Medicare Part A and Part B, although quite encompassing, have out-of-pocket costs that you still have to pay for — that is if you don’t have the right Medicare Supplement Insurance plan.
Medigap is a Medicare Supplement Insurance that helps fill “gaps” in Original Medicare and is sold by private companies. Original Medicare pays for much, but not all, of the cost for covered health care services and supplies. A Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) policy can help pay some of the remaining health care costs, such as:
Medicare Supplement Features
The primary difference between the Medigap and Medicare Advantage plans come at a different cost. Generally speaking, Medigap plans have higher premiums than Medicare Advantage plans. However, Medicare Advantage plans often cover fewer expenses than Medigap — potentially resulting in more out-of-pocket expenses.
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Every Medigap policy must follow federal and state laws designed to protect you, and it must be clearly identified as “Medicare Supplement Insurance.” Insurance companies can sell you only a “standardized” policy identified in most states by letters. All policies offer the same basic benefits but some offer additional benefits, so you can choose which one meets your needs.
There are 10 Different Medicare Supplement Insurance plans that are denoted by Plans A through N. Each Medicare Supplement insurance plan offers a different level of coverage, but each lettered plan must include the same standardized basic benefits regardless of insurance company and location. Medicare Supplement insurance plans do not have to cover vision, dental, long-term care, or hearing aids, but all plans must cover at least a portion of the following basic benefits:
Why is it so important to shop for your Medicare Supplement Insurance? Although the plans are standardized, insurance companies can charge different premiums for the exact same Medigap plan and coverage tier. That is why shopping for a policy is so important. There are also different ways carriers calculate premiums now and going forward.
The best time to enroll in a Medigap policy is during your 6-month Medigap Open Enrollment Period. This begins when you start the month you turn age 65 AND enroll in Part B. To be eligible for a Medigap plan you must be enrolled in parts A & B.
If you chose to enroll at this time, you have a guaranteed-issue right to join any Medicare Supplement insurance without having to answer any medical questions and you may not be denied based on pre-existing medical conditions****.
If you miss this enrollment period and attempt to enroll in the future, you may be denied basic benefits or charged a higher premium based on your medical history.