Helping Your Parent Sign Up for Medicare? A Supplemental Plan May Be the Way to go

Posted on: 31 March 2021

If you are the adult son or daughter of a Medicare-aged adult, they may be turning to you for some help on what plan to choose. There are several reasons why helping them to sign up for Medicare supplement plans may be the best way to go, however, there are a few things you should consider before making that choice. Before talking about that though, learn a bit more on supplemental plans here. 

Medicare supplemental plans are purchased in addition to original Medicare. They are called supplemental because they offer additional coverage where original Medicare sometimes falls short. Medicare covers 80% of an individual's medical needs, with deductibles on top of that. Here are a few things to think about when considering whether a supplemental plan will be the best way to go for your parent.

Medical Needs

The three main choices for Medicare beneficiaries are A) Original Medicare alone B) an Advantage Plan, or C) a Supplemental Plan. The first two options are extremely useful for people who are in good enough health that they do not need to see their physicians frequently. If someone has a chronic condition or has been struggling with poor health, they may end up paying a lot of money in copays or their 20% responsibility. If your parent has a lot of health challenges, they will likely save money overall by paying instead for a supplemental plan and then having their medical needs completely covered. 

Medical Wants

In addition to just having medical needs, your parent may also have some medical wants that they would enjoy being covered. For example, do they enjoy traveling abroad? Wouldn't it be nice for them to have some medical coverage while they are in a foreign country? Some supplemental plans offer more coverage than just what is absolutely necessary. 


Supplemental plans are a different expense than advantage plans. For example, they may be a bit more upfront every month in the premium, but they may actually save you money on your medical costs overall. Instead of a huge bill once or twice a year, you will be paying your normal premium monthly and then all of your other needs will be covered. 

After thinking about your parent's medical needs and financial situation, you will likely be able to access if a supplemental plan will best suit their needs. Medical insurance companies can provide you with more information on Medicare supplement plans.