Many people are unsure how Medigap plans work in conjunction with original Medicare and there are certainly a few myths that have been created as a result. Medigap, also known as Medicare Supplement, helps Medicare beneficiaries pay the extra twenty percent of copays that original Medicare doesn’t cover. Medigap plans are offered throughout the country by many different insurance carriers. Here are five Medigap myths that you don’t want to fall for.
Myth #1: Medicare Advantage Plans fall under the umbrella of Medicare Supplements.
Fact: Although many people consider both these types of plans when choosing coverage, Advantage plans and Supplement plans are completely different. Medicare Advantage plans offer additional coverage to original Medicare. This coverage could be for things like vision, hearing, or even a gym membership. Medicare Advantage beneficiaries still pay a share of copays, just like original Medicare beneficiaries. Medicare Supplement beneficiaries, on the other hand, do not pay a share of the copay for Medicare approved service and treatment. In fact, Medicare Supplement plans were introduced for that very reason. Medicare Supplement, or Medigap, does not add any benefits beyond original Medicare. It does, however, cover the extra twenty percent of copays that remains after the original Medicare discount.
Myth #2: Like other Medicare plans, you can only change Medigap plans during the annual enrollment period.
Fact: Many people are fooled by this myth because it seems very believable. There are only certain times when Medicare enrollees can select or drop Advantage or Prescription Drug plans, so wouldn’t it make sense that Medigap plans are the same way. In reality, Medigap plans do not have this same constraint. A Medigap beneficiary may change their coverage at any time for any reason during the year. However, it is important to note that there are specific periods of time where you can avoid answering medical questions that could exclude you from a Medigap plan. Open enrollment is the most known of these time periods and it occurs in the six month span after you turn sixty five and receive part B of Medicare. There are also “guaranteed issue” periods that come into play after specific events, like losing coverage from an employer or moving to another state. You can still change Medigap coverage at any point in time during the year, but if you are looking to avoid answering any medical questions, stick to open enrollment.
Myth #3: With Medigap, you can only visit doctors within your plan.
Fact: This is yet another myth where people are getting Medicare Advantage rules mixed up with Medigap. Medigap plans do not require you to use a specific network of doctors, unlike some Medicare Advantage plans. Medigap plans will cover any service that original Medicare covers. That means anywhere your eighty percent original Medicare discount kicks in, so does your Medigap plan. Medigap is good anywhere Medicare is accepted.
Myth #4: A more expensive Medigap plan will save you money in the long run.
Fact: There is somewhat of a grey area in the myth. It is true that spending the extra money on a Medigap plan versus staying with original Medicare will most likely save you money in the long run due to increasing copays. It’s not always true, however, that a more expensive Medigap plan will save you money over a less expensive one in the long run. Plan F is commonly the most expensive plan because it offers the highest amount of coverage. As copays rise, Plan F will cover the most in terms of how many different copays it will cover. What most people might not realize is that those copays could be potentially less than the money saved over choosing Medigap plans with less expensive monthly premiums. If you are looking to save the most money over the long run, choose a Medigap plan that covers what you need and not what you don’t. That way you won’t have to pay extra every month for coverage you may use very rarely or maybe not at all.
Myth #5: You should only buy a Medigap policy from the largest and most trusted providers to make sure all your claims get paid.
Fact: Medigap plans are standardized, so that means there will be no difference in what is covered, how much is covered, and when you receive coverage regardless of who provides your Medigap coverage. A Medigap Plan A will perform exactly the same no matter what insurance company offers it. Prices, on the other hand, are not standardized, so don’t be afraid to search for the lowest price. The cheapest Medigap Plan C will offer the exact same coverage as the most expensive Medigap Plan C.
These five are just a few of the many Medigap myths. Like many others, you will most likely still have questions. That’s where our licensed Medicare experts come in. Our Medicare experts know all the myths and can explain them in simple terms so that you can make the best decision for yourself. If you are looking to enroll in a Medigap plan or any other Medicare plan, give us a call at 1-877-614-2333 to speak with a Medicare expert to get the information you need to make a smart decision.