Medicare Supplement Insurance
What is it?
Medicare Supplement Insurance plans help pay for health care costs that are not covered by Original Medicare, Parts A and B. Medicare Supplement plans – which are sometimes called Medigap policies - are sold through private insurance companies. They may protect you against medical costs that are not covered or are unexpected.
Medicare Supplement insurance plans are "standardized" by the government and are named by the letters A through N. Standardized means that all the companies' plans are the same. The only difference is price, reputation and customer service.
Who is eligible and when do I enroll?
The best time to buy a Medicare Supplement Insurance plan is when you first become eligible, up to one year before your 65th birthday. Your coverage begins the same day that your Medicare Part B coverage starts.
Keep in mind that you cannot be turned down because of a pre-existing condition when you first apply for a Medicare Supplement Insurance plan.
What else should I know?
Keep these factors in mind when deciding if Medicare Supplement Insurance is right for you.
- Don't be confused between Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans and the Medicare Parts. The Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans – A through N help pay for expenses that are not covered by Medicare A and B.
- Medicare Supplement plans cover only one person. The plan gives you the freedom to choose your own doctors, specialists and hospitals.
- Medicare Supplement Insurance plans do not include prescription drug coverage.
- You can't have a Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan and a Medicare Advantage Plan at the same time, so if you have a Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan and decide to join a Medicare Advantage Plan, you will have to drop your Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan.
- And finally, Original Medicare may only pay 80% for certain coverages. You will have to pay for the other 20%. Look carefully at the costs of the plans to decide whether a Medicare Supplement insurance plan will help you.