Sunday, December 18, 2011

Are You Penny-Wise, Pound-Foolish When It Comes to Deciding on Medicare Supplement Insurance?

How not purchasing a Medigap Plan can can be a penny-wise, pound-foolish decision.
What does this expression from three centuries ago mean?
Does it still relate to modern life?
How can you apply it when considering your Medicare Supplement Insurance options?
The definition of penny-wise is: unwise thrift.
The whole proverb is: Penny wise-and pound foolish, like the man who lost his horse from his penny wisdom in saving the expense of shoeing it a fresh when one of its shoes was loose.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
There is no doubt about it. Times are tough right now.Really tough and looking like they're going to get even tougher. Times are especially tough if you are over 65 and living on a fixed income.
If part of your income is dependent on interest from investments, you may be living on reduced income due to low interest rates.
If you depend on Social Security for all or part of your income, the lack of COLA increases for two years in a row reads like loss of income.
Rises in costs for must have items like food, fuel, utilities and insurance don't stop or slow because you didn't get a raise in your SS this year.
These are harsh realities. When you are facing reduced income and rising prices the natural and proper impulse is to cut back on non-essentials.
We try to trim spending where we can.
A dangerous trend is emerging. The tendency to view Medicare Supplement Insurance as a non-essential expense.
The cost of Medical care increases 6%-10% per year and that train is NOT slowing down. Just imagine 20% of all outpatient medical costs for even a common procedure like a knee replacement. The average total cost for a total knee is 45K-70K. Part A will cover your room and board for a semi-private room after a $1132 deductible.
Your surgery fees,doctor visits, cane, walker, commode, therapy visits and more are all subject to the 80/20 co-insurance under Medicare Part B.
Let's crunch some numbers.
The average cost for day of room, board and care in a hospital is $4,350.The average hospital stay for the surgery is 3-5 days. Let's use 4 days for our figures. $4,350X 4 days is $17,400. That is your Part A expenses. Medicare will cover all of it after you pay an $1132 deductible.We will subtract the $1132 from the $17,400 to give us a total of $16,268 that is covered by Medicare Part A.
Let's say you shop well and you find yourself on the mid range cost wise for the surgery. Let's use $55,000. If we subtract the $16,268 that Medicare Part A covered from the total cost of $55,000 we are left with $38,472 in Part A deductible and Part B expenses and at least 20% of that will be yours. If you consider that you will pay the deductibles right off the bat $1132+$162=$1294 you are left exposed for 20% of $37,178 or $7435.60. Almost $7500 in bills that are yours and yours alone.
The cost of a quality Medigap plan that will cover the Medicare deductibles and co-insurance can cost as little as $100 per month.
When you really take a hard look at your potential exposure for a common procedure you may find yourself wondering,"Am I being penny-wise, pound foolish when it comes to Medicare Supplement Insurance? Can I afford to be?"
Stephanie Coutavas is an Insurance Professional specializing in Senior Insurance Solutions and Medicare Insurance. Co- founder and Senior Broker at Stephanie decided to specialize in Medicare because, "I saw the effects of the confusion and misinformation in the senior market. I really feel that with the proper,correct information, presented in an understandable way that our Seniors can position themselves for the future and achieve the peace of mind and security that they deserve at this exciting stage of life. We strive one client at a time to make sure that we address the individual and that they are better for having met us, regardless of whether they choose us as their broker."
Whether you are receiving Medicare Benefits before age 65, helping a parent or loved one or just not sure if there might be a better value for your health care $$$, we can help. Call us at 1-888-347-5552 to speak with a licensed Medicare Supplement Specialist or visit us at We are your Medicare Supplement experts and we are standing by to help.

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