What is a Medicare Supplement
or Medigap Policy
A Medicare supplement fills in the gaps of Medicare Part A and Part B; this is why it is sometimes call a Medigap policy.
A Medicare supplement is sold by private companies, and is not part of Medicare. Medicare does not pay any of the premiums for a Medicare supplement.
Medicare Supplements don't pay your Medicare premiums (such as the Part B premium), but they may cover the Original Medicare coinsurance, copayments, and deductibles. Some Medicare supplements also offer coverage for services that Original Medicare doesn't cover, like medical care when you travel outside the U.S. If you have Original Medicare and you buy a Medicare supplement, first Medicare will pay its share of the Medicare-approved amount for covered health care costs. Then your supplement will pay its share.
Every Medicare supplement must follow Federal and state laws designed to protect you and must be clearly identified a "Medicare Supplement Insurance." Supplement companies can only sell you a "standardized" Medicare supplement.
Medicare supplements must offer the same basic benefits, no matter which company sells it.
All plans offer the same basic benefits but some offer additional benefits, so you can choose which one meets your needs. In most states, standardized plans are identified by letters A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M, N. In Massachusetts, Minnesota and Wisconsin the benefits are labeled differently, but the plans are still standardized.
Below is a comparison of the Medicare supplement that are available for sale.
Please note that plans C, E, F H, I, and J are no longer for sale. If you bought one before June 1, 2010 you may keep it.
Who Is Eligible For A Medicare Supplement?
You must have Medicare Part A and Part B to be able to buy a Medicare supplement.
You are eligible buy a Medicare supplement when you turn 65 and have enrolled in Part B. During your Open Enrollment Period (OEP) is the best time to buy a Medicare supplement. During the OEP, an insurance company cannot refuse to sell you a policy or charge you more because of your health. The OEP extends from 3 months prior to birth month, the month of your birthday and 3 months after your birth month.
If you are not 65, you won't have this open enrollment period until you turn 65, but state law might give you a right to buy a policy before then.
A Medicare supplements covers only one person. Spouse must each have their own policy.
What Does A Medicare Supplement Cost?
You will be required to pay your Part B premium. You will also be required to pay a monthly premium to the private health insurance company that sells you the policy.
The premiums will be different depending on the policy that you choose and the company that sells you the policy.
Plan A will cost more than Plan F
Plan A with XYZ company may cost more than with ABC company
Therefore it's very important to compare policies.
If you buy Plan K, L, or N, you will pay part of the Part B coinsurance and copayments, which may result in lower premiums for some Medicare supplements.