Millions of Americans rely on Medicare to cover their health care costs when they are old enough to qualify for it. And, generally speaking, Medicare is a tremendous asset for those who have it. However, Medicare, alone, is often not enough given the number of things it doesn’t cover and/or the deductibles that are sometimes required.
If your income and assets are low enough that you qualify for Medicaid then you may be set. Medicaid is paid for by both federal and state governments and therefore qualification standards as well as benefits paid differ from state to state. The purpose of Medicaid is to help lower income individuals, as well as many people who are disabled, pay any health care costs that they cannot afford.
Medicaid works pretty cohesively with the Medicare program, and for those who happen to be enrolled in both programs, nearly all of their health care costs are normally, ultimately, covered. You may be surprised to find out that you don't have to necessarily be destitute to qualify for medicaid. In fact, I recently read a truly great book about Medicaid Secrets.
However, those "unfortunate" enough not to qualify for Medicaid, may need to purchase some sort of supplemental health care coverage (sometimes called a "Medi-gap" insurance policy) to cover the costs (gaps) that Medicare does not cover.
The question then becomes how to find the best Medicare supplement plan.
Most major insurance companies offer some sort of a medigap plan; each with slightly different coverage options. Many states also offer assistance to individuals in finding a medigap policy through their State Health Insurance Assistance Program or some similar program.
If you are a member, the AARP Medicare Supplement Plans are good to look into.
In order to determine what kind of Medigap insurance plan may be right for you, it is important to properly determine all of the medical expenses that are not covered by Medicare -- including deductibles. Think about which of those expenses you are most likely to incur in the future. Do you need a dental supplement; a drug supplement, etc.
Then, go shopping and do some Medicare supplement comparisons. You will find that medicare supplement costs vary from plan to plan. So be sure to get at least three quotes. Think about contacting a medicare supplement insurance agent to discuss your options. Of course, keep in mind that if the agent is compensated by an insurance company; he or she may be somewhat biased. An independent medicare/medigap insurance agent is probably best if you can find one.
The process is similar to what you would go through in shopping for long term care insurance. So, for tips on how to shop for the best Medicare supplement plans, check out How To Buy Long Term Care Insurance.
You can read more about the differences between Medicare and Medicaid at Elderly Parents Medicare - Medicaid.
Here’s an article about Do medicaid plans work
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