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Filling Medicare’s gaps to protect assets

Whether you’re approaching your golden years or experiencing them now, it’s important to be aware of how your health care options change at age 65.Many people believe that Medicare will pay for all of their medical expenses. Unfortunately, it won’t.There are several ways to help protect your assets. You may want to consider a Medicare supplement insurance policy (sometimes referred to as a “Medigap” policy) to help lower your out-of-pocket expenses. It’s a policy specifically designed to fill some of the gaps in your Medicare coverage.Because Medicare supplement insurance is strictly regulated by both federal and state governments, only 10 standardized plans are offered, and not all plans are offered in every state. These plans pay most, if not all, Medicare coinsurance amounts.Medicare supplement policies are labeled with the letters “A” through “J.” Plan “A” gives you a basic benefit plan. Plan “B” provides additional benefits, and so on. Additional benefits may include coinsurance for skilled nursing care, preventive care, emergency treatment while traveling in a foreign country, doctor’s charges over the approved Medicare amount, prescription medicine or at-home recovery charges. Insurers choose which plans they will market (unless a state dictates otherwise).A complete statement of coverage can be found in the policy itself. You will need to choose which plan best suits your needs and budget.While the plan coverage offered by insurance companies is identical, no two insurance companies are alike. It’s important to take a close look at the company’s financial stability and level of customer service when making your decision.Once you’ve purchased a policy, you’ll be pleased to know that as long as you use a Medicare-approved physician, you may not need to submit any additional paperwork to Medicare or your supplemental insurance carrier.Be aware that neither Medicare nor a Medicare supplement insurance policy will cover all costs associated with long-term care assistance if you’re no longer able to care for yourself. So, it’s best to consult a professional to discuss all your insurance and financial needs.

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