Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) can be purchased to work with Original Medicare coverage (Part A and Part B). Medicare Supplement Insurance plans help pay certain out-of-pocket expenses that aren’t covered by Original Medicare such as deductibles, copayments and coinsurance costs.
What Is Medicare Supplement Insurance?
Medicare Supplement Insurance plans are sold by private insurance companies to beneficiaries who want to supplement their Original Medicare benefits.
Medigap plans help fill in the cost “gaps” that can be left by Original Medicare coverage. These costs can include the following Medicare-related expenses:
- Medicare Part A coinsurance and hospital costs
- Medicare Part B coinsurance or copayment
- Blood (first three pints)
- Part A hospice care coinsurance or copayments
- Part A deductible
- Part B deductible
- Part B excess charges
- Skilled nursing facility care coinsurance
- Foreign travel emergency care
The first four basic benefits listed above are covered (at least in part) by each type of Medigap plan. The remaining five basic benefits may or may not be included, depending on which type of plan you choose.
With some cost-sharing Medicare Supplement Insurance plans, coverage of these basic benefits may only be partial.
10 Standardized Medigap Plans
The chart below outlines the basic benefits included in each type of Medicare Supplement Insurance plan.
There are 10 Medigap plans available for purchase in most states: Plan A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M and N. Each type of plan is labeled by a different letter, and each offers a different variation of basic health care coverage.
Plans are standardized, and insurance carriers are required to offer the same basic benefits for same-lettered policies. This means that one insurer’s Plan G will offer the same basic benefits as another company’s Plan G option. Costs and additional benefits will vary based on the insurance company, but the basic benefits covered by each are the same.
NOTE: In Massachusetts, Minnesota and Wisconsin, plans are standardized differently. Contact your State Insurance Department to learn about Medigap policies in your area.
How Is Medicare Supplement Insurance Different From Medicare Advantage?
Medicare Supplement Insurance is different from Medicare Advantage plans. Medicare Advantage plans can be bought from a private insurance company as an alternative to Original Medicare. Medicare Advantage plans must include the same benefits as Part A and Part B, but may include others. The benefits included in a Medicare Advantage plan and the cost of the policy will vary based on the private insurance company providing coverage.
Medigap plans supplement your Original Medicare benefits to extend your coverage. You cannot purchase a Medicare Supplement Insurance plan if you are already enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan. If you would like to disenroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, you should contact your insurance provider.