Medicare Supplement Insurance plans (also called Medigap) help cover some of the out-of-pocket costs for hospital and medical services that are associated with Original Medicare. Learn more about each type of Medigap plan and compare basic benefits in order to find the right health insurance option for your needs.
The 10 Standardized Medigap Plans
There are 10 standardized Medicare Supplement Insurance plan types sold in most states, though Minnesota, Wisconsin and Massachusetts have different options. Though Medigap plans are sold by private insurance companies, the basic benefits of each type of Medigap plan are standardized by the federal government.
For example, Medigap Plan F sold in North Carolina must offer the same basic benefits as Medigap Plan F in Oregon. The prices charged for each plan, however, may vary based on your location, your insurance provider and your age.
This chart helps illustrate the basic benefits of each type of Medicare Supplement Insurance plan.
Plan F Is the Most Popular Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan
Of the 10 standardized Medicare Supplement Insurance plans, the most popular is Medigap Plan F. It covers all nine of the basic benefits a Medigap plan can cover.
It’s important to note that Plan F will not be available for new Medicare beneficiaries beginning Jan. 1, 2020. If you already have Plan F, you may keep it after that date. If you became eligible for Medicare before 2020, you can still buy Plan F if it is available where you live.
Medigap Insurance and Other Health Care Costs
Medicare Supplement Insurance plans do not offer prescription drug coverage. If you want prescription drug benefits, you can consider purchasing Medicare Part D coverage.
You can get Part D coverage through a standalone Prescription Drug Plan that works with Original Medicare. Or you can buy a Medicare Advantage plan with prescription drug coverage included, but you may not buy a Medigap policy.
Insurance companies may let you purchase a Medigap plan if you are under 65 but qualify for Original Medicare benefits due to a specific condition or disability. Please note certain state exclusions for ERSD.
If you have questions, contact your state health insurance office.
Enrolling in Medicare Supplement Insurance
The best time to purchase a Medicare Supplement Insurance plan is during your Medigap Open Enrollment Period (OEP). This period begins as soon as you are both:
- Age 65 or older AND
- Enrolled in Medicare Part B
Your open enrollment period lasts for six months. During this period, insurance companies are required to sell you a Medigap policy regardless of your health at the time of enrollment. Insurers also cannot charge you more for a policy based on preexisting conditions if you enroll during your Medigap open enrollment period.