What is a Medicare Supplement?
Medicare supplements assist in paying for some health care costs that Original Medicare doesn’t cover. Medicare supplement insurance, also referred to as Medigap, are policies sold by private companies. The policies help with costs like copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles.
Medigap plans are different from Medicare Advantage Plans, which serve as a method of receiving Medicare benefits. Medigap plans, on the other hand, serve as a way to add coverage to your Original Medicare benefits (Parts A and B).
Each supplement insurance plan comes with different benefits. However, each lettered plan guarantees certain standardized benefits regardless of your location or the insurance company offering it. For example, Medicare Supplement Plan F must offer the same standard benefits wherever you may purchase your plan. The 3 most popular plans are Plan F, Plan G, and Plan N.
Medicare Supplement Basics:
- If you are purchasing Medicare Supplement insurance, here are some basic points to know about your policy:
- In order to purchase a Medicare supplement, you must enroll in Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B.
- The monthly premium that you will pay for your Medigap policy will be in addition to the monthly Part B premium that you pay for Medicare.
- Medigap plans are available for purchase from any insurance company licensed to sell in your state.
- A Medigap plan covers a single person. If you and your spouse both need Medigap coverage, you will each have to buy your own policy.
- If you already have a Medicare Advantage Plan, you cannot purchase a Medigap policy. This is only an option in the event that you are switching to Original Medicare coverage.
- In the past, some Medigap plans covered prescription drugs. Since 2006, this is no longer allowed. If you would like prescription drug coverage you must join a Medicare Part D Plan.
Basic Benefits That All Plans Must Cover:
At the very least, all Medicare Supplement insurance plans cover at least 50 percent of the following benefits:
- Medicare Part A coinsurance costs up to an additional 365 days after exhausting Medicare benefits.
- Medicare Part A hospice care coinsurance or copayments.
- Medicare Part B coinsurance or copayments.
- The first 3 pints of blood used in a medical procedure.
In some cases, your supplement plan may cover up to 100 percent of these basic benefits. Different plans offer differing coverage amounts.
Understand Your Plan’s Additional Benefits:
Understanding a Medicare Supplement plan’s additional benefits is crucial when it comes to deciding which plan is best for you. For example, Medigap Plan F, which is the most popular supplement plan, offers coverage of several additional benefits:
- Medicare Part A deductible
- Medicare Part B deductible
- Part B excess charges
- Part B preventive care coinsurance
- Skilled Nursing Facility care coinsurance
- Foreign travel emergency care
It is important to note that Medicare does not cover any of your supplement insurance plan costs.
You must purchase your Medicare Supplement from a private insurance provider. Insurance companies may charge different premiums for the same policies, so it is beneficial to understand your available options. Additionally, your plan premium will also differ depending on the coverage that you choose.
A licensed agent can help guide you through these additional benefits. Connect directly with one of our agents to find the plan with additional benefits that best fits your needs.
Medicare Supplement Enrollment & Eligibility
The ideal time to purchase Medicare Supplement insurance occurs during the Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period (also known as Medigap Open Enrollment Period). This is a six-month period that starts on the month of your 65th birthday and extends an additional five months. During this period, you have a guaranteed right to purchase any Medicare supplement plan available to you in your state, regardless of your current health status. For more information on Medicare enrollment and eligibility click here.
If you choose not to enroll during this period, you still have the option to purchase coverage at a later time. However, the guaranteed right to purchase no longer applies. Purchasing later may subject you to higher premium charges, or possibly the denial of coverage due to your health status.
To learn more about the different Medicare supplements available, view the Medicare supplement plan comparison.
With so many supplement plans to choose from, enlisting the service of a licensed agent can ensure you pick the one that’s right for you. Connect directly with one of our trusted agents to start. Or simply give us a call!