Medicare Supplement Plans
Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) policies are a type of private insurance designed to help pay some of your out-of-pocket costs (like coinsurance and deductibles) in Original Medicare. You buy them from private insurance companies, and they aren’t part of Medicare. Medicare Supplement policies may also offer benefits not covered by Original Medicare (like emergency health care outside of the U.S.). You need both Part A and Part B to buy a Medicare Supplement policy.
If you have Original Medicare and you buy a Medicare Supplement policy, Medicare will pay its share of the Medicare-approved amount for covered health care costs. Then, your Medicare Supplement policy pays its share.
Different types of Medicare Supplement policies, which are identified by letter in most states, must all have standardized benefits. This means that you can easily compare Plan A sold by one insurance company with a Plan A sold by another. Medicare Supplement policies sold today don’t cover long-term care, vision and dental care, private-duty nursing, or prescription drug coverage. All policies may not be available in every state.
Even though Medicare Supplement policy benefits are standardized, costs vary depending on the company you buy from and where you live. You’ll pay a monthly premium directly to the private insurance company you bought the policy from, in addition to your Part B premium. It’s important to compare Medicare Supplement policies since the costs can vary and may go up as you get older. Different insurance companies may charge different premiums for the same exact policy.
The best time to buy a Medicare Supplement policy is during your Open Enrollment Period. This 6-month period begins on the first day of the month in which you’re 65 or older and enrolled in Part B.
After this enrollment period, your option to buy a Medicare Supplement may be limited and it may cost more.