What is Medicare Supplement (Medigap)?

Medicare Supplement (Medigap) Plans

If you are going to get your Medicare benefits through Original Medicare Part A and Part B, you may be concerned about the potential for high medical costs – especially if you experience an unexpected health issue that requires chronic care or extensive treatment. Original Medicare includes coverage for inpatient hospital and medically necessary outpatient care, but there are costs that you’ll share, including coinsurance, deductibles, and copayments. And, without an annual out-of-pocket maximum limit, your expenses with Original Medicare can add up.

Many people who have Original Medicare choose to buy supplemental coverage that will help cover some of the costs Original Medicare does not. Medicare Supplement plans, also referred to as Medigap, are offered by private insurance companies. Even though they are regulated and standardized by the federal government, Medigap plans can vary in costs and coverage. It’s important to understand how and when to enroll in Medigap.  

Guaranteed issue rights to purchase Medigap

You’ll have a guaranteed issue right to buy a Medicare Supplement policy during the Medigap Open Enrollment Period, which begins the day you are 65 years old and enrolled in Medicare Part B. During this 6-month Medigap Open Enrollment Period, you will have the right to purchase any Medicare Supplement plan sold in your state without being subjected to medical underwriting. Unfortunately, once this period ends, you may be charged more or even refused coverage due to pre-existing medical conditions.

Choosing a Medicare Supplement plan

Medicare Supplement plans are identified by letters A through N. Any insurance company that chooses to sell Medigap coverage must at least offer Plan A. Plan G is the most comprehensive plan currently sold. Since Medigap plans are sold by private insurance companies, costs can vary from plan to plan, so compare your options before enrolling.