What is a Medicare Supplement?
A Medicare supplement fills in the gaps of Medicare Part A and Part B; hence the alternate name of "Medigap Policy."
Medicare supplements are sold by private insurance companies and are not part of Medicare. Medicare does not pay any of the premiums for a Medicare supplement.
Medicare supplements don't pay your Medicare premiums (such as the Part B premium), but they may cover the Original Medicare coinsurance, copays, and deductibles. Some Medicare supplements also offer coverage for services that Original Medicare doesn't cover, like medical care when you travel outside the U.S. If you have Original Medicare and you buy a Medicare supplement, first Medicare will pay its share of the Medicare-approved amount for the covered health care costs, then your supplement will pay its share.
Supplement companies can only sell you a "standardized" Medicare supplement that follows Federal and State laws designed to protect you. All Medicare supplements must offer the same basic benefits, no matter which company sells it, but some offer additional benefits, so you can choose which one meets your needs. In most states, standardized plans are identified by letters A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M, and N. In Massachusetts, Minnesota and Wisconsin the benefits are labeled differently, but the plans are still standardized.
Below is a comparison of the Medicare supplements that are available for sale.
* Plan F also offers a high-deductible plan. If you choose this option, this means you must pay for Medicare-
covered costs up to the deductible amount of $2,240 in 2019 before your Medigap plan pays anything.
** After you meet your out-of-pocket yearly limit and your yearly Part B deductible, the Medigap plan pays
100% of covered services for the rest of the calendar year.
*** Plan N pays 100% of the Part B coinsurance, except for a copay of up to $20 for some office visits and up
to a $50 copay for emergency room visits that don't result in inpatient admission.
Please note that Plans E, H, I, and J are no longer for sale. If you bought one before June 1, 2010, you may keep it.
Who is eligible for a Medicare supplement?
You must have Medicare Part A and Part B to be eligible to buy a Medicare supplement.
You are eligible to buy a Medicare supplement when you turn 65 and have enrolled in Part B. During your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) is the best time to buy a Medicare supplement. During the IEP, an insurance company cannot refuse to sell you a policy or charge you more because of your health. The IEP extends from 3 months prior to the birth month, the month of your birthday, and the 3 months after your birth month.
If you are not 65, you won't have this Initial Enrollment Period until you turn 65, but state law might give you a right to buy a policy before then.
A Medicare supplement covers only one person. Each spouse must have their own policy.
What does a Medicare supplement cost?
You will be required to pay your Part B premium. You will also be required to pay a monthly premium to the private health insurance company that sells you the policy.
The premiums will be different depending on the policy that you choose and the insurance company that sells you the policy.
It is very important to compare policies.
If you buy Plan K, L, or N, you will pay part of the Part B coinsurance and copays, which may result in lower premiums for some Medicare supplements.
If you would like to discuss your existing Medicare Supplement, or if you are newly eligible for Medicare and would like to enroll in a Medicare Supplement, please refer to the “Contact Us” section of our website. We welcome the opportunity to sit down with you to discuss your Medicare insurance needs.