Medicare Advantage is a type of Medicare health plan offered by a private company that contracts with Medicare to provide all Part A and Part B benefits. Medicare Advantage Plans include Health Maintenance Organizations, Preferred Provider Organizations, Private Fee-for-Service Plans, Special Needs Plans, and Medicare Medical Savings Account Plans. If you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan, your Medicare services are covered through that plan and are not paid for under Original Medicare. Most Medicare Advantage Plans offer prescription drug coverage products.
Medicare Advantage Plans, sometimes called “Part C” or “MA Plans”, are offered by private companies approved by Medicare. If you join a Medicare Advantage Plan, you still have Medicare, however your Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) coverage come from the Medicare Advantage Plan and not Original Medicare.
Medicare Advantage Plans cover all Medicare services. Most Medicare Advantage Plans also offer extra coverage, such as vision, hearing, and dental coverage.
Medicare pays a fixed amount for your care each month to the companies offering Medicare Advantage Plans. These companies must follow rules set by Medicare.
Each Medicare Advantage Plan can charge different out-of-pocket costs and can also have different rules for how you get services. These rules can change each year and may include whether you need a referral to see a specialist or whether you are enrolled in a plan which requires you to use a network of doctors, facilities, or suppliers for non-emergency/non-urgent care.
Your out-of-pocket costs in a Medicare Advantage Plan depend on:
A Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) policy is sold by a private company, and can help pay certain health care costs that Original Medicare does not cover (co-payments, co-insurance, and deductibles).
Some Medigap policies also offer coverage for services not included in Original Medicare, such as medical care when traveling outside the United States. If you have Original Medicare and you buy a Medigap policy, Medicare will pay its share of the Medicare-approved amount for covered health care costs, and your Medigap policy pays its share.
A Medigap policy is different from a Medicare Advantage Plan. Medicare Advantage Plans are ways to get Medicare benefits, while a Medigap policy only supplements your existing Original Medicare benefits.
Hospital indemnity plans provide completely separate benefits from your main medical insurance plan, regardless of the actual cost of the service. When covered medical expenses resulting from hospitalization, surgery, chemotherapy and radiation services build up, your Hospital Indemnity Plan (HIP) will pay a fixed amount. That amount may be per day, per week, per month, per visit, or per event, depending on the plan and the benefit that applies. HIP policies are standalone, which means they do not coordinate with your other health insurance coverage.
Final expense insurance is a type of life insurance designed to cover the costs of an individual’s “final expenses,” such as funeral services, loans, legacy planning needs, and other outstanding bills.
There are 2 main types of coverage an individual can qualify for based on a short health interview: Level Benefit and Graded Benefit.
Level Benefits are the type of coverage that will pay the full life insurance benefit starting immediately upon approval.
Graded Benefit means there were some concerns with the health interview over pre-existing conditions and the life insurance benefit will pay out on a reduced basis the first two years. For example, if you have a $10,000 final expense policy approved, many companies will pay out 30% of the 10,000 if you die in year one, 70% in year two and 100% in year three. Different companies have different payout schedules, so it’s important to fully understand before making any purchase decisions.
Both types of plans listed above offer up to $25,000 in final expense coverage. Some final expense companies have age restrictions that would reduce the total amount you can apply for. For example, many companies will not allow graded benefits to exceed $15,000 for applicants over the age of 70. Therefore, it is important to have detailed discussions with your final expense agent or final expense company representative.
The average cost of a final expense policy depending on your age is around $40-$50 per month for roughly $10,000-$12,000 in coverage. Due to the low monthly premiums, some people often refer to final expense as “affordable end-of-life insurance”.
What are Life Insurance Plans?
Life insurance is a contract to provide a measure of financial security for your family after you die. The three main components of the life insurance contract are a death benefit, a premium payment, and in the case of permanent life insurance, a cash value account. You pay now so after your death, your dependents can continue with their lives comfortably without the burden of the loss of household income. When purchasing a life insurance policy, consider your financial situation and the standard of living you want to maintain for your dependents or survivors.
For example, who will be responsible for your funeral costs and final medical bills? Would your family have to relocate? Will there be adequate funds for future or ongoing expenses such as daycare, mortgage payments and college? It is prudent to re-evaluate your life insurance policies annually or when you experience a major life event like marriage, divorce, the birth or adoption of a child, or purchase of a major item such as a house or business.
Cancer Indemnity Insurance is an insurance policy that pays only after cancer is diagnosed. Cancer insurance is supplemental insurance and most types pay policyholders a lump sum upon diagnosis with a covered cancer, while others offer supplemental payments for healthcare costs.
Many cancer insurance policies provide a one-time payment, up to the policy limits, upon cancer diagnosis. Typically, this money can be used for whatever the policyholder chooses, whether for travel expenses (such as for traveling to a specialist or cancer center), co-payments, experimental treatments, or living expenses.
These payments follow a schedule listed with the policy, rather than paying in the form of a lump some. It does not pay a percent of your bill, it pays a certain dollar amount for each covered category such as radiation treatment, x-rays, surgery, or hospice care. The expenses paid by a cancer insurance policy depend on the terms of the policy, which should be reviewed carefully before purchasing a policy.