Your Wealth, Health, And Lifestyle Newsletter

Should You Buy Supplemental Health Insurance When On Medicare?

By Jason Markum

Health insurance! Will there ever be a time when we don’t have to worry about health insurance?! I sure hope so because in my mind there are not many things that are more complicated and hard to understand and harder to deal with than health insurance.

It’s hard enough when you work for a company that provides you with health insurance at group plan discount rates. It’s almost impossible if you’re an individual who owns their own business or is an independent contractor, or someone who tends to hop from job to job.

And it doesn’t get any easier as you get older! Many people think that after they hit 65 years old they can kick back and not worry about health insurance anymore because they will be eligible for Medicare. The problem is, most people don’t understand Medicare any better than they understood their old health insurance.

Before we get further along in this article, I want to make one suggestion very clear. I suggest that you do not cancel your current health insurance or least your major medical insurance when you turn 65 just because you will be eligible for Medicare. The reason for this is that Medicare doesn’t cover a whole lot of things that you are likely to need in the very near future depending on your health and health history.

But enough about that, in this article I want to talk about supplemental health insurance and whether or not you should buy it if you are on Medicare. The reason why people typically consider this is because, like I said above, Medicare doesn’t cover many essential items that you will need an it is correctly thought that supplemental health insurance will help cover those gaps.

The problem here, and it’s the main problem as far as I can tell… is that Medicare changes yearly. That means the gaps, or the things that it doesn’t cover, also change yearly. This makes it very difficult to purchase supplemental insurance to cover those gaps when you don’t know what those gaps are going to be year after year. The whole purpose of insurance is to plan ahead and it becomes nearly impossible to do that when things keep changing.

I suggest you check with the American Association of Retired Persons because they will keep current on all of these issues and let you know possibly the different gaps that are currently extended in Medicare and also probably what they expect the gaps to be in the future and so therefore will help you to plan to buy supplemental insurance adequately.

One thing to note however is that supplemental policies for Medicare usually won’t cover nursing homes or extended care issues. Some insurers may start doing this and maybe have already. Also you should note that purchasing several different supplemental policies may not be helpful because in many cases those policies will only pay out in a coordinated fashion with your other insurances that you already have. So if one supplemental package covers one thing, another won’t pay for that same thing… or they will both pay out half.

The bottom line is, if you are going to depend solely on Medicare for your health insurance needs in the future it is fairly important for you to purchase supplemental insurance to go along with it. Check with a professional insurance agent that you trust for more information.

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