Though not as popular as Medicare Advantage or Medigap plans, Medicare SELECT plans are an alternative to Original Medicare that can provide you with broader coverage. Medicare SELECT may be good for some individuals, but it also has downsides that are important to be aware of if you are considering enrolling.
What Is Medicare SELECT?
Medicare SELECT works by filling in the coverage gaps left over by Original Medicare. It offers the same benefits that Medicare Supplement plans offer. This can include coverage for coinsurance, copayments, deductibles, and more.
The Medicare SELECT program was launched in the early 1990s. Participation was initially limited to 15 states, including California, Florida, Minnesota, Texas, and Wisconsin. However, the program was later opened to all regions, and now any state is authorized to offer these types of policies.
What Is a Medicare SELECT Plan?
Medicare SELECT policies are similar to Medigap policies in that they help to pay for the coverage gaps that Original Medicare doesn’t pay for, such as coinsurance and copayments. They are also federally standardized in the same way that Medigap plans are.
However, unlike Medicare Supplement Insurance policies, Medicare SELECT plans require you to receive treatment from your plan’s network of doctors and providers. Receiving treatment outside of your plan’s network will likely result in you paying higher copayments or perhaps even having to cover the full cost of your treatment.
What is covered and which doctors and hospitals are in-network varies from plan to plan. That’s why it’s important that you do your research before signing up for a Medicare policy. Reach out to us today to discuss your plan options, free of charge.
Medicare SELECT vs. Medigap
You may be wondering, then, how is a Medicare SELECT plan different from a Medigap plan? Medicare SELECT plans are actually standardized in the same way as Medicare Supplement Insurance policies. You can choose between Medicare SELECT Plans A, B, C*, D, F*, High Deductible F*, G, High Deductible G, K, L, M, and N.
However, while Medigap plans allow you to visit any provider that accepts Medicare, Medicare SELECT plans restrict you to your plan’s network of providers. This means that your plan may not cover your care if you choose to visit an out-of-network doctor or hospital in a non-emergency situation.
So if you are looking to purchase a Medicare policy that covers your expenses the same way that Medigap plans do, without out-of-pocket costs at doctors’ offices or hospitals within your network, then a Medicare SELECT plan may be right for you. But if you want more freedom when choosing where you recieve treatment, you may be better off sticking with traditional Medicare Supplement Insurance.
*Plans C, F, and High Deductible F are only available to beneficiaries who became eligible for Medicare before January 1, 2020.
Medicare SELECT vs. Medicare Advantage
While Medicare SELECT is similar to Medicare Supplement Insurance when it comes to what each plan’s benefits cover, it uses the same network provider system that many Medicare Advantage plans are based on.
HMO plans, for example, require enrollees to visit in-network providers if they would like their plan to cover their treatment. The same is true for Medicare SELECT plans.
However, a big difference between the two is that Medicare Advantage plans offer the benefits provided by Original Medicare on top of other additional benefits (hearing, vision, and dental coverage, to name a few). Medicare SELECT plans, on the other hand, work by filling in the gaps in coverage (deductibles, coinsurance, copayments, and more) left over by Original Medicare.
Whether a Medicare SELECT or a Medicare Advantage plan is a better fit for you will depend on a variety of factors. Plan availability in your area, your health history, and more will all influence which type of Medicare coverage is a better fit for you.
Speak with an experienced insurance agent today to explore your Medicare options and make sure that you’re making the best possible choice for you.
Where Is Medicare SELECT offered?
As mentioned, Medicare SELECT can be offered in every state, but that doesn’t mean that your county or city will have plans available. Insurance companies can choose whether or not they want to offer this type of coverage, and it is not nearly as popular as Medicare Supplement Insurance or Medicare Advantage. You may not be eligible to enroll in a plan depending on where you reside.
Pros and Cons of Medicare SELECT
As you can see, Medicare SELECT has some advantages and downsides, so it is important to weigh out your options before deciding whether or not to enroll in a plan.
On the plus side, Medicare SELECT policies can offer the comprehensive coverage that you would get with a Medigap plan at a lower monthly premium. Nevertheless, it is always important to compare prices before choosing a plan.
However, Medicare SELECT policies are not offered everywhere, so you may not even have the option to enroll in them. Plus, going out of your plan’s network for care could result in high copayments and coinsurance, which may offset the low monthly premiums that people are often enticed by when it comes to Medicare SELECT.
Compare Medicare Plan Rates
You may be enticed to enroll in a Medicare SELECT plan because of its relatively low premiums. But keep in mind that if you are unable to stay within your plan’s network, your low monthly costs could be offset by high out-of-pocket coinsurance and copayments.
The same is true for Medicare Advantage plans, as some even come with $0 monthly premiums. But again, if your plan requires you to receive coverage in-network and you are unable to do so, you could end up with some steep medical bills.
Medicare Supplement Insurance policies don’t have networks of providers. And while they fill in the gaps left over by Original Medicare, they don’t offer coverage for additional services like hearing, vision, and dental coverage, to name a few.
At the end of the day, there is a Medicare plan out there for everyone. It’s just a question of finding the right plan for each individual situation.
Here at Medicare Plans Direct, we help seniors make the best Medicare choices for them. Get in contact with us to receive free Medicare advice.