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What is a
Medicare
Supplement Insurance
(Medigap) Plan?

A Medicare Supplement Insurance plan (also known as Medigap) provides supplemental health insurance for health care costs not covered by Original Medicare (Parts A and B), such as co-payments, deductibles, and health care if you travel outside the U.S. Medicare Supplement plans are sold by private insurance companies and you must pay a monthly premium for a Medigap plan. Medicare Supplement plans do not cover long-term care, dental care, vision care, hearing aids, eyeglasses, and private-duty nursing. Most plans do not include or cover prescription drugs. If you want prescription drug coverage, you can enroll in a stand-alone Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (Part D). Unlike Medicare Parts A, B, D or a Part C plan, Medigap plans are not a government benefit or plan. A Medigap policy only supplements your Original Medicare (Part A and B) benefits.

There are several standardized Medicare supplement insurance plans, labeled “A” through “N.” These letters are not related to the Medicare Part A, B, C and D labels.) The plans and what they cover are prescribed by the federal government. Each of the standardized plans provides benefits for different out-of-pocket costs.

Each standardized plan with the same letter must offer the same basic benefits, no matter which insurance company sells it. For example the basic benefits of one company’s Plan F are the same as the basic benefits of another company’s Plan F, regardless of your location. The only difference between Medicare supplement plans with the same letter sold by different insurance companies is usually the monthly premium cost.

Medicare Supplement plan enrollment and eligibility

Applying for a Medicare Supplement plan requires you first enroll in both Medicare Part A and Part B. A good time to enroll is generally during the Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period, which begins on the first day of the month that you are both age 65 or older and enrolled in Part B, and goes for six months. During this period, you have the guaranteed-issue right to join any Medicare Supplement plan available where you live. You may not be denied coverage based on any pre-existing conditions during this enrollment period (although a waiting period may apply). If you miss this enrollment period and attempt to enroll in the future, you may be denied coverage or charged a higher premium based on your medical history. In some states, you may be able to enroll in a Medigap plan before the age of 65.

Your Open Enrollment Period may be one of the few times that you have a guaranteed right to enroll in any Medicare Supplement plan in your area.

Why consider Medicare Supplement insurance?

  • Helps pay the out-of-pocket medical costs not covered by Original Medicare (Parts A and B).
  • No referrals needed to visit specialists.
  • No claim forms to fill out or submit.
  • Your plan travels with you nationwide.