The gaps in your Medicare coverage can become a scary financial burden for anyone, but especially retirees. That’s why it’s so important to get additional coverage to fill the gaps in your Original Medicare. You have two choices: Medicare Advantage or Medigap.
Medigap insurance has several letters just like Original Medicare—Plans A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M and N. Looking at a list like this might seem overwhelming, but don’t stress out just yet! Medicare standardizes the Medigap plans. When you’re shopping around the private insurance providers for Medigap, each plan has the same benefits regardless of the provider. All you have to compare is the price and the quality of the company. You won’t need to jump into the benefits package because that’s set by Medicare unless you live in Massachusetts, Minnesota, or Wisconsin where plans are slightly different.
Here are five facts that you should know and understand about Medigap before signing up:
1. A Medigap plan only covers one person.
Medicare beneficiaries can’t add a spouse to their Medicare Supplement plan. Medigap plans are offered by private insurance companies and designed to work with Original Medicare to help pay some of the out-of-pocket health-care costs, such as copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles.
2. Must Have Medicare Part A and B to enroll.
Once you have Medicare Part B, you enter the Medigap open enrollment period. During this time, the insurance company can’t use medical underwriting to determine whether or not it will offer you a policy.
3. You can’t have a Medicare Advantage Plan and a Medigap plan at the same time.
Medicare Supplement policies don’t work with Medicare Advantage If you switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan, you may want to consider dropping your Medicare Supplement plan, since you’ll be paying for benefits that can’t be used with your Medicare Advantage plan.
4. On top of paying your Medicare Part B premium, you will also start paying a premium for your Medigap plan.
You cannot use a Medicare Supplement plan to pay your Medicare Part B premium. Medicare Supplement plans are offered by private insurance companies to pay some of the out-of-pocket costs not covered by Medicare Part A and B.
5. Shop around Medigap plans before signing up.
Medigap plans are sold by private insurance companies, and each insurer prices its plans differently. The way that an insurance company prices its Medigap plans can impact what you pay later on, even if the Medigap costs are initially low.