By Gary Phillips
Medicare Supplement Insurance policies are also called Medigap policies. Original Medicare pays for many, but not all health care services and supplies. (Read more about what Original Medicare covers in Original Medicare Part A and Original Medicare Part B.) Medigap policies are sold by approved, private insurance companies and can help pay some of the health care costs that Original Medicare doesn’t cover such as copayments, coinsurance and deductibles.
What Medigap Pays For
If you have Original Medicare and you buy a Medigap policy, Medicare will pay its share of the Medicare-approved amount for covered health care costs, and then your Medigap policy pays its share.
Insurance companies can only sell “standardized” policies, identified in most states by the letters A through N. All policies offer the same basic benefits but some offer additional ones, so you can choose which plan best meets your needs and budget. (In MA, MN and WI, policies are standardized differently.)
It Pays to Shop
Different insurance companies may charge different premiums for the same exact policy. As you shop for a policy, be sure you’re comparing the same policy, such as a Plan G from one company with Plan G from another company. Also check the insurance company rating.
This chart shows basic information about the different benefits that Medigap policies cover. If a check mark appears, the plan covers the described benefit 100%. If a percentage appears, the plan covers that percentage of the benefit.
Note: You will need more details than this chart provides to compare and choose a policy. Visit www.medicare.gov/ publications to view the booklet “Choosing a Medigap Policy: A Guide to Health Insurance for People with Medicare.” You can also call 1‑800‑MEDICARE (1‑800‑633‑4227) to find out if a copy can be mailed to you. TTY users should call 1‑877‑486‑2048.
Gary Phillips is a licensed insurance agent in 10 states and is based in western North Carolina. He specializes in the senior market and is knowledgeable in multiple insurance lines including Medicare, Medigap, Long-Term Care, Part D Prescription Drugs, Part C Medicare Advantage, Health, Life and Final Expense insurance. He also enjoys writing and helping others.
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**Information contained in this article is presumed accurate at the date of publication (06/2012), but not guaranteed. In addition, Medicare changes rules and costs annually so it’s important to refer to the paragraph above to access the most current data.