Interesting Facts About Medicare Supplemental Insurance

When you enroll in Original Medicare, you may notice that there are still some expenses to you. While Medicare Part A is free and automatic, there are monthly expenses and a yearly deductible involved in Medicare Part B. You must also be aware that there are healthcare procedures that Medicare doesn’t cover. What then? The answer is simple. When you buy a Medigap policy, you are buying an insurance plan that aims to cover the gaps left in your healthcare coverage provided by Medicare Parts A and B.

What Exactly Is Medigap?

Medigap, which is also known as Medicare Supplemental Insurance or Med Sup, is a policy that you can buy through private insurance companies to help cover the things that your Original Medicare plan just doesn’t cover. The goal is to give you the most complete coverage possible. While this plan doesn’t come directly through the Medicare system, it is offered only by Medicare-approved insurance companies, and there are federal and state laws that must be complied with in every Medigap policy, including the basic coverage that must be offered.

Who Can Buy Medigap Policies?

This may sound obvious, but the only people who are eligible for Medigap policies are those who are first eligible for Medicare. Medicare covers most people over the age of sixty-five, and some people under the age of sixty-five who are disabled or suffer from certain illnesses. If you are covered under Medicare, and you receive Original Medicare, then you can purchase a Medigap policy. Medigap is not available to those people who elect to receive Medicare Advantage coverage.

When Can I Enroll?

There is an open enrollment period during the first six months following your sixty-fifth birthday and your enrollment in Medicare Part B that an insurance company must sell you a Medigap policy without using medical underwriting. This means an insurance company must sell you a policy and can’t charge you more than someone in perfect health. In most cases you can purchase a Medigap policy outside of the open enrollment period, but you will be subject to medical underwriting and there is no guarantee that you will be offered a policy.

Medigap or Medicare Advantage?

There are two distinct options that Medicare enrollees have to choose from, and you will have to evaluate your options and choose the best coverage and cost for you. You may elect to choose Original Medicare, which is comprised of Medicare Parts A and B, and then fill in the blank spots of coverage with a Medigap policy. Your second choice is Medicare Advantage, which combines the types of coverage for a hybrid policy that is designed for more complete coverage overall.

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Medicare Supplemental plans can pay costs over and above Original Medicare's coverage.