What's different about a Medigap policy vs. Medicare Advantage? Medigap policies (also known as Medicare Supplement) provide services that Medicare does not cover.
According to the AARP, 44 million people are currently enrolled in Medicare — that's around 15 percent of the U.S. population. Medicare helps individuals aged 65 and older by providing them with a government-funded option for insurance. However, Medicare still requires that individuals pay at least some of their costs out of pocket — a requirement that some beneficiaries struggle with.
As a result, individuals on Medicare are offered the opportunity to purchase additional insurance through the Medicare supplement program, Medigap. Unlike Medicare savings programs, Medigap is purchased from a private insurance company, but it works similarly to the other option, providing patients with the opportunity to receive additional help in paying their healthcare costs.
Medigap, also known as medicare supplement, is aptly named for the fact that it closes the gap between Medicare coverage and the price of premiums, deductibles, copayments, and other costs. It can also be used to help cover the cost of healthcare in other countries, which is especially beneficial to those who travel often.
However, Medigap does not cover certain other healthcare options such as dental, vision, hearing aids, at-home nursing, and long-term care. Some plans cover prescription drugs, but most do not. It is important to thoroughly understand what a Medigap policy will and will not pay for before you sign up for it.
When you sign up for a Medigap policy, you will pay a monthly premium the same way you would to a private insurance policy. Unfortunately, Medigap plans do not cover two separate people—even those who are married—like other plans might. Individuals who are married and both qualify for Medicare and Medigap policies will need to purchase individual Medigap plans.
There are 14 different Medigap plans available, listed with names from A through N. New beneficiaries are unable to purchase plans E, H, I, or J. Even though each insurance company will offer different prices, someone who chooses an A plan from one insurance company will receive the same benefits as someone who chooses the same plan from a different company. Policies will differ by state, however, if you live in Wisconsin, Massachusetts, or Minnesota. You can click on each of the Medigap Plans below to learn more:
You can apply for a Medicare supplement through Medigap by choosing and purchasing a plan through a private insurer. You will be eligible to do so during the six-month period from the first day of the month in which you turn 65. This can also be extended to six months of you having signed up for Medicare Part B, if you have not already done so. If you are outside of these time frames, you may still be able to sign up for a Medigap policy, but there is no assurance that an insurer will cover you.