Why is a Medicare Supplement Important?

Also known as a Medigap policy, a Medicare supplement pays for a portion of the health care costs that your basic Medicare policy will not cover like co-payments, deductibles, and coinsurance that you are responsible for.

Medicare supplement plans provide you peace of mind, knowing that if the unexpected happens, you won’t have your credit ruined because of unpaid medical bills.

Keep in mind that Medigap policies are different from Medicare Advantage plans. Advantage plans help you secure Medicare benefits in the first place, while Medigap policies supplement the Medicare coverage you already have. You cannot have both a Medicare Advantage plan and Medigap; you’ll need to leave Medicare Advantage to purchase Medigap coverage. You can then start your Medigap policy the day after your Medicare Advantage plan coverage expires. Finally, to qualify for Medicare supplement plans, you must have Medicare Part A and Part B.  (Find more information on Medicare Advantage plan below).

Do I Need A Medigap Policy?

The most common reason for purchasing a supplement with Medicare is that most aging adults are on a fixed income and don’t want to dip into their nest egg to pay for health care expenses that are not covered by their original Medicare policies. Medigap policies typically pay the majority or all of the remaining Medicare-approved charges after the primary policy pays. 

Second, in the event that your health takes a turn for the worse, a Medicare supplement is renewable for life so long as you pay the premiums. These policies have no lifetime maximums, and your insurer cannot cancel your policy due to the frequency or amount of your claims.  A Medigap policy can help protect your retirement savings in the event of a major health crisis that Medicare does not fully cover. 

Third, investing in a Medigap policy opens up a world of options, allowing you to customize your health care coverage to your unique needs. A Medicare supplement also gives you the option of adding prescription drug coverage independently. 

Finally, Medigap policies will cover you in foreign countries if you plan to travel in your retirement. If you relocate within the U.S., you will be able to keep the same Medicare supplement policy in most cases.

How a Medicare Supplement Plan Can Help

Once your Medicare plan has paid its part, your Medigap coverage will pay most, or all, of what’s remaining for any Medicare-approved charges. You can see any doctor that participates in Medicare, too, which is one of the best features about Medigap plans.

Here are a few of the benefits that a Medigap plan can help pay for:

  • Medicare Part A coinsurance hospital costs after initial Medicare coverage is exhausted
  • Medicare Part B copayment
  • Blood (first 3 pints are free)
  • Hospice care (coinsurance or co-payment)
  • Skilled nursing facility care (SNF) coinsurance
  • Part A and Part B Deductibles
  • Foreign travel emergencies
  • Part B excess charges
  • Preventive care coinsurance (Medicare Part B)

Medigap Eligibility

As soon as you reach 65 and are eligible to apply for Medicare, you are also eligible to purchase a Medicare Supplement policy. You will be given a ONE-TIME open enrollment period to enroll in any Medigap plan with no health questions. Your open enrollment period is the first six months from the first day you signed up for Medicare Part B.

During open enrollment, you can sign up for any supplemental plan and you are guaranteed coverage. They cannot turn you down because of pre-existing medical conditions.

After the open enrollment period ends, Medigap companies will require you to answer health questions on future applications, and you may be turned down.  This makes open enrollment the best time to sign up for a Medigap plan.

Questions about coverage options and cost?

Call 800-282-8626 for plan comparisons.

NOTE: Medicare does NOT pay for home healthcare or nursing home stays.  

For quotes on home healthcare and nursing home benefits, go to Short-Term Care plan listed on the Benefits Page.

(Plan coverage and costs will vary based on plan or coverage chosen)