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What are Medicare Supplement plans
Medicare Supplement plans—also known as Medigap Insurance—help cover gaps in coverage from Medicare Part A and Part B and can save you money. If you have fairly frequent doctor or hospital visits, Medicare Parts A and B (Original Medicare) come with out-of-pocket costs. Medigap helps to fill in these gaps in basic benefits, such as deductibles, coinsurance and copayments. The monthly premium cost can vary depending on the type of medigap coverage but the premium cost is offset by lower annual out-of-pocket costs for healthcare services.
In most states, there are eight Medicare Supplement plans to choose from and all policies have been standardized. That means there is no difference in the benefits offered between insurers. The only difference between Medigap plans tends to be the cost of the monthly premium. The Medicare Supplement insurance plans are denoted by the letters A through N (plans C, E, F, H, I and J are no longer sold). Although the names of some of the Medicare Supplement plans sound familiar to the parts of Medicare, such as Part A and Part B, they are not the same as Medigap Plan A and Medigap Plan B, etc.
We can help you navigate the complexities of Medicare and there’s no obligation to enroll.
Benefits of a Medigap Plan
Each of the eight 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 copayments
- 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 G, which is the most comprehensive standardized Medigap insurance plan available.
Another important feature of a Medigap plan is that you can see any doctor accepting Medicare, whether the doctor accepts assignment Medicare or not. If your doctor accepts an 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 your 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.
Things to Consider Before Selecting the Right Medigap Plan For You
- Plans are identified by letters such as Medicare Supplement Plan A, Plan B, ending with Plan N (except in MA, MN, and WI).
- You must have Medicare Part A and B in order to buy a Medicare Supplement or Medigap policy.
- Medicare Supplement and Medicare Advantage (Part C) are different types of plans.
- You pay the private insurance company a monthly premium for your Medicare Supplement policy. This cost is in addition to the cost you pay for your Medicare Part B premium.
- A Medicare Supplement policy can only cover one individual. If you and your spouse both want Medigap coverage, you will each need a separate policy.
– The most popular Medicare Supplement plans are Plan G and Plan N.
– Plan G is considered to provide the broadest medicare supplement coverage and covers all the gaps left by Medicare Parts A and B.
– Not all plans may be available in every state.
- Any standardized Medigap policy is guaranteed to renew each year, even if you have health problems. This means the insurance company cannot cancel your Medicare Supplement policy as long as you pay the premium.
- Prescription drugs are not covered by Medicare Supplement or Medigap policies. You can buy a Medicare Prescription Drug Part D plan for your prescription medication needs.
- Medigap policies generally do not cover vision or dental care, hearing aids, eyeglasses, long-term care or private nursing.
- The best time to purchase a Medicare Supplement or Medigap policy begins on the first day of the month in which you turn 65 and have enrolled in Medicare A and B (you have to be enrolled in both Medicare A and B in order to get a Medigap plan). During this time, you can buy any Medigap policy sold in your state, even if you have health problems.
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The Cost of a Medigap Plan
If you enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan, you will pay a monthly premium to the insurance company in addition to your Medicare Part B premium. The cost of your Medigap plan depends on a number of factors, such as the type of plan you buy, the insurance company, your location and your age. Premiums vary among insurance companies, but the benefits of each standard Medigap plan is always the same. For instance, a Medigap Plan C policy offers the same benefits no matter which company you buy it from.
We can walk you step-by-step through the process and help you find an affordable option that’s right for you. Save yourself time and let us do the comparing—there’s no obligation to enroll.