What Are Medicareful Supplements?
Medicare Supplement insurance covers the out-of-pocket “gaps” in Original Medicare. That’s why it’s often known as Medigap.
Just like Medicare Part C and D, private insurers sell Medigap plans that are approved by the federal and state governments.
What Do They Cover?
Unlike other parts of Medicare, Medigap does not cover health benefits. That’s what Original Medicare is for. Instead, Medigap mainly helps pay for the deductibles and copays a beneficiary is responsible for out of their own pocket.
There are eight Medigap plans new Medicare eligible can choose from. They are labeled by letters A, B, D, G, K, L, M, and N (Plans C, E, F, H, I, and J are no longer available. Plans C and F were discontinued in 2020.), and each plan letter has different coverage benefits.
The minimum benefits of Medigap plans are standardized across the country.
Conveniently, the minimum benefits of these plans are standardized across the country. There are only three states that are exceptions: Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. A licensed sales agent can help beneficiaries navigate the different plans in those states.
Please note, Medigap plans will not cover costs for Medicare Advantage, Medicaid, VA benefits, or TRICARE.
How Do You Get a Medigap Plan?
To qualify for a Medicare Supplement, beneficiaries must first enroll in Medicare Parts A and B. Once they turn 65 and enroll in Original Medicare, they will enter their personal Open Enrollment — the six-month period starting the first day of the month after they turn 65 and have a Part B plan. This is the best time to sign up for a Medigap plan.
Beneficiaries do have the option to enroll outside of their Open Enrollment, but acceptance is not guaranteed, and they may have to pass a health underwriting exam. They can learn more about when they can buy Medigap plans here.
What Does It Cost?
Medigap plan monthly premiums differ depending on several factors.
- Tobacco use
- Plan type (A through N)
Different insurers also vary their monthly rates depending on actuarial models, though many offer discounts to those who live with a spouse.