Is Your Insurance Enough?

It would be nice to think that the main reason people are saddled with expensive medical bills is because they don’t have an insurance. Obviously, that’s not nice for them at all, but in an ideal world, the mere act of giving people health insurance would be enough to ensure they never have to worry about outrageous medical debt ever again. Unfortunately, that’s not the way things work right now in America.

Admittedly, some states have it better than others. The majority of states expanded Medicaid under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as ACA or even Obamacare, since the law was signed by President Barack Obama in 2010. Texas, however, is not one of those states. Texas also has one of, if not the highest, rate of uninsured people in the country. Unfortunately, health care is still often a case of the haves and the have nots, and many people in Texas fall into the latter group.

Medicare, however, is a different case. Over three million residents of Texas have Medicare. While polls show Medicare recipients are generally pretty happy with their coverage, it still has some gaps. That’s where Medicare supplement plans enter the equation. As an example, let’s say Sam lives in Dallas, where nearly nine percent of the population consists of senior citizens who are eligible for Medicare. Sam has Medicare and is grateful for it, but it doesn’t quite cover everything. So Sam looks at options like Medicare Plan F. Plan F is popular because it covers excess charges, which are defined as situations where doctors charge more than the Center for Medicare and Medicaid, or CMS, says they should. Medicare Plan G is slightly cheaper than Plan F, although it covers many of the same things.

If Sam wants a more basic plan, he could try Medicare Plan A or Plan B. Or he could try Plan K or L if he doesn’t mind trading in more cost-sharing for possibly lower rates.

You don’t have to pick a plan with a company you’ve never heard of, either. Plenty of well-known companies offer Medicare Supplement plans. Mutual of Omaha and Aetna are just two of the options available to Sam in Texas.

People often hear about the uninsured, but it turns out that being underinsured can be just as big of a problem. If you’re worried that your insurance won’t cover much, it’s easy to delay visits to the doctor, or just skip them entirely. Many people swear by supplements, and supplements can do some good depending on which kind you pick, but they’re no substitute for regular medical care. If a friend tells you they don’t need to go to the doctor because they have a special tea/energy drink/pill, then it’s fair to wonder if something else is going on behind the scenes.

Some politicians have proposed a system that would allow anyone of any age to buy into Medicare, but such legislation shows no signs of actually becoming law anytime soon. In the meantime, we’re left with the imperfect, patchwork healthcare system we have now. Luckily, if you’re on Medicare, you’re better off than a lot of people .You may still need to look into supplemental coverage, but with the wide array of choices available, you shouldn’t have too much trouble finding a plan that works for you.

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