Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plans are supplemental insurance policies that pay for costs not covered by Original Medicare. These costs can include out-of-pocket expenses such as copayments and deductibles. They may also cover costs related to emergency care outside of the United States. However, Medigap plans do not provide long-term care.
Currently, there are 10 types of Medigap plans. They are named by letter: A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, and N. Each plan has different benefits, price, and insurance carriers. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) sets coverage specifications for each plan.
For people eligible for Medicare, Medigap plans offer more freedom than Medicare Advantage. In addition to covering out-of-pocket expenses, they allow patients to choose a doctor and hospital that will not turn them away. And the policy can pay for additional benefits, such as hospice care.
Some plans have a higher premium than others. You will need to find out what your options are before you apply for a policy. Generally, it is cheaper to purchase a Medigap policy during the open enrollment period. However, the prices can increase after this time. If you wait to buy a Medigap plan, you may end up paying a higher premium.
Choosing a Medigap policy can be confusing. Many states require you to answer a series of health questions before you can enroll. You must choose a Medigap plan that meets your needs. Typically, insurers will not sell you a policy if you have a preexisting condition. To help with this, some states have instituted consumer protections to protect the rights of people with certain health conditions.
Most Medigap policies are standardized. Each plan has a lettered name that indicates its benefits. Usually, the Medigap Plan G – Two Ways to Save more benefits you have, the more expensive your policy will be. Also, the out-of-pocket limit for the plan will be higher. Plan F is the most popular Medigap plan. It covers all the out-of-pocket expenses for the covered services.
However, many Medigap plans do not have prescription drug coverage. Additionally, some plans are not available in all states. If you are unsure about whether you qualify for a plan, visit the Medicare search tool to check for plans in your state.
People who have been denied a Medigap policy due to their current or past health status have guaranteed issue rights. This means that the insurance company cannot cancel a policy unless the policyholder pays the premium. Likewise, insurers can only charge more for preexisting conditions after the initial enrollment period.
Another benefit of having guaranteed issue is that the insurance company cannot refuse to sell you a policy based on your health. This is especially helpful if you have a history of certain health conditions. Those conditions can include heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Other factors can affect the price of a policy, so it is important to ask a potential insurer about their underwriting procedures.
Some states allow you to switch to a new Medigap plan at any time during the year. In Maine, for example, you can switch to a different benefit within 30 days of your birthday or anniversary. This is an advantage for those who travel a lot or have several homes.