Medicare Supplements (also called Medigap insurance) can help preserve or protect one’s finances by reducing out-of-pocket costs, providing predictable healthcare expenses, protecting against catastrophic healthcare costs, preventing the need to dip into retirement savings, and providing peace of mind.
Medicare Supplement insurance, also known as Medigap, is private health insurance designed to help cover the gaps in Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) coverage. It helps pay for certain out-of-pocket expenses such as deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance.
To be eligible for Medicare Supplement insurance, you must be enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B. Generally, you need to be at least 65 years old, although some states offer coverage to individuals under 65 who qualify due to disability or other specific circumstances.
Medicare Supplement insurance plans work alongside Original Medicare. When you have a Medigap policy, it helps cover the costs that Medicare doesn’t, such as deductibles and coinsurance. After Medicare pays its share, your Medigap policy pays its share of the covered services.
Medicare Supplement plans are standardized, which means the coverage is the same regardless of the insurance company you choose. There are several standardized plans, each labeled with a letter (e.g., Plan F, Plan G) that offer different levels of coverage. These plans may cover some or all of the following: Medicare Part A and Part B deductibles, copayments, coinsurance, excess charges, and limited coverage for foreign travel emergencies.
The right Medicare Supplement plan for you depends on your individual needs and preferences. Consider factors such as your budget, anticipated healthcare needs, and desired level of coverage. It’s important to compare plans and premiums from different insurance companies to find the one that best fits your needs.
Plan N and Plan G are the most popular for new enrollees.
The best time to enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan is during your Medigap Open Enrollment Period. This period starts on the first day of the month in which you are both 65 or older and enrolled in Medicare Part B. During this six-month period, insurance companies cannot deny you coverage or charge you higher premiums based on pre-existing conditions.
Yes, you can switch Medicare Supplement plans at any time, but you may be subject to medical underwriting, which means the insurance company can consider your health status and may charge you higher premiums or deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions. There are certain circumstances, such as losing your current coverage or moving out of your plan’s service area, which may allow you to switch plans without medical underwriting.
The cost of Medicare Supplement insurance varies depending on factors such as the plan you choose, your age, location, and the insurance company. Premiums can also increase over time due to factors like inflation and other factors. It’s important to compare prices from different insurance companies to find the most affordable option for you.
No, Medicare Supplement insurance does not cover prescription drugs. If you want prescription drug coverage, you need to enroll in a standalone Medicare Part D prescription drug plan.
Medicare Supplement insurance works with Original Medicare, while Medicare Advantage is an alternative to Original Medicare.
When deciding between Medicare Advantage and Medicare supplements, it’s important to consider your individual healthcare needs, budget, and personal preferences.
Medicare supplements can provide the ultimate protection and are a good option for those who want more comprehensive coverage and predictable out-of-pocket costs.
Medicare Advantage plans may be a good option for those who want additional benefits and lower premiums. But they often have a limited choice of providers, higher out of pocket costs and require prior authorizations.