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As long as you enroll during this six-month Medigap Open Enrollment Period, the insurance company cannot refuse to sell you a Medigap policy, charge you more because you have health problems, or make you wait for coverage to begin. However, you may have to wait up to six months for coverage of a pre-existing condition. Original Medicare will still cover that health problem even if your Medicare Supplement plan doesn’t cover your out-of-pocket costs.
Medigap (Medicare Supplement Health Insurance)
A Medigap policy is health insurance sold by private insurance companies to fill the “gaps” in Original Medicare Plan coverage. Medigap policies help pay some of the health care costs that the Original Medicare Plan doesn’t cover. If you are in the Original Medicare Plan and have a Medigap policy, then Medicare and your Medigap policy will each pay its share of covered health care costs. Generally, when you buy a Medigap policy you must have Medicare Part A and Part B. You will have to pay the monthly Medicare Part B premium ($96.40 in 2011 for most beneficiaries). In addition, you will have to pay a premium to the Medigap insurance company. As long as you pay your premium, your Medigap policy is guaranteed renewable. This means it is automatically renewed each year. Your coverage will continue year after year as long as you pay your premium. In some states, insurance companies may refuse to renew a Medigap policy bought before 1992. Insurance companies can only sell you a “standardized” Medigap policy. Medigap policies must follow Federal and state laws. These laws protect you. The front of a Medigap policy must clearly identify it as “Medicare Supplement Insurance.” It’s important to compare Medigap policies, because costs can vary. The standardized Medigap policies that insurance companies offer must provide the same benefits. Generally, the only difference between Medigap policies sold by different insurance companies is the cost. You and your spouse must buy separate Medigap policies.Your Medigap policy won’t cover any health care costs for your spouse. Some Medigap policies also cover other extra benefits that aren’t covered by Medicare. You are guaranteed the right to buy a Medigap policy under certain circumstances. For more information on Medigap policies, you may call 1-800-633-4227 and ask for a free copy of the publication “Choosing a Medigap Policy: A Guide to Health Insurance for People With Medicare.” You may also call your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) and your State Insurance Department. Phone numbers for these Departments and Programs in each State can be found in that publication.
Medicare Eligibility and Medicare Supplements
While you don’t have to pay a premium for Part A if you meet one of those conditions, you must pay for Part B if you want it. The Part B monthly premium in 2011 is $115.40. (Note: Most beneficiaries will continue to pay the same premium amount they pay today. For additional details, see our FAQ titled: Will my Medicare Part B premium increase in 2011 ?) It is deducted from your Social Security, Railroad Retirement, or Civil Service Retirement check. If you don’t get any of the above payments, Medicare sends you a bill for your Part B premium every 3 months.
Compare Medicare Supplement (Medigap) Plans and Rates in Your Area
"Times have changed since my mother had an AARP J plan and I was totally confused by the options available. Stan walked me through the process in a very educational, methodical, friendly way, and I feel secure now that we’re making the correct decision to provide the best possible coverage for my husband." – Pat K.
Medicare Supplement (Medigap) Insurance Plans
MedSupp plans can help pay Original Medicare’s copayments and deductibles. Each type of plan offers a different level of coverage, and is named with a different letter (such as Plan A). The plans are standardized, so that all plans of the same letter offer the same benefits. In other words, the benefits for a Medicare Supplement Plan D enrollee in Rhode Island are the same for a Medicare Supplement Plan D enrollee in Tennessee. However, the premiums can differ among these private insurance companies.