Choosing a Medicare Insurance Plan can be confusing and difficult. While you are researching the many different plans that are offered and deciding which one meets your needs the best, you may come across something called a “Medicare SELECT Plan.”
Medicare Supplement plans, also referred to as Medigap, offer ten standardized policies for you to choose from, but there is also the Medicare SELECT option that isn’t always talked about. Medicare SELECT plans originated in the early 1990s and were made a permanent law across the country by 1998. The implementation of Medicare SELECT plans differs from state to state.
The Purpose Of Medigap Policies
Original Medicare is the oldest Medicare plan, and it simply offers coverage through Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B. These two parts help cover your doctor and hospital expenses but do not cover prescription medication. Original Medicare may not cover all of your expenses 100%, which leaves you with medical bills that you are now responsible for. This is where Medigap comes into play. Medigap will help you cover the leftover copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles.
Medigap And Medicare SELECT Plans
Medicare SELECT plans are similar to Medicare Supplement plans (Medigap) because they also help cover the copayments, coinsurances, or deductibles that are not covered by your Original Medicare insurance plan. Medicare SELECT plans favor their Medigap counterparts due to these plans being “versions of the standardized Medicare Supplement plans.”
How Is A Medicare SELECT Plan Different From Medigap?
It may be true that Medicare Supplement plans and Medicare SELECT plans do offer the same coverage benefits. It is also important to be aware that Medicare SELECT plans do have some limitations that Medigap policies do not have. Two important restrictions separate the Medigap policies from the Medicare SELECT plans:
When enrolled in a Medicare Supplement plan, you have the option to seek treatment from any physician on the nationwide Medicare network. Medicare SELECT plans do not give you this option. You are required to seek treatment from specific medical providers in your area for non-emergency cases. Your choices of physicians to seek treatment from will typically be quite slim as compared to the options given by a Medicare Supplement plan.
Medicare SELECT plans will more than likely require a referral to seek treatment from a specialist. Medigap policies and Original Medicare do not require referrals.
How Is A Medicare SELECT Plan Different From A Medicare Advantage Plan?
Medicare SELECT Plans are quite similar to a Medicare Advantage HMO insurance plan due to the limitations you have when choosing providers and requiring referrals. One major difference between Medicare Advantage plans and Medicare SELECT plans is that there is no copayment schedule if you are enrolled in a Medicare SELECT plan. Medicare SELECT plans also do not offer Medicare Part D coverage, dental, or extra benefits.
Is A Medicare SELECT Plan Right For Me?
If you are interested in enrolling in a Medicare SELECT plan, you should first ensure that the providers in your area offer Medicare SELECT plans. If they do, there are a few things you should consider before enrolling, such as:
- Healthcare providers in the carrier’s network
- The amount of traveling you do
- If you are interested in the amount of money you can save with this type of plan
If you are happy with the healthcare providers offered within your carrier’s network, then enrolling in a Medicare SELECT plan may be a great option for you. If you rarely travel, you will most likely not require a referral for treatment on a regular basis, so you would have no issues with the referral aspect of the Medicare SELECT plan. If these aspects fit your needs and appeal to you, then a Medicare SELECT plan may be the plan for you!
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