Alliant Health Insurance

Senior Health Insurance 101

getquoteWhen someone turns age 65 in the United States, they are typically eligible to enroll in Medicare. Medicare is a federally sponsored health insurance program for seniors age 65 and older, or for individuals under age 65 that have certain qualifying disabilities (i.e., end stage renal failure). Individuals must have entered the United States legally and have lived here for at least five years
in order to be eligible for Medicare.

Medicare has two primary parts; Part A – Hospital Insurance and Part B – Medical Insurance for doctor visits, outpatient surgery and certain preventative care.

  • Part A - Most individuals don’t have to pay a premium for Medicare Part A because they or their spouse paid Medicare taxes during their working years. If someone has not paid into the Medicare system and they meet the residency requirements, they may be able to enroll in Part A but will be required to pay a premium.
  • Part B – Most individuals pay a monthly premium for Part B. In 2009 the standard Medicare Part B monthly premium is $96.40.
  • Part C (also known as Medicare Advantage plans) - Plans that provide both Part A and Part B as well as Part D coverage for prescription drugs. Part C/Medicare Advantage Plans generally cover additional services and are offered by private insurance companies approved by Medicare. The pricing and benefits of Part C/Medicare Advantage Plans varies. Part C or Medicare Advantage plans can be offered through a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO), or Preferred Provider Organization (PPO).
  • Part D – is a program that provides seniors and those eligible for Medicare with help paying for prescription drug coverage. This program became available through the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003. Unlike Part A and B, Part D is not provided through the Federal Government but offered by private insurance companies.

What is senior health insurance? Senior Health Insurance is often times referred to as Medicare Supplements or a Medigap Policy. They are insurance plans sold by private insurance companies designed to fill in the gaps not covered by Medicare Part A and B.

Why purchase senior health insurance? There is no requirement for individuals to purchase a Medicare Supplement (Medigap Policy), but without the coverage seniors face higher out-of-pocket exposure for medical services. With a supplemental policy, individuals pay a monthly premium and the private insurance company covers many of the gaps not covered by standard Medicare.

What types of Medicare Supplements (Medigap Policy) are there? Insurance companies offer a standardized Medicare (Medigap) Policy. There are 12 different Medicare Supplements (Medigap Policies) that must have the same benefits so individuals can compare them easily. The 12 plans are A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, and L. Each plan provides a different level of benefits so individuals can select what fits their unique needs best.

What are the prices for Medicare Supplements (Medigap Policy), Medicare Advantage (Part C) and Part D plans? Medicare Parts A and B are provided through the Federal Government. All of the other plans are sold by private insurance companies and prices vary based on benefits and by insurance company. It’s easy to request a quote online by inputting your information on this website, or you can call us to speak with one of our representatives.