Avera Medical Minute: The importance of a Medicare Supplement Plan

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KSFY) - For more than 20 years, Avera Health Plans has offered Medicare Supplement Plans for those who are already on Medicare.

For one Sioux Falls couple, it has helped them feel more secure and even save money.

Darlene Bartscher and her husband Dick have been married for 55 years. Now that they're retired, they spend most days keeping up with their grandchildren. But, healthcare is always in the back of their minds.

"We have been with a large national Medicare company with our Medicare supplements since we've been on it, which has been years now," she said. "The last couple of years we have just found that it has gone up quite a bit in price and I liked Avera health plans website. It answered all my questions at the time."

In the last few years, Darlene has received both a knee and hip replacement, all covered through Medicare Supplement Plans through Avera.

"Since we've been on it, we haven't had to pay any of our personal money into it. It's covered everything that we've been to the doctor," she said.

Every Medicare Supplement Plan is the same, but it's the personal touch that convinced the Bartschers to choose Avera.

"It was very simple. We met with Pam, and she was very good with helping us through it," Bartscher said. "Walking us through it. She did all the paperwork, assured us, answered all our questions, assured us that we had the same coverage, the same benefits. And with considerable savings of about $1,000 a year we get, we ended up figuring out."

Pamela Skals is an Avera Insurance sales associate. She's been working with Avera Health Plans for more than 20 years.

"Medicare supplements are designed to pick up where Medicare leaves off," she said.

Skals says having a supplement plan is extremely important.

"If somebody doesn't have a Medicare supplement and they get sick, Medicare A and B will pay, but they have deductibles and they have a 20% co-insurance of an unlimited amount," she said. "That's the scary part to me is the unknown amounts that you could be stuck paying."

With just a few clicks on Avera's website, you can contact an agent or even look at all the different plans.

"I was able to get all that information, everything I wanted to know that day on the website, and it was very simple and very easy especially for older people like me," Bartscher said.

Now, Darlene is sharing her experience with Avera Health Plans with others.

"I would recommend it definitely to anybody that would be interested in, even the new beginners, those that are just starting on Medicare," she said. I don't know why we didn't do it at first. I don't know."

Open enrollment for an Avera Medicare Supplement Plan runs from now until January 15th.

For more information, you can visit avera.org or call 1-877-My-Avera.