Understanding Medigap Insurance
Medigap insurance (also known as Medicare Supplement Insurance) can help cover some of the out-of-pocket costs that Original Medicare leaves behind.
Medigap insurance plans are sold by private insurers and work alongside your Original Medicare coverage. In fact, you must be enrolled in Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Part B) to be eligible for Medigap insurance.
Why Choose a Medigap Plan?
Some of the out-of-pocket health care costs that Medigap insurance can help cover may include:
Medigap can help cover your Medicare Part A coinsurance for inpatient hospital stays that last longer than 60 days. All Medigap insurance plans also cover Medicare Part B coinsurance to a varying degree, which is typically a 20 percent charge for all Medicare-approved costs of services after your Medicare Part B deductible has been met.
- Excess charges
Some health care providers may charge more for services than Medicare will pay, leaving the “excess charges” to the beneficiary. Medigap plans can help cover Medicare Part B excess charges.
Some Medigap insurance plans will pay your Medicare Part A deductible, which is $1,364 per benefit period in 2019. Some plans also cover the Medicare Part B deductible, which is $185 per year in 2019.
- Hospice care costs
Medigap insurance plans can help cover the coinsurance costs related to Part A hospice care.
- Coinsurance for skilled nursing facility care
Nursing care can be expensive, but some Medigap policies can help cover the out-of-pocket costs associated with these medical services.
Use the chart below to compare the basic benefits of each type of Medigap insurance plan.
Buying a Medigap Insurance Plan
Thinking about purchasing a Medigap insurance policy? Here’s a list of additional details to consider:
- Medigap insurance plans require a monthly premium that is in addition to your Medicare Part B premium.
- Spouses need to purchase separate Medicare Supplement Insurance plans.
- The federal government standardizes the basic benefits of Medigap insurance plans. For example, a Medigap Plan A policy will include the same basic benefits from one insurer to the other, no matter where it is sold.
- Even if a health issue arises, you’ll be able to renew your Medigap insurance policy as long as you continue to pay your monthly premiums on time.
- You cannot have a Medicare Advantage plan and a Medicare Supplement Insurance plan at the same time.
- You need Medicare Part A and Part B in order to buy a Medigap plan.
The earliest — and best — time to purchase a Medigap insurance plan is during your Medigap open enrollment period. Your Medigap open enrollment period starts as soon as you are at least age 65 and are enrolled in Medicare Part B. Your open enrollment period only lasts for six months.