After you’ve blown out 65 candles at once, it’s time to enroll in Medicare. Part A takes care of the hospital, part B takes care of the doctor, but what about everything else? According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 1 in 6 elderly Americans live below the poverty line and many more are filing for bankruptcy than ever before. Even if you are one who is still employed and are not worried about retirement, about half of American workers have less than $10,000 saved for retirement, and 29% have less than $1,000, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute.

Better Health Care With Medicare Supplement InsuranceThe fact is that retirement and aging is expensive, and nobody is adequately prepared. When individuals and couples are not prepared for their increase health care costs, their health care suffers and in turn, they don’t receive the care they need. Many retirees are forced to choose between necessary prescriptions and groceries. With a Medicare Supplement Plan, this doesn’t have to be the case.

Medicare Supplement Insurance plans or Medigap fills in the gaps of Medicare’s Part A and B coverage. Because Medicare only pays for 80 percent of doctors’ fees, this can leave a large bill that becomes the responsibility of the patient to pay. If money is tight, oftentimes health care is diminished. There are 10 different Medigap Plans to choose from and certain ones pick up that remaining 20 percent of doctor bills. Medigap policies can also pitch in to pay for the extra high costs of specialist doctors.

Medicare Supplement Insurance often increases the quality of health care because it gives you the option to see the specialist you need, receive the outpatient care necessary or participate in preventative treatments that otherwise might not be covered by Medicare and you may be unable to pay out of pocket for. These supplement plans provide a safety net so you and your loved ones can be sure you’re getting all the care you need, without having to live on pancakes and chicken broth in the process.

The first step when you reach age 65 is to enroll in Medicare Part A. Part B can wait until you’re no longer employed. Once you officially retire, you can enroll in Medicare Part B as well as a Medigap Plan. Open enrollment is the first six months when you are at least 65 and enrolled in Part B. During this enrollment period you can’t be charged higher premiums or be denied coverage due to any pre-existing health conditions.

Medicare Supplement Plans are sold from a variety of insurers from Anthem - Blue Cross Blue Shield to Humana, but the 10 Medigap policies are the same, regardless of who you purchase them from. Because the plans are standardized it eliminates the need to shop around for different benefits, although the prices might be different. So it’s important to compare premiums with your group insurance representative or independent agent to see which plan is best for you.