What is Medicare Supplement Insurance?

May 28, 2022

Original Medicare doesn’t cover all of the health care services that you may need. In order to stay healthy and avoid unexpected out-of-pocket costs, you may want to consider Medicare Supplement Insurance.

Read on to learn more about Medicare Supplement Insurance, including how it works, what it covers, and the recommended time to enroll.

What is Medicare Supplement Insurance?

Medicare Supplement Insurance is also called “Medigap”. It fills in the coverage gaps in Original Medicare (Parts A and Part B). Medicare Supplement Insurance plans are offered by a variety of private companies. They may cover some of your copays, coinsurance, and deductibles. Medicare Supplement plans are not the same as Medicare Advantage and can only be combined with Original Medicare.

The plans are standardized as required by federal law, so each of the private plans offers the same basic coverage. The only major difference is the cost.

Why should you enroll in Medicare Supplement Insurance?

Original Medicare leaves about 20% of anticipated costs uncovered. With a Medicare Supplement Insurance plan, you’re protected from having to pay unexpected medical bills. They also give you peace of mind knowing that you won’t have to pay beyond a defined out-of-pocket amount for your health care.

Benefits of enrolling in Medicare Supplement Insurance

There are many reasons why you should consider enrolling in Medicare Supplement Insurance. The plans offer guaranteed renewals. All you have to do is pay your premiums by their due dates. If you do, your coverage will continue year after year. The only way your plan can be canceled is if you don’t pay your premium or if you misrepresent your health on your enrollment forms. 

Medicare Supplement Insurance plans are standardized. This makes it easy to understand and compare Medigap plans. Each private company’s offerings are nearly the same. The primary difference is the premium you’ll pay. 

When you enroll in Medigap coverage, you won’t be limited by provider networks — you can visit any doctor, hospital, urgent care, clinic, or free-standing emergency room that accepts Medicare. If a hospital accepts Medicare, it’s required by law to accept your Medigap coverage, no matter which plan you have or where you are. This is especially helpful if you’re traveling and you need health care.

Types of Medicare Supplement Insurance

There are 10 Medicare Supplement plan types, and each is assigned a letter name. Most states have access to all 10 of them. They include A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M, and N. You can only enroll in Plan C or Plan F if you were eligible for Original Medicare on or before January 1, 2020. Anybody who’s eligible for Original Medicare can enroll in Plan A, B, D, G, K, L, M, or N.

What coverage levels do Medicare Supplement plans offer?

Each Medicare Supplement plan has standardized requirements for coverage under federal law. Three of the plans are high-deductible coverage options. Those deductibles range from $2,340 to $5,880 per year. This means that the plan won’t pay for any services until you’ve spent that much out of your pocket. 

If you choose to enroll in Medigap coverage, you have to pick one of the 10 plans. For example, if you pick Plan N, it will pay for 100% of your costs after Medicare Part B, but there are a couple of exceptions. You’ll have a $20 copay for doctor’s visits and a $50 copay for emergency room visits that don’t result in a hospital admission.

What are the standardized Medigap benefits?

All of the Medicare Supplement plans have to include the same basic benefits. It doesn’t matter which insurance company you pick. The basic benefits include paying for up to 12 months after your Medicare benefits are exhausted. They also include copayments or coinsurance for hospice care. The plans cover Medicare Part B coinsurance and copayments, too.

When can people enroll in Medigap?

You can enroll in Medigap coverage any time after you’re enrolled in Original Medicare. When possible, we recommend if you are going to enroll, do so during your Initial Medigap Enrollment Period (also called the Medigap Open Enrollment Period). This enrollment window starts on the first day of the month that you have Part B coverage after you turn 65. This only happens once, and it’s the best time to enroll, especially if you have a pre-existing condition.

That’s because Medigap insurance companies are allowed to use medical underwriting to decide whether to accept your application and how much to charge you for the policy. However, during your Medigap open enrollment period, you can buy any policy the company sells for the same price as people without pre-existing conditions.

How to pick a Medigap plan

Finding the right Medicare Supplement plan can be a challenge. Instead of trying to figure it out on your own, work with our SmartMatch licensed insurance agents. Our agents will help you compare Medigap programs side-by-side to find the best rate in your area. Let us help you choose a Medigap plan that suits your coverage needs and your budget. To learn more, contact us today.

 Before you pick which Medicare Supplement Insurance in which to enroll, it’s important to compare the Medigap plans. SmartMatch licensed insurance agents offer this type of assistance, so contact us for help.

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