Information on Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap)
A Medicare Supplement policy is health insurance sold by private health insurance companies, it is designed to fill in the "gaps" between what the original Medicare plans cover and what the beneficiary is responsible for paying, such as co-payments, coinsurance and deductibles. Every Medigap policy is identified by letters A through N, and they must offer the same basic benefits, no matter which insurance company is selling it. Cost is usually the only difference between insurance companies. Medigap policies are standardized in most states, expect Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, Medigap policies are standardized in different ways. Medicare Supplement insurance is not the same thing as a Medicare Advantage Plan and it is not funded at all by Medicare.
As stated above, Medigap policies fill in the "gaps" of a Medicare supplement policy, below are some examples of what this type of insurance will cover.
- Medicare Part A and Part B Coninsurance
- Hospice care and skilled nursing facility coinsurance
- Medicare Part A and Part B deductibles
- Part B excess charge
- Foreign travel emergency
- Medicare preventive care Part B Coinsurance
Please keep in mind, not all of these benefits are covered under every plan, click here to see the Medigap Plan Chart to see what plan covers what benefits.
Medicare supplement insurance does not cover the following:
- Long-term care
- Vision and dental care
- Hearing Aides
- Private-duty nursing
Some things to keep in mind if you want to buy a Medigap Policy:
- You must have Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B to purchase a Medigap Policy
- Some Plans are no longer available, such as Plans E, H, I, and J
- Medigap policies only cover one person, couples will have to purchase two separate policies
- You can purchase a Medicare supplement policy from any licensed insurance company in your state that sells them
- Medicare supplement policies are guaranteed renewable even if you have health problems.
- Medigap policies no longer include prescription drug coverage (see Medicare Part D for prescription drug coverage information)
- The best time to purchase a Medicare supplement policy is during open enrollment. This is the period that begins the first day of the month in which you are both 65 and older and enrolled in Medicare Part B, this period lasts for 6 months. During this period the insurance companies cannot use medical underwriting.
This information came from The 2010 Choosing a Medigap Policy: A Guide to Health Insurance for People with Medicare. Visit this guide for complete information on the Plans, your complete rights to buy a policy and how to buy a Medigap Policy. This is a very useful guide!