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Medicare 101

What Is Medicare Supplement Insurance?

Christian Worstell

by Christian Worstell | Published February 18, 2021 | Reviewed by John Krahnert

Medicare Supplement Insurance plans (also called Medigap) are sold by private insurance companies and can help cover some of the out-of-pocket costs associated with Original Medicare. These costs can include copayments, coinsurance, deductibles and other fees. Explore the 10 standardized Medicare Supplement Insurance plans listed below and compare the benefits each plan offers.

Enrolling in Medicare Supplement Insurance

The best time to enroll in a Medicare Supplement Insurance plan is during your Medigap open enrollment period. Your open enrollment period starts as soon as you are at least age 65 or older and enrolled in Medicare Part B. Your open enrollment period lasts for six months. If you enroll during this time, you cannot be denied coverage or charged higher premiums for health reasons.

Medigap Insurance Coverage Benefits

Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) out-of-pocket health insurance costs can include, among others:

  • Medicare Part A deductible — $1,484 per benefit period in 2021
  • Medicare Part B deductible — $203 per year in 2021
  • Medicare Part B coinsurance — typically 20 percent of the Medicare-approved costs of medical services (after you meet the Part B deductible)
  • Medicare Part A coinsurance for inpatient hospital care

Each of the 10 standardized Medicare Supplement Insurance plans covers all or part of the costs for:

  • Part A coinsurance for inpatient hospital stays and hospital costs
  • Part A coinsurance or copayment for hospice care
  • Part B coinsurance or copayment
  • First three pints of blood used in a transfusion

Medicare Supplement Insurance plans are labeled by letter (such as Plan F, for example) and are standardized. This means each insurer’s Plan F will offer the same basic benefits.

To secure a Medigap plan, you’ll have to pay a monthly premium. Additionally:

  • If you have Medicare Advantage, you’ll need to leave that plan before enrolling in a Medigap plan. You may not have a Medicare Advantage plan and Medigap plan at the same time.
  • You must have both Medicare Part A and Part B to sign up for Medigap coverage
  • Medigap policies only cover one person. Your spouse would need his or her own policy.

Refer to the chart below to see a side-by-side comparison of all 10 standardized Medigap plans.

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Medicare Supplement Benefits

Part A coinsurance and hospital coverage

Part B coinsurance or copayment

Part A hospice care coinsurance or copayment

First 3 pints of blood

Skilled nursing facility coinsurance

Part A deductible

Part B deductible

Part B excess charges

Foreign travel emergency

A B C* D F1* G1 K2 L3 M N4
50% 75%
50% 75%
50% 75%
50% 75%
50% 75% 50%
80% 80% 80% 80% 80% 80%

* Plan F and Plan C are not available to Medicare beneficiaries who became eligible for Medicare on or after January 1, 2020. If you became eligible for Medicare before 2020, you may still be able to enroll in Plan F or Plan C as long as they are available in your area.

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1 Plans F and G offer high-deductible plans that each have an annual deductible of $2,370 in 2021. Once the annual deductible is met, the plan pays 100% of covered services for the rest of the year. The high-deductible Plan F is not available to new beneficiaries who became eligible for Medicare on or after January 1, 2020.

2 Plan K has an out-of-pocket yearly limit of $6,220 in 2021. After you pay the out-of-pocket yearly limit and yearly Part B deductible, it pays 100% of covered services for the rest of the calendar year.

3 Plan L has an out-of-pocket yearly limit of $3,110 in 2021. After you pay the out-of-pocket yearly limit and yearly Part B deductible, it pays 100% of covered services for the rest of the calendar year.

4 Plan N pays 100% of the Part B coinsurance, except for a copayment of up to $20 for some office visits and up to $50 copayment for emergency room visits that don’t result in an inpatient admission.

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To learn more about the many benefits of Medicare Supplement Insurance and to compare plans for free, connect with a licensed agent today by calling 1-800-995-4219.

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Compare Medigap Plans 2021

See how the 10 Medigap plans differ. Review our chart for a detailed comparison of Medicare Supplement insurance benefits and compare Medigap options where you live. Read more
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