Medicare Supplement

Medicare Supplement

Supplemental Coverage for Medicare

Medicare supplement (Medigap) policies are sold by private insurance companies and may help defray some of the healthcare costs that Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B do not cover. Since the Medicare supplement policies are standardized every policy must follow federal and state laws designed to protect the consumer.

There are a total of 10 Medicare supplement insurance plans. Each plan is categorized with a letter of the alphabet and has a different combination of benefits as follows. Here’s a chart outlining the various benefits for Medicare supplemental coverage:

Medicare Coverage table

Signing up for Supplemental Medicare Coverage

You can sign-up for a Medicare supplement plan during your Initial Enrollment Period, which is the 7-month period that begins on the first day of the month in which you turn 65 and enroll in Medicare Part B. You’ll also be able to purchase a Medicare supplement policy during the Annual Enrollment Period, October 15th thru December 7th.

Medicare Supplement Plan Costs

Private insurance companies base Medicare premiums on 3 factors:

  • Community-rated or “no-age-rated” premiums are the same rate regardless of age.
  • Issue-age-rated or “entry-age-rated” premiums are based on your age with your initial purchase of the policy.
  • Attained-age-rated premiums are based on your current age; the price increases as you age.

Geography, medical underwriting and other discounts are also factors that impact inflated premium rates.

FAQs

How do I know if I need Medicare supplement coverage?

Medicare supplemental coverage covers co-payments, coinsurance and deductibles. It does fill in the gaps where original Medicare falls short. It may also offer services that Medicare doesn’t offer at all for example medical care outside of the U.S.

Do all insurance companies charge the same price for Medicare supplement plans?

Medicare supplement plans are standardized which means each lettered plan offers the same benefits, however prices and services may vary by insurance company so it is important to research and comparison shop to find the plan that suits your needs.

What things will a Medicare supplement plan not cover?

Medicare supplement plans do not cover dental work, hearing aids, optical care and long-term care such as nursing homes or private nurses.

Am I only allowed to purchase a Medicare Supplement plan at certain times during the year?

Medicare supplement plans are available during the Initial Open Enrollment Period which is a 6-month period that begins on the first day of the month in which you turn 65 and enrolled in Medicare Part B. You’ll also be able to purchase Medigap during the Annual Open Enrollment period, October 15th to December 7th.

Can I cancel my Medigap plan at any time?

You may cancel your Medigap plan at any time, however be sure to consult with your insurer before you cancel as you may not be able to reinstate your policy at the same rates you had in the past.

Save up to $906/yr by comparing Medicare plans in your area