Medicare supplement policies help Medicare beneficiaries pay for their out-of-pocket healthcare expenses. They serve as a secondary insurance plan, with Parts A and B of Original Medicare the primary policy. Every one of the Medicare supplements contains core benefits.
Medicare Supplement Core Benefits
Core benefits are the basic coverage provided in each Medicare supplement, or Medigap, plan. There are four areas of coverage that make up the basic benefits.
When you are hospitalized and admitted as an inpatient, you will have coinsurance costs based on how many days you spend in the hospital. Part A will pay for the first 60 days of your stay at 100% once you’ve met the Part A deductible. ($1556 in 2022.)
From day 61 to 90, your coinsurance expense is $389 per day. Every Medicare supplement will pay your coinsurance cost as part of the core benefits. After day 90, you’ll need to use your 60 lifetime reserve days found in Part A. If you have these to use, your coinsurance is $778 per day. Again, the core benefits of a Medicare supplement will pay this coinsurance amount. Plus, the core benefits offer coverage for an additional 365 days once your Part A benefits have been exhausted.
Core benefits will also pay for coinsurance costs associated with Part A hospice benefits. Part A will pay for most of these costs, but there are occasionally copays that you would be expected to pay if you did not have a Medicare supplement. Some things included in hospice benefits are pain relief and management services and medications, durable medical equipment, medical and nursing services, and home aid.
Parts A and B cover blood needed for surgeries, transfusions, or donations. However, neither part pays for the first three pints of blood. The core benefits will pay that cost.
The last part of the core benefits applies to the Medicare Part B coinsurance costs. Once you have paid your Part B deductible ($233 in 2022), Medicare works on an 80/20 split, the program pays 80%, and you pay the remaining 20%. The core benefit of Medigap policies will pay that 20% coinsurance amount.
Other Medicare Benefits of Medicare Supplement Insurance
There are ten Medigap plans available to supplement your Original Medicare benefits.
Plan A is the only Medicare supplement insurance that contains only the core benefits. Most beneficiaries want more coverage than Plan A provides, but it can be a good option for those who aren’t concerned about out-of-pocket costs or need a lower premium.
Plan A must be offered by any insurance company that wants to sell Medicare supplement plans.
The other Medicare supplements use the core benefits as a base but add on other benefits.
Two of the most popular Medicare supplements are Plans F, and G. Plan F pays for every out-of-pocket expense for Medicare-approved services. Plan G pays for all out-of-pocket expenses except the Part B deductible.
No matter which Medicare supplement plan you choose, you really can’t go wrong. Even the plans that just have very basic benefits are a huge help in reducing your healthcare costs.