Medicare Supplement Insurance (also called Medigap) is sold by private insurance companies. The insurance can help pay some of the health care costs that “Original Medicare” does not cover, such as copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles.
Some Medicare Supplement insurance policies also offer coverage for services that Original Medicare doesn’t cover, like medical care when you travel outside the U.S.
If you have Original Medicare and you buy a Medigap policy, Medicare pays its share of the Medicare-approved amount for covered health care costs. Then your Medicare Supplement insurance policy pays its share.
There are four things to know.
Peace of mind.
A Medicare Supplement insurance policy offers financial security and peace of mind. Peace of mind comes from knowing you’ve planned and are prepared for any costly health care surprises.
Freedom to choose
You control and choose to see any medical professional anytime, anywhere … as often as you need care. The only requirement is that they accept Medicare (and new patients).
You are not restricted to use a network of health care providers. If you move, your Medigap coverage goes with you. You may even include foreign travel emergency benefits.
Guarantees that protect
In most cases your premium (monthly cost) is locked in for the first 12 months.(can vary by carrier) Plus, policies are guaranteed renewable. That means no worries about being cancelled or having benefits reduced as long as your premiums are paid on time.
Who is eligible for a Medigap plan?
You can apply for a Medicare Supplement insurance policy if you are:
1. A resident of a state where the policy is offered.
2. Enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B.
3. Age 65 or over or, in some states, under age 65 with a disability and/or end stage renal disease (plan offering and eligibility vary by state).
When is the best time to buy A Medicare Supplement plan?
That depends. Most people enroll in Medicare when they turn 65. This is called the “Open Enrollment” period. It begins three months before your 65th birthday, includes the month of your 65th birthday and runs until three months after your birthday.
During the Open Enrollment period you qualify for guaranteed issue coverage. That means the insurance company must accept your application no matter what health conditions you have. This is a very important fact to remember.
Switching Medigap plans
There are reasons people switch their Medicare Supplement insurance plan.
You are paying for benefits you do not need.
You need or want more benefits than you needed before.
Your current Medigap policy has the right benefits but you want to change your insurance company.
You want to find a Medigap policy that is less expensive.
Before you switch do a very careful comparison of benefits. If you bought your policy before 2010, it may offer coverage that is not available in newer plans. If you bought your policy before 1992, your policy might not be a “guaranteed renewable policy.” It may have a bigger premium increase than newer Medigap plans available.
We Focus on Medicare Supplement Insurance
Established in 1999, the American Association for Medicare Supplement Insurance (AAMSI) is an organization created to created heightened understanding among consumers about Medicare Supplement (Medigap) insurance and to support insurance professionals who market Medicare insurance solutions.
AAMSI does not market or sell Medicare Supplement insurance products.
The organization hosts the industry’s Medicare Supplement insurance conference now held annually and maintains the nation’s largest online directory of Medicare Supplement insurance agents.
The Association’s Medicare Supplement Find An Agent online directory is designed to be a free service for consumers. Insurance agents pay a nominal fee to be listed and AAMSI does not screen or vet agents prior to them being posted. We always urge all consumers to make sure all information is provided in writing, that you make certain the insurance professional you work with is properly licensed in your State and that you read all material carefully.
Jesse Slome is founder of the organization and serves as director and producer of the Medicare Supplement industry conference. Slome also established insurance organizations focused on long-term care insurance (American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance) and short-term care insurance (National Advisory Center for Short-Term Care Information).