan.

At Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield we understand that health insurance can be complex. We want to help you better understand your options so you can feel confident about your choices. Let’s start by taking a look at the purpose of Medicare supplement insurance and how it works together with Medicare Parts A and B, sometimes referred to as “Original” Medicare.

As you may know, Original Medicare has deductibles, copayments and coinsurance. Those are the medical costs that you are responsible for — and they are typically called “out-of-pocket” expenses. Private insurance companies offer Medicare supplement insurance as a way to help you pay these out-of-pocket costs. For instance, Medicare Part A, which covers hospital services, has a deductible that you must meet before Medicare begins to pay. For long hospital stays, you will also be required to pay daily copayments. With Medicare supplement insurance plans, you pay a monthly premium for coverage that helps to pay most – if not all – of these costs that you would otherwise have to pay yourself.

Medicare Part B, which covers medical services, also has a deductible and requires you to pay coinsurance on services like doctors’ office visits, preventive care, X-rays and other common medical services. Once again, depending on the Medicare supplement plan you choose, you will have help to pay those out-of-pocket costs. Notice we said depending on the plan you choose. That’s because you have a choice of Medicare supplement plans. Each plan offers a different level of coverage with a different monthly premium.

To help make the plans easy to compare from one insurance company to the next, the federal government requires that all like Medicare supplement insurance plans offer the exact same benefits. In other words, one insurance company’s Plan F has the exact same benefits as another company’s Plan F. However, the cost of Medicare supplement plans is not the same. Monthly premium amounts can differ – sometimes significantly –from one company to another. Some Medicare supplement plans do offer value-added programs, such as fitness programs, at no additional cost to the member. Also, customer service varies from one company to the next. So, when deciding on a Medicare supplement plan, it’s wise to use a company known for its excellent customer service and convenient office locations.

Arkansas Blue Cross offers a choice of Medicare supplement insurance plans. One of our knowledgeable representatives can walk you through the process of understanding your options to help you determine which plan is right for you, based on your needs and budget. We want you to have the peace of mind that comes from knowing your healthcare is covered as you turn age 65. We’ve been helping folks understand their health insurance options for more than 60 years.

Remember, Medicare supplement insurance can help with the costs Medicare does not pay. We invite you to discuss your options with one of our Arkansas Blue Cross representatives before deciding on the health insurance plan that’s best for you.