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Medicare Supplement (Medigap) Insurance

Do you have fairly frequent doctor or hospital visits? If so, you may already know that Medicare Part A and Part B come with out-of-pocket costs you have to pay. You might be able to save money with a Medicare Supplement plan. Medicare Supplement, or Medigap, plans fill in the "gaps" in coverage left behind by Original Medicare, Part A and Part B, such as deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments.

In 47 states, there are 10 standardized Medicare Supplement plans that are denoted by the letters A through N (plans E, H, I, and J are no longer sold). The private insurance companies offering these plans do not have to offer every Medicare Supplement plan, but they must offer at least Plan A. If an insurance company chooses to offer any Medicare Supplement plans in addition to Plan A, it must offer either Plan C or Plan F along with any other standardized Medicare Supplement plans it offers.

Please note that although the names may sound similar, the "parts" of Medicare, such as Part A and Part B, are not the same as Medigap Plan A, Plan B, etc.

Medicare Supplement plan coverage

Each Medicare Supplement plan offers a different level of coverage, but each lettered plan must include the same standardized benefits regardless of insurance company and location. For example, Medicare Supplement Plan G in Florida includes the same benefits as Plan G in North Dakota. Please note that if you live in Massachusetts, Minnesota, or Wisconsin, your Medicare Supplement insurance options are different than in the rest of the country. Medicare Supplement plans do not have to cover vision, dental, long-term care, or hearing aids, but all plans must cover at least a portion of the following basic benefits:

  • Medicare Part A coinsurance costs up to an additional 365 days after Medicare benefits are exhausted
  • Medicare Part A hospice care coinsurance or copayments
  • Medicare Part B coinsurance or copayments
  • First three pints of blood used in a medical procedure

Some plans include additional coverage. For example, Medicare Supplement Plan F, the most comprehensive standardized Medigap plan, carries the following additional benefits:

  • Medicare Part A deductible
  • Medicare Part B deductible
  • Part B excess charges
  • Part B preventive care coinsurance
  • Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) care coinsurance
  • Foreign travel emergency care (80% of Medicare-approved costs, up to plan limits)

Some plans may include additional innovative benefits.

Medicare Supplement plan costs

Although private insurance companies are required to offer the same benefits for each lettered plan, they do have the ability to charge higher premiums for this coverage. You might want to shop around to find a Medicare Supplement plan that may fit your medical and financial needs. Insurance companies may price their plan premiums in any of the following ways:

  • Community no-age-rated: These Medicare Supplement plans charge premiums that are the same across the board, regardless of age.
  • Issue-age-rated: These plans base their premiums on the age you were when you first enrolled in the policy. Therefore, the younger you are when you enroll in this type of plan, the lower your premium will be.
  • Attained-age-rated: Like issue-age-rated, these plans base their premiums on the age you were when you first bought a policy, but unlike issue-age-rated, premiums increase as you get older.

Please note that no matter what rating method an insurance company uses, premiums may increase over time for reasons other than age, such as inflation.

Medicare Supplement plan enrollment and eligibility

To be eligible to enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan, you must be enrolled in both Medicare Part A and Part B. A good time to enroll in a plan is generally during the Medigap Open Enrollment Period, which begins on the first day of the month that you are both age 65 or older and enrolled in Part B, and lasts for six months. During this period, you have the guaranteed-issue right to join any Medicare Supplement plan available where you live. You may not be denied coverage based on any pre-existing conditions during this enrollment period (although a waiting period may apply). If you miss this enrollment period and attempt to enroll in the future, you may be denied coverage or charged a higher premium based on your medical history.

To learn about Medicare plans you may be eligible for, you can:

  • Contact the Medicare plan directly.
  • Call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), TTY users 1-877-486-2048; 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • Contact a licensed insurance agency such as eHealth Insurance Services, Inc.
    • Call eHealth's licensed insurance agents at 1-888-519-2029, TTY users 711. We are available 7 days a week from 8AM to 8PM ET. You may receive a messaging service on weekends and holidays from February 15 through September 30. Please leave a message and your call will be returned the next business day.
    • Or enter your zip code where requested on this page to see quotes.

This website and its contents are for informational purposes only. Nothing on the website should ever be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. You should always consult with your medical provider regarding diagnosis or treatment for a health condition, including decisions about the correct medication for your condition, as well as prior to undertaking any specific exercise or dietary routine.

eHealthInsurance is operated by eHealthInsurance Services, Inc., a licensed health insurance agency certified to sell Medicare products.

The purpose of this communication is the solicitation of insurance. Contact will be made by an insurance agent/producer or insurance company.

Medicare Supplement insurance plans are not connected with or endorsed by the U.S. government or the federal Medicare program.

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