What is a Medicare Supplement Plan?
A Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan, also called Medigap, is health insurance you can buy from a private insurance company to pay for gaps in coverage from Original Medicare (Parts A and B). Medigap plans pay for things like co-payments, deductibles and coinsurance, with some plans also paying for health care if you travel outside of the United States. Medigap policies don’t cover long-term care, dental, vision, eyeglasses and hearing aids. In addition, most do not cover prescription drugs but you can buy a Medicare Part D Prescription Drug plan to take care of those needs.
In most states, there are 8 different standard Medigap plans from which to choose. That means there is no difference in the benefits offered between insurers. The only difference between plans tends to be the cost of the monthly premium. Standard Medigap plans are labeled A through N and offer different levels of health coverage. Note that standard Medigap policies are different in Massachusetts, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
What types of benefits are included in a Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan?
Each of the 8 Medigap plans provide a different level of benefits, but all plans must cover at least a portion of the following basic benefits:
- Medicare Part A coinsurance costs up to an additional
365 days after Medicare benefits are exhausted
- Medicare Part B hospice care coinsurance and
- Medicare Part B coinsurance or copayments
- First three pints of blood used in a medical procedure
Some Medicare Supplement plans include additional basic benefits, such as Plan F, which is the most comprehensive standardized Medigap insurance plan available.
Another important feature of a Medigap plan is that you can see any doctor that accepts Medicare, whether the doctor accepts assignment Medicare or not. If you doctor accepts assignment, this means they agree to be paid the Medicare approved amount for the care you received and your Medigap insurance company will usually pay the doctor directly. If you doctor does not accept Medicare assignment and still accepts Medicare, you may have to send the claims to your insurance company and pay the doctor yourself.
When can I enroll in a Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan?
A Medigap policy is only available to people who already have Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) and Medicare Part B (doctor expenses). The best time to enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan is six months from the first day of the month of your 65th birthday, as long as you are also signed up for Medicare Part B, or within six months of first becoming eligible for Medicare Part B. During this time, you can buy any Medigap policy and you are guaranteed coverage regardless of your health or any pre-existing conditions you may have. If you try to buy a Medigap policy outside this window, there is no guarantee that you’ll be able to get coverage and if you do get covered, your rates might be higher. A Medigap policy covers only one person so if you and your spouse both want a Medigap policy, you will need to each buy your own plan.
Our licensed sales agents are equipped to help you determine what Medicare plans are available in your area and want to help you receive all the available benefits you deserve. The Medicare Helpline is ready to talk with you about Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans – just call or complete the online form today!
What does a Medicare Supplement Plan cost?
You will pay a monthly premium to the insurance company in addition to your Medicare Part B premium if you enroll in a Medigap plan. The cost of your plan will depend on a number of factors, such as the type of plan you buy, the insurance company, your location and your age. It’s important to note that a standardized Medigap policy is guaranteed renewable, even if you have health problems as long as you pay your premiums on time.
Premiums vary among insurance companies, but the benefits of each standard Medigap plan are always the same. For instance, a Medigap Plan G policy offers the same benefits no matter which company you buy it from.
Medicare Helpline Can Help You Find the Right Medicare Supplement Plan
The Medicare Helpline is here to help! Our licensed sales agents are here for you and they know Medicare inside and out. We will provide side-by-side comparisons to help make it easy for you to decide which plan is right for you. Get started by entering your zip code below: