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 doesn’t really cover health benefits (that’s what Original Medicare is for). Instead, Medigap mainly helps pay for the deductibles and copays you’re responsible for out of your own pocket.
There are eight Medigap plans new Medicare eligibles can choose from. They’re labeled by letters A, B, D, G, K, L, M, and N, and each plan letter has different coverage benefits. (Plans C, E, F, H, I, and J are no longer available. Plans C and F were discontinued in 2020.)
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 you 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, you must first enroll in Medicare Parts A and B. Once you turn 65 and enroll in Original Medicare, you will enter your personal Open Enrollment — the six-month period starting the first day of the month after you turn 65 and have a Part B plan. This is the best time to sign up for a Medigap plan.
Your Open Enrollment window is the best time to sign up for a Medigap plan.
You do have the option to enroll outside of your Open Enrollment, but acceptance is not guaranteed, and you may have to pass a health underwriting exam. You can learn more about when you can buy Medigap plans here.
What Does It Cost?
Medigap plan monthly premiums differ depending on several factors, including:
- 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.
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Want to compare plans in your area? Our Medicareful Plan Finder was made for that! Just enter your zip code and filter by Medicare Supplement. You’ll see a list plans in your area, along with their premiums. Then, you can contact a local licensed sales agent to get an expert analysis of each plan.
Medicare.gov — What’s Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap)?