Medicare Supplement Plans
Medicare Supplements, or Medigap, is insurance coverage designed to fill “gaps” in Original Medicare (Medicare Part A & B) and is sold by private companies. Original Medicare pays for much, but not all, of the cost for covered health care services and supplies. A Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) policy can help pay some of the remaining health care costs, like:
Some Medigap policies also cover 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 Medigap policy, here’s what happens:
Medicare will pay its share of the Medicare-approved amount for covered health care costs.
Then, your Medigap policy pays its share
With Medigap policies, there are several different types of plans to choose from. See the chart below:
Medigap policies generally don’t cover long-term care, vision or dental care, hearing aids, eyeglasses, or private-duty nursing. As of January 1st, 2020, Medigap plans sold to those new to Medicare are not allowed to cover the Part B deductible. This new regulation means that Plans C and F are not available since January 1st, 2020. If you have either of these two plans (or the high deductible version of Plan F) or are covered by one of these plans before January 1st, 2020, you’ll be able to keep it. If you were a Medicare Beneficiaries before January 1st, 2020, but not yet enrolled, you can buy one.
Best time to buy Medicare supplement insurance
It’s best to buy Medicare supplement insurance during your six-month open enrollment period. Your open enrollment period begins when you enroll in Medicare Part B at age 65 or older. During this time, companies can’t refuse to sell you a policy because of your health history or condition. If you wait until after your open enrollment period, you might not be able to buy a policy if you have a preexisting condition.
You can return your Medicare supplement policy within 30 days and get your money back with no questions asked. Keep a record of the date you received the policy. Read the policy when you get it. If you return the policy to the company, use certified mail with a return receipt to prove that it was returned within the 30-day time limit.
Your Medicare supplement policy is renewed automatically each year to ensure you have continuous coverage. If you drop your Medicare supplement policy, you may not be able to get it back, or you might not be able to buy a new policy.