Understanding Medigap Plans
Helping you pay for some of the costs that Medicare doesn't
Medicare just continues to get better. Today, Medicare beneficiaries are covered for more preventive services than ever before. And people with prescription drug plans who reach the "doughnut hole" can take advantage of deeper discounts on brand name and generic drugs than they could in years past. And those discounts will increase until the doughnut hole is closed completely.
So while Medicare continues to offer great ways to save on health care expenses, it still doesn't cover everything. That's why Medicare Supplement, or Medigap, plans were created.
What Are Medigap Plans?
Medigap plans are insurance policies from private insurers that supplement original Medicare. In short, Medigap plans cover some of the health-related costs that original Medicare does not.
Most consumers purchase a Medigap plan to protect themselves from copayments, coinsurance, deductibles and other out-of-pocket expenses that are not covered by Medicare. Some Medigap plans even cover costs for blood, should you ever need it, or emergency health care expenses when you're traveling in a foreign country.
There are currently 14 Medigap plans from which you can choose.
Important things to note about Medigap policies:
- All Medigap policies offer exactly the same benefits/coverage, but insurers may charge different prices-be sure to shop around
- Not all plans may be available in your area
- You must have both Medicare Part A and Part B in order to buy a Medigap policy
- You must continue to pay your Part B premium
- You cannot purchase a Medigap plan if you're currently enrolled in a Medicare Advantage (Part C) plan
- A Medigap plan only covers one person; you'll need a separate policy for your spouse
- Costs for your plan may increase as you get older, so be sure you have all the facts before you buy
Which Medigap Plan is Right for Me?
That's a question only you can answer, based on your financial situation and overall health. That being said, some Medigap plans are more popular than others.
Medigap Plan F, for instance, is the most popular Medicare supplement plan in the nation. The reason is simple. Plan F currently covers more out-of-pocket Medicare expenses than any other Medigap plan. Plan C is a close second, covering most of what's covered in Plan F, except for Medicare Part B excess charges.
Other things to remember:
- Part F also comes with a high-deductible option, if you prefer
- If you live in Massachusetts, Minnesota or Wisconsin, your Medigap coverage options will be different
- You cannot be denied a Medigap policy during your Medigap Open Enrollment period, which is the six month period beginning the first month that you're covered under Part B, when you're age 65 or older
- In some states, after your Medigap Open Enrollment period is over, Medigap insurance companies don't have to sell you a policy (if you don't meet medical underwriting guidelines, for instance), or you may be charged more if you have a pre-existing condition or poor health
- Some states may offer Medicare SELECT plans which can cost less than regular Medigap policies, but require you to see only providers in a network, like you would in an HMO
How Can I Get Help Finding a Medigap Plan?
To get in touch with one of our licensed Medicare experts, call MedicareSolutions at 1-800-328-7305. Or if you'd prefer, enter your zip code at the top of the page for a free insurance quote.