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What is Medicare Supplement Insurance?

Health care can be expensive for seniors, even if you have Medicare. Medicare requires beneficiaries to share in the cost of services through deductibles, copayments, coinsurance and other out-of-pocket expenses. That’s why millions of Americans buy Medicare Supplement Insurance.

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Original Medicare Health Insurance Costs

As a Medicare beneficiary, you may be responsible for the following health care expenses:


Most Medicare recipients don’t have to pay a premium for Medicare Part A (hospital insurance). However, those who haven’t paid enough taxes (at least 10 years worth) while they worked may have to pay a Part A premium. These costs can be as high as $422 per month. Medicare Part B (medical insurance) is optional and requires recipients to pay a monthly premium. The average Part B premium in 2018 is $134 per month.

*Medicare Supplement Insurance doesn't help pay for premiums.


As with other forms of health insurance, Original Medicare requires that you pay a certain amount out of pocket before the insurance starts paying their share. The Medicare Part A deductible is $1,340 per benefit period (in 2018), while the Part B deductible is $183 per year.


Medicare Part B requires beneficiaries to pay 20% of all Medicare-approved costs of services. For a $1,000 doctor bill, then, Medicare would pay $800, while you would pay $200 (deductibles and other fees aside). As you can imagine, these costs can add up.


Instead of paying a percentage for a particular service, you pay a set dollar amount. Certain Part B services may require a copayment.

Medicare Supplement Insurance Helps Pay Insurance Costs

Medicare Supplement Insurance is sold by private insurers and help pay some of the out-of-pocket costs specifically associated with Medicare.

In most U.S. states, you’ll be able to select from 10 standardized Medigap plans. Each plan offers a different set of basic benefits, but all 10 plans must provide at least partial coverage for:

  • Medicare Part A coinsurance and hospital costs
  • Medicare Part B coinsurance or copayment
  • First three pints of blood
  • Medicare Part A hospice care coinsurance or copayment

A few other basics to know about Medicare Supplement Insurance:

  • You become eligible for a Medigap plan when you are both 65 years old and enrolled in Medicare Part B.
  • You may be able to buy a Medigap plan if you're under 65 and disabled, but availability varies by state.
  • Medigap plans only cover one person, so your spouse will need to sign up for his or her own plan.
  • Medigap plans don’t cover dental care, vision care or prescription drugs.

Use the chart below to compare all 10 standardized Medigap plans. 

2017 Medigap Plans Chart

Connect with a licensed insurance agent today at 1-888-264-0148 to find the right Medigap plan for your unique health care needs.

I want to compare Medicare Supplement Plans.

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Resource Center

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