Original Medicare pays for much, but not all, of the cost for health care services and supplies. Medicare Supplement Insurance policies, sold by private companies, can help pay some of the remaining health care costs, like copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles. Medicare Supplement Insurance policies are also called Medigap policies.
Some Medigap policies also offer coverage for services that Original Medicare doesn’t cover, like medical care when you travel outside the U.S. Generally, Medigap policies don’t cover long-term care (like care in a nursing home), vision or dental care, hearing aids, eyeglasses, or private-duty nursing.
Every Medigap policy must follow federal and state laws designed to protect you, and they must be clearly identified as “Medicare Supplement Insurance.” Insurance companies can sell you only a “standardized” policy identified in most states by letters A through D, F through G, and K through N. All policies offer the same basic benefits, but some offer additional benefits so you can choose which one meets your needs. (p.69 Medicare & You 2019)
How do Medigap plans compare?
Important Notes on When to Buy Medicare Supplement Plans
■ The best time to buy a Medigap policy is during your Medigap 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. (Some states have additional Open Enrollment Periods.) After this enrollment period, you may not be able to buy a Medigap policy. If you’re able to buy one, it may cost more.
■ If you delay enrolling in Part B because you have group health coverage based on your (or your spouse’s) current employment, your Medigap Open Enrollment Period won’t start until you sign up for Part B.
■ Federal law generally doesn’t require insurance companies to sell Medigap policies to people under 65. If you’re under 65, you might not be able to buy the Medigap policy you want, or any Medigap policy, until you turn 65. However, some states require Medigap insurance companies to sell Medigap policies to people under 65. If you’re able to buy one, it may cost more. (p.71 Medicare & You 2019)
Want to see if a Medigap plan is right for you? Schedule your Medicare Education with one of our licensed agents today!