Is All Medicare Supplemental Insurance Created Equal?

When you are deciding which Medicare Supplemental Insurance plan, or Medigap plan, to choose, you may wonder if there is any real difference between the plans. After all, these plans must be substantially the same, and they all must comply with State and Federal laws. Despite substantial similarities, there are differences that you should pay attention to when making your selection.

An Overview of Medigap

The Medigap program is not run by Medicare, but it is Medicare-approved and run by companies that have been approved to sell Medigap policies. When individuals decide to use Original Medicare, they may seek a way to get their policies filled in through the Medigap system. These policies allow you to pay coinsurance, co-pays, and deductibles for Medicare-covered services. Some other policies allow you to get coverage for conditions and treatments that are not covered by Original Medicare.

A Standardized Policy

Every Medigap policy must be clearly defined as Medicare Supplemental Insurance, and from state to state, those policies must be standardized, so that no matter what company you buy them from, you get substantially similar policies. The same basic benefits are available, and cost of the only really difference between the same lettered policy from different companies. For example, a Medicare Supplemental Part F policy from any company provides the same benfits. The only real difference is cost.

Buying Medigap Policies

There are certain times when you are guaranteed the right to buy a Medigap policy. For instance, if you are in a Medigap open enrollment period, you have the absolute right to buy such a policy. You also may buy Medigap at any time you have a guaranteed issue right.
At other times, you may still be able to buy a Medigap policy, but you are subject to denial by the insurance company for health reasons.

You Need To Know

In order to qualify for Medigap, you must have Medicare Parts A and B. If you have a Medicare Advantage Plan, but you want to return to Original Medicare soon, then you may still apply for a Medigap policy before your coverage ends. As long as you are leaving Medicare Advantage, it is legal for an insurance company to sell you Medigap coverage. You will pay a premium every month, and your policy will only cover you, not any other family members. As long as you continue to pay your premiums, your insurance company can’t cancel your policy.

The bottom line is,besides cost and the practioners who may be covered under your Medigap plan, there are no major differences from company to company for a given plan.

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