Here’s the good thing about Medicare Supplement Plans for 2019. While prudent seniors might think is makes sense to wait and see how much health care they’ll need, that could turn out to be a very costly decision. That’s because the time to get the cheapest rates on Medigap Insurance is often during the first six months after you turn 65. During what’s known as “open enrollment,” seniors are guaranteed the lowest rates that are available to everyone no matter what health problems they may have. If a doctor doesn’t accept that amount of payment, either the patient or his Medicare Supplement plans for 2019 can be found at the excess above Medicare’s payment.

Senior can apply for a Medigap Plan anytime, but insurance companies are free to decline to provide coverage outside of open enrollment if underwriting determines their health care costs will be high. Waiting too late to apply could result in seniors having to pay for everything not covered by Medicare, which could be hundreds or thousands of dollars per year.

The third way to extend Medicare is with a Part D Prescription Drug plan, but Medicare Advantage plans also typically include coverage for most, but not all, medicines. Since every Advantage plan sets independent policies, they do not all cover the same list of medications.

From the Medicare Modernization Act in 2003, the Medicare Advantage program that we know today was born. These types of plans allow seniors and people eligible for Medicare due to disability to get health coverage from private health insurance companies. Private insurance companies offering Medicare Advantage (MA) plans are required to offer the same benefits offered by Medicare Parts A and B. Part A covers hospital insurance while Part B covers medical insurance. Aside from coverage on both in-patient and out-patient services, Advantage plans typically cover some prescription drugs as well. That is why these plans are sometimes referred as Medicare Part C. They combine Medicare Part A, B and often Part D coverage.

Since MA plans have been available, they have become a popular alternative to Original Medicare. In 2010 alone, approximately 25 percent of all Medicare beneficiaries were enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans. From an initial enrollment of 5.3 million, the enrollees have more than doubled and the numbers are still increasing every year. Medicare Advantage plans have paved the way for beneficiaries to expand on traditional Medicare benefits – and this spans several layers here.