Make sure that Medicare deductibles are thoroughly understood to save finding out the hard way that deductibles are applied differently.
The major problem with Medicare and all the various deductibles is that it is extremely confusing trying to figure out which portion of Medicare – Part A and Part B – has which deductible kick in and when. For the record, Medicare part A offers hospital coverage, and part B provides medical coverage. If there is no Medicare supplement insurance involved then when the calendar year starts and a patient visits their doctor they would pay a deductible of roughly $150.
If this same person had to go to hospital and spent three days there, they would get in the mail a part A deductible bill of approximately $1,000. If for some reason the same patient had to return to the hospital for another short stay a few months later, they would once again get a part A deductible bill in the mail for the same amount as their first stay. At this point many seniors throw up their hands and wonder what is happening and why they are getting two bills in the mail.
The reason there were two deductibles in one year under Medicare part A is because the deductible is charged for a benefit period, and a benefit period starts the day a person goes to a hospital or other nursing institution.
The period typically ends when the patient hasn’t gotten hospital care for 60 days in a row. If that period ends and another trip to the hospital is required, this is classified as a new benefit period. On the other hand, Medicare part B only has the one deductible a calendar year.
If Medigap supplement insurance was in play in this scenario, then it would likely have covered the out-of-pocket expenses for Medicare part A and part B deductibles. At one time there was the option to consider the benefits of a Medicare Advantage plan. Unfortunately, this plan will no longer be offered in 2010.
Medicare isn’t always the easiest health care insurance to understand, but with a little due diligence and digging, most of the answers are readily available. Granted they may be confusing at first, but if seniors take the time to speak to a local Medicare insurance agent, they will have the answers immediately. A local Medicare agent will know the plans and benefits intimately and if budget is a concern, he will be able to tailor Medicare supplement insurance to go with Medicare that is affordable and actually delivers what it promises to deliver.