Medicare Supplemental Insurance, is also known as “Medigap Insurance.” These policies are sold by private insurance companies and pay the 20% of healthcare costs that Medicare doesn’t cover. They are called Medigap policies, because they cover “gaps” in Medicare, like co-payments, deductibles, and coinsurance. Medicare covers many of the health care services, but the additional costs that are not covered, can be financially devastating if a serious illness occurs. People are often surprised to see that Medicare only covers about 80% of your Part B expenses. Medicare Supplements pay that 20% as well as other things. Medicare pays an approved amount for covered health care costs, and the Medicare Supplemental policy pays it’s share, depending on which plan you have.
Medicare Supplement policies work hand in hand with Original Medicare, but not with other insurance like:
Medicare Advantage plans
Medicare Supplement or Medigap policies are standardized and are identified by letters A through N. This means each plan is identified by a certain letter. If you the benefits for Plan F with one company is identical as another Plan F with a different company. All plans must follow the same federal and state laws and each plan, identified by a certain letter, must offer the same benefits. The only difference you will find is the cost you pay for the plan, depending on which insurance company you buy it from. This cost can vary considerably from one insurance company to another. Many people save hundreds of dollars a year by comparing costs.
Choose your own doctor and hospitals
No Referrals needed to see a specialists
No Complex Claims Paperwork
No Out of Pocket cost (with Plan F) for Medicare-covered services
Nationwide coverage – you can use anywhere in the United States
There are no networks with a Medicare Supplement. You will never have to worry about your doctor or hospital leaving a provider network at any time. And, you never need a referral to see a specialist. Just like Medicare, your Medicare Supplement policy covers you anywhere in the United States. You have the assurance of traveling confidently anywhere in the US, knowing you have coverage. Some Medicare Supplement plans even provide limited emergency care outside the country.
The most popular Medicare Supplement plans among baby boomers are Plan F, Plan G, or Plan N.
The Medigap Open Enrollment Period lasts for 6 months and begins on the first day of the month in which you’re both 65 or older and enrolled in Medicare Part B. During this period, you do not have to answer any health questions or go thru medical underwriting, with the insurance company, regardless of your health conditions. You cannot be denied coverage.
The best time to buy a Medigap policy is during your one-time Open Enrollment Period. For most people this time is when they turn 65. You are “guaranteed issue” into a Medigap policy during your first 6 months of Part B coverage, regardless of your health condition. This is such an important time for so many people, because if you have health conditions, this could be the only time you are approved for coverage, since you do not have to go thru underwriting or answer health questions. If you miss this time period, and have to go thru underwriting, there is a very good chance you may not be approved. Therefore, now is the time to compare rates and find the company with the best deal. It is important to remember that once your Open Enrollment period starts, it cannot be delayed or replaced.
You also have a “Guaranteed Issue Right” to buy a Medigap policy, if you have Original Medicare and an employer group health plan (including retiree or COBRA coverage) or union coverage that pays after Medicare pays and that plan is ending. You will have a “guaranteed issue right” to buy Medigap plans, A, B, C, F, K. In order to get your “guaranteed issue right”, you must buy the plan no later than 63 calendar days after your group coverage ends.