Medicare Supplements

Facts Matter

Medicare Supplemental insurance plans are a type of health insurance policy that pays for the 20% of healthcare expenses that Medicare doesn’t cover. Also called Medigap plans, these policies help pay for your share of Medicare expenses, such as your deductibles and co-insurance.

Many people are surprised to find that Medicare covers only 80% of your Part B expenses. The other 20% can be devastating to you financially if a serious illness arises.

Medicare Supplements pay that 20% for you, among other things, so supplements essentially buys you peace of mind.

Some of the primary advantages of a traditional Medicare supplement policy are:

-  Freedom to choose your own doctors and hospitals
-  No referrals required to see a specialist
-  No out of pocket expenses (with Plan F) for any Medicare-covered services
-  Nationwide coverage – you can use it anywhere in the United States

Medicare Supplemental Plans Comparison

To see a list of all the Medicare supplemental plans available – take a look at our Medigap supplement chart. 

This chart appears in the “Medicare & You” booklet published by Medicare. It details the benefits of each Medicare supplement. These are are labeled Plan A – Plan N.

Sometimes too many choices is NOT a good thing. For many years, Medicare supplement policies varied greatly between companies. This made it difficult for people to compare them. So in 1990, our federal government standardized the plans. The benefits for a Plan F, for example, must be uniform from one insurance company to the next.

Unfortunately, the problem is that Medicare has Parts and Supplements have Plans. Since they both use letters like A, B, and C, people still get confused.

Some Medicare supplements cover just the 20%. Others pay for your hospital and outpatient deductibles. There are Medigap policies that cover ALL the gaps, leaving you zero out of pocket. There are others where you agree to do some cost-sharing and in return you get a lower monthly premium. An insurance agent who specializes in Medicare supplements can help you determine which one best suits you, and that's where Danielle can help you.

Common Questions about Medicare Supplemental Insurance

What is the open enrollment period for Medicare supplemental plans?

When people are first eligible to receive Medicare Part B, they have 3 months before their 65th birthday, the month of their birthday, and 6 months after their birthday to enroll in any Medicare supplement without health questions. The insurance company will approve your application regardless of pre-existing conditions, and it is guaranteed renewable every year, even if you do develop health problems. As long as you pay your premium, they can not cancel your policy.  This open enrollment period for Medicare supplements is a one-time window.

Can you change Medicare supplements anytime?

You can apply to change supplement plans at any time. However, if you are not in your open enrollment window, you will have to answer health questions and the Medicare supplement insurance company has the option to accept or decline your application. If you've had your Medicare supplement for a period of time, you could be paying more than what the current rates are. It's wise to have a knowledgable insurance agent shop the rates for you each year to make sure you are paying the lowest rate for your plan.

What is guaranteed issue for Medicare supplemental insurance?

In certain circumstances, an insurance company must accept you for coverage without asking health questions. For example, if you are on Medicaid and you lose your Medicaid eligibility, you'll have a short window of time to apply for Medigap without health questions.

Another example would be for someone coming off employer health coverage. They will also have a short window of time to apply for certain Medigap plans under guaranteed issue rules.

Do you have to have supplemental insurance with Medicare?

No, Medicare Supplements are optional but highly beneficial. Without a supplement, you are responsible for expensive hospital deductibles and copays as well as 20% of the cost of all outpatients services. This includes things like surgeries and chemotherapy which would be financially devastating without some form of supplemental coverage. For a small monthly premium, a Medicare supplement can fill in the gaps where Original Medicare leaves off, and you can be certain you will not have unexpected medical bills.