A Medigap policy (also known as Medicare Supplement plans) is health insurance policy sold private insurance companies to help you cover medical expenses that original Medicare does not cover. Medigap policies don’t work with any other type of health insurance, but can help pay your share (coinsurance, copayments, or deductibles) of the costs of Medicare-covered services. Below is a brief look at the different types of Medicare coverages everyone should know about.
With Medicare, you can choose how you get your health and prescription drug coverage. Below are brief descriptions of your coverage choices.
• Run by the Federal government.
• Provides your Medicare Part A and Part B coverage.
• You can join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan to add drug coverage.
• You can buy a Medigap (Medicare Supplement Insurance) policy (sold by private insurance companies) to help fill the gaps in Part A and Part B coverage (like coinsurance, copayments, and deductibles).
• NOTE: New Medigap policies can’t include prescription drug coverage.
Medicare Advantage Plans (like an HMO or PPO)
• Run by private insurance companies approved by Medicare.
• Provide your Medicare Part A and Part B coverage, but can charge different amounts for certain services. May offer extra coverage and prescription drug coverage for an extra cost. Costs for items and services vary by plan.
• If you want drug coverage, you must get it through your plan (in most cases).
• You don’t need a Medigap policy.
All Medigap policies must follow Federal and state laws designed to protect consumers, and it must be clearly identified as “Medicare Supplement Insurance.” Medigap insurance companies offer “standardized” Medigap policy identified by letters A through L. Each standardized Medigap policy must offer the same basic benefits, no matter which insurance company sells it. Cost is normally the only difference between Medigap policies sold by different insurance companies.
It is also important to understand what Medigap policies do not cover. Medigap policies don’t cover long-term care (such as stays in a nursing home), vision or dental care, hearing aids, eyeglasses, and private-duty nursing.
Wiley Long is founder and president of Medigap Advisors, and is passionate about helping people navigate the confusing waters of Medicare. He is the author of The Medicare Playbook: Designing Your Successful Health Coverage Strategy, a clear and simple explanation so you can make the most of your Medicare coverage. For more information visit www.MediGapAdvisors.com.