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Why I chose Medigap Plan F for my supplemental Medicare coverage

Maryalene LaPonsie | October 26, 2010

By: Carol Bradley Bursack

Last summer my mailbox nearly overflowed with offerings from providers of Medicare supplemental plans; otherwise known as Medigap. It seemed everyone in the world knew I was turning 65. Such attention to this significant birthday did get a bit old--I wore out a paper shredder. But life happens.

I've never had a problem with my age. As an elder care columnist, blogger and author, I've been "out there" in the public eye for a decade, chronicling the adventures of aging and begin a caregiver for those even older than I am. I try, through my various venues, to help people understand, and hopefully meet, the challenges of aging and caregiving.

I was actually looking forward to signing up for Medicare, as I'd put off a few medical tests, such as a routine colonoscopy, because my employer-based insurance co-pay was outrageous. I knew once I signed up for Medicare and obtained coverage I'd be in a better place, financially, to get my tests done.

My Medicare choices for my health insurance needs

I signed up for Medicare Part A, for which most of us don't pay anything. We've paid for that as we've worked. I also chose to get Medicare Part B, as I wanted coverage for my doctor appointments and other things that don't fall under Part A. There is a fairly modest premium for Part B, but I was happy to get it. I also chose Medicare Part D for prescription coverage.

I knew I wanted supplemental health insurance coverage, though it's not required. The question for me was to decide which plan I wanted for supplemental coverage. I was tired of bank-breaking co-pays from my old health insurance coverage. The Medicare supplemental plans, also called Medigap plans, offer differing types of coverage.

Not surprisingly, the better the coverage the more we pay. Because huge co-pays have dogged my health care--and I'm really a very healthy person for my age--I was determined to eliminate as many surprises in that area as possible. I carefully studied all of the little booklets--each labeled with Plan A, Plan B, etc.--that I received from multiple insurance companies.

Why I selected Medigap Plan F

In the end, I chose an insurance company that offered coverage in my community and that www.Medicare.gov ranked as a reliable payer. The www.Medicare.gov site is quite easy to navigate, so I'd suggest you check out a company for reliability before choosing a plan.

In the end, I selected Plan F. Although it costs me a bit more per month than any of the other choices, it looked as though this plan would virtually eliminate co-pays. This is an individual choice, obviously. Many people would prefer a lower monthly premium and then pay the co-pays based on the plan they chose. We are all different and have different health and financial histories.

For me, Plan F made sense. I had my routine colonoscopy and my mammogram. The bright blue statement that arrives from the insurance company stating "THIS IS NOT A BILL," greeted me with a grand total of zero for "my responsibility." While the process of getting signed up for all of my Medicare parts and plans was a little irksome, I'll now be far more relaxed about getting routine exams accomplished and addressing any medical issues that may come up in the future. I can get on with the business of trying to stay healthy.

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