Here’s what one should know about Medigap plans

Here’s what one should know about Medigap plans

Medigap is additional insurance one can buy to cover costs that are not covered under Medicare. Also known as the Medicare Supplement Plan, Medigap helps one reduce out-of-pocket expenses, i.e., co-payments and deductibles. One can access these insurance services through private companies. However, one must already have a Medicare Part A and Part B plan to buy Medigap. To understand Medigap plans better, here are a few things to know:

What is a Medigap plan?
Original Medicare (Parts A and B) does not cover all medical expenses. So, private companies can offer Medigap plans to help cover these costs. Nevertheless, Medigap plans generally do not offer long-term, vision, or dental coverage. They also do not cover the cost of hearing aids, eyeglasses, or private nursing. Medigap Plans are aimed at covering costs such as co-payments, deductibles, and coinsurance. Some specific costs that may be included in these plans are:

  • About 20% of out-of-pocket expenses that are not covered by Medicare Part B
  • Coinsurance for Part A
  • Hospital coverage up to 365 days after Medicare benefits are used up
  • Part A hospice or respite care copayment

Some plans may also cover emergency medical care while traveling abroad.

How much do Medigap plans cost?
As Medigap plans are offered by private companies, the prices can vary, ranging from $44–$392 per month. However, in an attempt to standardize the process, the federal government requires private companies to offer similar policies. So, there are 10 standard policies to choose from, lettered A–D, F, G, and K–N, offering different levels of coverage. Standard plans differ in three states, so one should review the benefits offered in their state before signing up for a plan.

Who can get a Medigap plan?
Medigap plans are available to all seniors over the age of 65 who are currently enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B. It is important to note that these policies cover only one person. So, a monthly premium needs to be paid for every individual enrolled in these policies. One needs to sign up for the Medigap policy within the enrollment window, that is, within six months from the first day of the month of their 65th birthday or within six months of signing up for Medicare Part B.

When buying Medigap policies, one must always shop around to find the best one, as insurance companies often set their own prices and eligibility requirements.