Know Your Medicare Supplements

Many American seniors think that when they get to the age of 65 and are entitled to Medicare that their worries are over. This isn’t true.

Medicare is not the ‘be all-end all’ and all encompassing insurance program than many elderly Americans seem to think it is; far from it to be precise. It will not and cannot take care of all their medical needs. It was never designed as a program to handle every medical need a person has. It was initially designed to take care of life’s medical crisis moments such as heart attacks and things like seriously broken bones.

Unfortunately, Medicare somehow became the magic panacea to cure everyone’s aches, pains and illnesses when they got older. That meant that buying Medicare supplements didn’t make much sense to older people because they already had Medicare coverage. Many of them opted to not get Medicare supplements because the cost seemed out of line. This mistaken impression needs to be corrected before too many seniors realize their mistake later when they desperately need medical care they cannot get with Medicare.

If the elderly do not understand the differences between Medicare and Medicare supplements they will find themselves faced with medical bills later in life that they not only didn’t expect to have, but will have no way to be able to pay them. This isn’t to say the Medicare is flawed, but it should be noted that it does have limited coverage, and it’s the consumer’s responsibility to know what Medicare does provide and what it doesn’t. Having said that, often seniors need help understanding Medicare supplement insurance from their families, and also need to know where they can find pricing for Medicare supplement coverage that suits their budgets.

If you’re helping your older relatives understand the complicated tangle of Medicare and Medicare supplement insurance, make sure to explain to them why having this extra coverage is crucial for their medical care; that they need the extra coverage now to cover care needed later.

There are four levels of Medicare that you need to know about, and each of them deal with medical coverage differently. For instance, Medicare part A pays overnight hospital expenses; part B handles routine doctor’s fees/tests; part C is optional coverage in that if you have part A, B or Medicare Advantage part C (which will be phased out in 2010) you are eligible for part D (prescription drug coverage). With the changes to Medicare coming in 2010, it makes sense to have a heart-to-heart talk with a local Medicare insurance agent who will be able to outline more in-depth what the coming changes are and what they may mean to you.

Every part of Medicare has a variety of deductibles and limits in place that once reached will mean your Medicare coverage is exhausted. These limits and deductibles change now and then, so keeping up-to-date with the changes will provide you with the peace of mind that your elderly family member is fully covered in any event. Don’t hesitate to contact a local Medicare insurance agent and discuss what you need for your senior family member. They are there to help you.

Richard Cantu is with Medicare supplements resource, To learn more about Medicare, Medicare supplements, or Medicare supplement insurance visit

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