Why You Need a Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan
Medicare is a federal program to help older Americans and some disabled Americans pay for the high cost of health care. However, Medicare was never intended to cover all your health care costs. So even if you’re covered by Medicare, you are still responsible for a large portion of your health care costs. Without a Medicare Supplement insurance plan, your out-of-pocket costs could add up to more than $57,424 this year alone.
What Medicare Doesn’t Cover
Medicare does not cover all health care costs. Medicare coverage consists of Part A (which covers hospital and skilled nursing facility care), and Part B (which covers doctor bills and other medical expenses).
Even with Medicare Part A and Part B coverage, you’re responsible for some out-of-pocket expenses including:
(Here are the 2017 deductibles):
- Part A hospital deductible ($1,316)
- Part B deductible ($183)
- Copayments for hospital stays over 60 days
- Care in a skilled nursing facility after 20 days
- Twenty percent coinsurance for doctor bills and other medical expenses
By law, Medicare Supplement insurance plans are standardized into twelve plans (Plans A through L). That means Plan F from one company must include the same benefits as plan F from another company. While the benefits must be the same, each company’s rates, reputation, membership features and quality of service can vary. With Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, you don’t have to sacrifice comprehensive benefits or freedom-of-choice for affordability. Their Medicare Supplement plans provide substantial benefits at rates that can save you money over other plans.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois Member Benefits
All Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois Medicare Supplement Insurance plans give you:
- Guaranteed Acceptance with no health questions asked
- Freedom to choose any doctors or specialists
- Coverage with domestic travel (Plans F, HD-F, G, and N cover foreign travel)
- Guaranteed renewability regardless of changes in your health
- Coverage guaranteed to match Medicare’s cost increases year after year
- Blue Extras Member Discount Program that include discounts on wellness products and services including vision, fitness clubs, weight management, complementary alternative medicine, hearing and more
- No claim forms, in most cases
Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan Basic Benefits
Basic benefits included in all plans include:
- Hospitalization – Part A coinsurance plus coverage for 365 additional days after Medicare benefits end.
- Medical Expenses – Part B coinsurance (generally 20% of Medicare-approved expenses), or in the case of hospital outpatient department services under a prospective payment system, applicable copayments.
- Blood – First three pints of blood each year.
*Plans K and L include benefits at different levels of cost sharing (see outline of coverage).
- Of all available standardized plans, Plans F and Plan G offer the most complete protection for uncovered Medicare Part B excess charges. These are the most popular plans because they also pay the Medicare Part A hospital deductible and copayments, skilled nursing facility copayment and foreign travel emergency care.
- Plans F also covers the Medicare Part B deductible.
High Deductible Plan F, Plan K, Plan L and Plan N include cost-sharing features that allow you to save on premiums while still receiving dependable coverage.
- High Deductible Plan F features a $2,200 annual deductible (2017) before plan benefits begin
- Plan N features an office visit and emergency room copayment applicable to each visit
- Plans K and Plan L feature cost sharing for covered services under Medicare Part A and Part B. Once your annual out-of-pocket expenses reach the required limit, the plan pays 100% of covered expenses for the remainder of the calendar year.
If you are seeking the most basic benefit plan with the lowest cost, BCBSIL offers Medicare Supplement Plan A. For more detailed explanations on all the available BCBSIL Medicare Supplement plans and benefits.
Part B medical excess: Charges from your provider that exceed Medicare-approved amounts. Only Plan F, High Deductible Plan F, and Plan G cover these charges. For all other plans, you are responsible for paying excess charges. In no case can a provider charge more than 115% of the Medicare approved amount.
Skilled nursing coinsurance: Medicare pays the first 20 days of treatment in a skilled nursing facility, and an annually adjusted per diem for the 21st through 100th day. Plans with this benefit pay an additional annually adjusted per diem for the 21st through 100th day. You are responsible for all charges after the 100th day. In order to receive any Skilled Nursing Facility benefits, you must meet Medicare’s requirements:
- You were admitted to a hospital for at least three days
- You were admitted to a Medicare-approved skilled nursing facility within 30 days of leaving the hospital
Foreign travel emergency: Medically necessary emergency care services beginning during the first 60 days of each trip outside of the United States. All plans offering this benefit require you to pay a foreign travel emergency deductible and a percent of costs after the deductible is met.
Reduced Premium Medicare Select Option
Plan F, Plan G, Plan K, Plan L, and Plan N Med-Select options offer you the same solid benefits as the “standard” plans, but cost less. You save on premiums simply by agreeing to use any of the Med-Select participating hospitals for non-emergency elective admissions. If you do not use one of these hospitals for your non-emergency admissions, you pay the $1,316 Part A deductible. Med-Select is not an HMO. With Med-Select, you are fully covered for emergency care at any hospital, and you can choose your own doctors and specialists.
Med-Select is available in specific geographic areas only. You must live within a 30 mile radius of a Med-Select participating hospital.
|Basic Benefit Options||Premier Plan Options||Budget-Conscious Plan Options|
|Plan A||Plan B||Plan C||Plan F||Plan G||High Deductible
|Plan K*||Plan L*||Plan N*|
|Reduced Premium Medicare Select Option Available (eligibility based on ZIP code)|
|Skilled Nursing Coinsurance||100%||100%||100%||100%||50%||75%||100%|
|Part A Deductible||100%||100%||100%||100%||100%||50%||75%||100%|
|Part B Deductible||100%||100%||100%|
|Part B Excess||100%||100%||100%|
|Foreign Travel Emergency Care|
|Annual Out of Pocket Limit**||$5,120||$2,560|
*Plans K-N provide for different cost-sharing than plans A-G.
Plans K and L pay 100% of hospitalization and preventive care Basic Benefits. All other Basic Benefits are paid at 50% (Plan K) and 75% (Plan L). Once you reach the annual limit, the plan pays 100% of the Medicare copayments, coinsurance and deductibles for the rest of the calendar year. The out-of-pocket annual limit does NOT include charges from your provider that exceed Medicare-approved amounts, called “excess charges.” You are responsible for paying excess charges.
Plan N covers Basic Benefits after a $20 copay for office visits and a $50 copay for emergency room visits.
**The out-of-pocket annual limit may increase each year for inflation. (2017 limits shown)
† Network restrictions apply