Medicare Supplement Insurance is a type of health insurance plan that helps cover the gaps in Original Medicare. Gaps include coinsurance, copayments and deductibles. Original Medicare, Parts A and B, is offered by the federal government while Medicare Supplement plans are sold by private insurance carriers. Medicare Select plans are a type of supplement plan in a service area that offers a lower monthly premium when you agree to use defined hospitals.
Medicare Select plans have a defined network of hospitals.
A regular Medicare Supplement plan covers patients when they use any provider who accepts Medicare. A Medicare Select plan requires the patient to use a defined network of hospitals to get the full benefits for pre-planned inpatient admissions. Some Select plans may have specific doctors that you must use in order to be eligible for full benefits so be sure to carefully read the plan details.
Medicare Select plans cover emergency care at any hospital that accepts Medicare.
In a medical emergency, you can go to the nearest hospital accepting Medicare and your services are covered. You do not have to go to a Select hospital for emergency care.
Consider your needs when choosing between Plan G and Plan G Select.
When selecting a Medigap plan, consider what your own personal needs are. Let’s look at two examples.
First up is Sara. She has Blue Cross Medicare Select Plan G to help cover costs not covered by her Original Medicare. She is able to choose any doctor that accepts Medicare. For her planned knee replacement, her doctor referred her to a hospital that is part of the Select network to ensure Sara would get the full benefits of her Medicare Select plan for her pre-planned inpatient procedure.
Next up, let’s look at Bob. Bob was diagnosed with cancer when he was 60 years old but is now in remission. When he turned 65, he decided not to with a Select plan and instead signed up for a Blue Cross Medicare Supplement Plan G. He wanted to keep his options open for treatment at the cancer hospital in Texas.
Both Sara and Bob enjoy the benefits of a Medicare Supplement plan by using their anticipated needs to help them choose the type of plan that best fits their situations.
What happens if I don’t use a network hospital for a pre-planned inpatient procedure?
If you have a Medicare Select plan and decide not to use a network hospital for your pre-planned inpatient procedure, then Medicare still pays its share of the approved charges, but the Medicare Select policy would not be required to pay any benefits. An example would be having a planned knee replacement. However, if you need emergency care, you can choose any hospital accepting Medicare.
If you enroll in a Select plan but later decide to change, you can switch to a plan with equal or lesser value with the same company. So Sara could switch from a Select Plan G to a Plan G with her same insurance carrier. If you move out of the Medicare Select policy’s service area, you can keep the Medicare Supplement plan but you may want to switch to another type of policy.
Medicare Select plans typically have a less expensive premium.
Medicare Select plans are popular because they typically offer a lower monthly premium. Insurance carriers negotiate rates directly with specific hospitals. These hospitals charge less for the services they provide to members. Carriers are then able to offer a lower premium for Select plans.
With these Select network hospitals, Medicare pays its share of the approved charges and the Medicare Select policy pays for the full supplemental benefits provided for in the policy.
Medicare Select plans are not available in all areas. Insurance companies can choose whether they want to offer them depending on the agreements they have with the medical providers in a defined area.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas offers Select plans.
At Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas, we offer Medicare Supplement Insurance Select Plans C, F, G, K and N in 29 counties (See map). With a Blue Cross Medicare Select plan you are free to choose any doctor that accepts Medicare but must use specific hospitals for pre-planned inpatient stays to get the full benefits of the plan. If you have a medical emergency, you can use any hospital accepting Medicare. View our plan details.
We understand you may have additional questions about Medicare Select plans and requirements and how these may affect your care. Our Medicare Advisors can help you learn about options for Select plans in your area, review premium reductions available, and walk you through other options you have. We’re available right here in Kansas at 800-752-6650. We offer seminars and one-on-one appointments (See when we’re in your area).
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas is not connected with or endorsed by the U.S. Government or the Federal Medicare Program. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas, Inc. serves all counties in Kansas, except Johnson and Wyandotte. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. For costs and details of coverage, including exclusions, reductions or limitations and the terms under which the policy may be continued in force, call or write the company at 866-842-2469 (TTY 711) or Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas, 1133 SW Topeka Blvd., Topeka, KS 66629. A Medicare Supplement Outline of Coverage is available at www.bcbsks.com/outline. An agent may contact you.