Medicare Supplement plans fill in “gaps” in coverage and can help pay for copayments, deductibles, and coinsurance. Medicare Supplement plans may also be able to cover your medical needs if you require medical care while traveling outside of the U.S. 

These plans are affected based on new implementations of the law. For example, starting in January 2020, new Medigap plans cannot cover the Part B deductible. This means that Plans C and F cannot be available to people new to Medicare. So if you already have either of these plans or the high-deductible version of Plan F, then you will be able to keep your plan. If you were covered by one of these plans before January 1, 2020, then you will also be able to keep your plan. If you were merely eligible for Medicare before January but did not enroll, then you might be able to purchase one of these plans. Our West Palm Beach insurance brokers can explain this more fully if you have questions about your eligibility.

I Keep Hearing the Word “Medigap,” Is That The Same?

This is a great question that many people often have. Medigap is the same as Medicare Supplement. Unlike a Medicare Advantage Plan, which are plans with benefits, Medigap plans are supplements to your original Medicare Plan.

Things To Know About A Medicare Supplement or Medigap Plan

There are certain requirements to be eligible for a Medicare Supplement, or Medigap Plan:

  • You must be enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B.
  • You’ll pay a higher premium for your Medigap policy in addition to your Part B payment. 
  • Medigap policies sold after January 1, 2006 do not include prescription drug coverage, so if you need coverage, then you need to enroll in a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Part D.

People like these plans because they have lower premiums and spend less later on copayments. For example people with a Plan G do not pay copays, and their maximum out-of-pocket expense could be less than $200 per year. However, a Medicare Advantage plan can require up to $6,700 to be paid out-of-pocket expenses in a year where you are suffering from bad health.

Why People Choose Medicare Supplement Plans

People like to get Medicare Supplement Plans because it helps them to save money. For example, if you have a particularly difficult year with your health and require an extensive hospital stay, then your co-pay to your hospital is going to be very expensive. But Medicare Supplement Plans are designed to fill in the gaps where your Medicare coverage leaves off. People like these plans because it gives them the peace of mind of knowing that they won’t be left with exorbitant unpaid medical bills that can ruin their credit and affect their families while trying to focus on what’s most important — being well and healthy.

Medicare Supplement Plans are standardized and there are 10 different plans (Plans A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M, and N). These plans are generally renewable, which means that you cannot be denied coverage because of any health issues or because of your age after you have already enrolled in the program. This guarantee also gives people peace of mind knowing that no matter what the future brings, they will not be denied coverage. 

There are some other advantages to having a Medicare Supplement Plan. The first one is that Medicare Part A coinsurance can cover hospital costs after your Medicare coverage has been exhausted during a long hospital stay. It can also help pay for your Medicare Part B copayment, hospice care coinsurance or copayment, coinsurance for skilled nursing facility care and for Part B excess charges.

Medigap/Medicare Supplement Plan Eligibility

This is the most important thing for people to know about Medigap or Medicare Supplement Plan eligibility. You are only given a one-time open enrollment period when you turn 65 during which you can enroll in any Medicare Supplement Plan without any health questions. That open enrollment period starts the first day you enrolled in Medicare Part B and lasts for 6 months. During this window of time you can sign up for a Medicare Supplement Plan or Medigap and you’ll be guaranteed coverage even if you have a pre-existing condition. If you decide to enroll after this enrollment then you will be required to answer questions about your health and could be denied coverage.

Remember this enrollment period is not the same as an Annual Election Period, which generally runs from October to December of every year.