Medicare Supplements (also known as Medigap) are insurance plans that help cover certain out-of-pocket costs that Original Medicare expects you to cover.
There are 10 different plans that exist in most states (not including high-deductible versions). Each plan is designated with a different letter between A and N.
Medigap plans are standardized, meaning a plan of the same letter from two different companies will have the same coverage. The only difference will be the premium you pay.
That’s why it is so important to partner with an independent broker, like Schenck insurance, who can shop your plan through numerous insurance companies.
What do Medicare Supplements cover?
Medigap plans don’t actually cover any health benefits. Instead, these plans cover the costs Original Medicare expects you to pay.
You’ll pay your monthly premium for your Supplement plan. Then, when you see a doctor or visit a hospital, Medicare will pay its portion. After that, the bill will go to your Medigap insurance company. If anything is left over, you’ll pay the remainder.
Each plan will cover a different percentage of:
- Coinsurance (some Supplement plans have you pay a copay instead of the 20% coinsurance)
- Medicare deductibles
- Hospital costs after you run out of Medicare-covered days
- Skilled nursing facility costs after you run out of Medicare-covered days
- Part B excess charges
- Blood transfusions
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When can I enroll in a Medigap plan?
You can enroll in a Medigap plan when your Part B plan becomes effective. Once that happens, you’ll have six months to enroll in a Medicare Supplement with no medical underwriting. This means you’ll be guaranteed acceptance and premiums will not vary based on your health.
After those six months are up you may still be eligible, but your acceptance and premiums will be based on your health.
Which Medicare Supplement offers the most coverage?
This answer will depend on when you turned 65. If you turned 65 before January 1, 2020, the answer to this question was Medigap plan F.
It covers 100% of:
- Medicare Part A coinsurance or copayment and hospital costs
- Medicare Part B coinsurance or copayment
- First three pints of a blood transfusion
- Part A hospice care coinsurance or copayment
- Skilled nursing facility coinsurance
- Medicare Part A deductible
- Medicare Part B deductible
- Medicare Part B excess charges
And it also covers 80% of a foreign travel emergency.
However, those who turned 65 after January 1, 2020 can no longer purchase Plan F or C under a law that says Medigap plans can no longer cover Medicare Part B’s deductible.
Now the most comprehensive coverage is plan G. It covers 100% of everything plan F does other than Part B’s deductible.