Original Medicare is a health care program for seniors that is managed by the federal government. Original Medicare provides coverage for a wide range of medical services, but leaves some out-of-pocket costs to the recipient. Medicare Supplement Insurance plans help cover some of these costs. Compare all 10 standardized plans below.
Original Medicare Coverage
Original Medicare consists of Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B.
Medicare Part A covers:
- Hospital care
- Skilled nursing family care
- Nursing home care
- Home health services
- Hospice care
Medicare Part B covers:
- Services to prevent or detect an illness or a condition at an early stage
- Services and supplies needed to diagnose or treat an illness or condition that meet accepted standards of medical practice
There are 10 standardized Medigap plans that are sold by private insurance companies to help fill in some of the gaps in Original Medicare coverage.
All 10 standardized Medigap plans offer the following basic benefits:
- Medicare Part A coinsurance for hospital care
- Medicare Part A coinsurance or copayment for hospice care
- Medicare Part B coinsurance or copayment
- First three pints of blood for transfusion
The chart below enables you to compare Medicare Supplement Insurance plans side by side.
Keep in Mind:
- Because Medigap plans are standardized, you can expect the same basic benefits no matter where you live. For example, Medigap Plan F sold by a company in one state will have the same basic benefits as Plan F sold by a different company in another state.
- The price you pay for a Medigap plan can vary greatly, even though the plans provide the same basic benefits. That is why it is important to shop around for the Medigap plan that has the benefits you want at the best available price.
- If you’re covered by Original Medicare and you buy a Medigap policy, Original Medicare will pay its approved share of costs and Medigap then pays its share. As long as you’re paying your Medigap premium, an insurance company is required to renew your policy regardless of any health issues.
- Medigap policies sold after January 1, 2006 don’t cover prescription drugs. Medigap also doesn’t cover dental, vision and long-term care.
- Your first opportunity to buy a Medigap policy is during your six-month Medigap open enrollment period. That period starts when you are both 65 years old and enrolled in Medicare Part B. During this enrollment period, insurance companies can’t deny you Medigap coverage, and premiums can’t be increased because of health issues.
Shop carefully for the Medigap plan that most specifically meets your needs. For many people, keeping their current health care providers is an important consideration. You are allowed to keep your current providers as long as they accept Medicare.
If you are shopping for Medigap, you don’t have to do it alone. A licensed insurance agent can answer your questions and help you review all of your options.