Medicare Supplement plans, or Medigap, fill the “gaps” in your Medicare coverage. For a monthly premium, Medicare Supplement plans will often cover out-of-pocket expenses like copays, deductibles, and sometimes premiums for Original Medicare (Part A and Part B).
- Plan F is going away. Beginning January 1, 2020, you will no longer be able to purchase Medigap’s most popular plan. If you already have Plan F, you’ll be able to keep it for life, as long as you don’t let your coverage lapse.
- Premiums vary for individuals. You’ll pay a premium for your Medigap plan in addition to your Part B premium. Your Medigap premium will vary based on your location, age, the type of plan you buy, and the insurance provider.
- Benefits are standard across the country. If your friend has Plan G in Florida, you will have the same benefits with your Plan G in Colorado, even if you have different insurance providers. However, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Wisconsin are exceptions to this rule and offer different standard Medicare Supplement plans plans.
- Medigap enrollment is different from Original Medicare. As long as you already have Part B, open enrollment for a Medigap plan is six months from the first day of the month you turn 65. If you don’t yet have Part B, your open enrollment starts when you enroll in Part B coverage and lasts for six months.
- You may have to wait for coverage. If you have a pre-existing condition, you may be subject to a six-month wait period before your coverage kicks in for that pre-existing condition. After the wait period, your plan should cover out-of-pocket expenses for that condition. The only exception to this rule is if you have continuous, creditable coverage and enroll in a Medigap plan during your open enrollment period.
- If you love your plan, hold onto it. If your coverage lapses or you switch over to a different plan, there is no guarantee you will be able to repurchase your original plan.
Medicare Supplement plans help if you often find yourself strapped for cash, but they typically don’t offer extra coverage for dental, vision, or hearing care. If you want coverage for these things, you may consider a Medicare Advantage plan instead. But remember: you cannot have a Medigap plan and a Medicare Advantage plan at the same time.
To find Medicare Supplement plans in your area, use Medicare’s Plan Finder tool.