Supplemental Insurance - The Basics

Supplemental Insurance – The Basics

As you may already have noticed, Medicare does not cover all your medical expenses. That's where supplemental insurance comes in handy. This type of insurance is designed to help pay for expenses that Medicare doesn't cover. In addition, this insurance may help with your future expenses in conjunction with your Medicare coverage.

Types of Insurance

In addition to Medicare coverage, you may be interested in supplemental coverage for accidents, specific diseases such as cancer or diabetes, as well as critical care and recovery needs following an accident. While Medicare does pay a good portion of your medical expenses, additional insurance may help take the stress and worry off your shoulders in the event of a severe illness or a short-term disability.

If you are over 65 years of age and have recently been diagnosed with a chronic medical condition or need specific medical care that isn't fully covered under a Medicare policy, you may purchase additional insurance through Medicare.

supplemental insurance

Such a policy is called a MediGap policy, or you can purchase additional coverage through a private insurance provider, in conjunction with your Medicare coverage.

Are you aware of which services Medicare doesn't cover? If you're not, you should be. Here's a list of a few:

  • Dentures and most other types of dental care
  • Routine vision care
  • Eyeglasses
  • Hearing aids
  • More than 100 days at a skilled nursing facility following a minimum three- day hospital stay
  • Custodial care -- this type of care includes services that a nurses aide might provide including help with bathing, toileting, getting dressed, walking around and other activities of daily living
  • Private duty nursing care
  • Routine foot care (this is especially important for diabetics)

Supplemental Medicare insurance, also known as a MediGap policy, may help pick up the costs of care not covered under Medicare, and may include coverage for out-of-pocket expenses, and for co-insurance, co-payments and deductibles.

However, keep in mind that any Medicare supplement policy you purchase will only pay for services that Medicare considers medically necessary, and those based on Medicare-approved charges.

Private insurance carriers may cover more types of services than a Medicare supplemental policy, but it's important for you and your loved ones to do your homework and determine your current as well as expected future expenses depending on your current physical condition and medical diagnosis.

Individuals may also receive supplemental healthcare through employee group plans, COBRA coverage, and as mentioned before, private insurance health plans.

Searching for Supplemental Insurance

When looking for this type of insurance, ask if you can return or examine your supplemental policy within 15 to 30 days with a full refund if you decide the coverage is not right for you. Consider insurance policies that guarantee renewal, regardless of your condition or diagnosis.

Ask about premium increases every year. Premiums are not guaranteed in most cases, and many insurance companies automatically raise premiums at least once a year.

Where to Look for Supplemental Insurance

Look for supplemental insurance options on the Internet, by asking your current health insurance provider, or your Medicare services representative. The Medicare WebSite provides extensive information regarding over a dozen different types of insurance or MediGap policies that may be used in conjunction with your basic Medicare coverage.

Take the time to compare benefits, restrictions, and costs of these insurance plans to ensure that you or your loved one is as fully covered as possible.


Many individuals, and not just seniors, are confused by the variety of options when it comes to senior health insurance and supplemental insurance plans and policies.

In communities around the country, Medicare and Medicaid Services routinely offer individual health and counseling to seniors prior to annual sign up periods. For those opting to look outside of Medicare, call your local insurance agent, and he or she will be happy to help guide you through your search for supplemental insurance that is both effective and affordable.

Senior Insurance

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