Some Medigap 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 will pay its share of the Medicare-approved amount for covered health care costs. Then your Medigap policy pays its share.
Medicare.gov: the official U.S. government site for Medicare
Medicare: What Are Medigap Plans?
If you are going to buy a Medigap plan, the open enrollment period is six months from the first day of the month of your 65th birthday — as long as you are also signed up for Medicare Part B — or within six months of signing up for Medicare Part B. During this time, you can buy any Medigap policy at the same price a person in good health pays. If you try to buy a Medigap policy outside this window, there is no guarantee that you’ll be able to get coverage. If you do get covered, your rates might be higher.
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.
Compare Medigap Insurance Plans
Enter your ZIP code to compare quotes from top insurance companies on Medigap.com. Prices vary from company to company, so shop around for the best prices. Medicare supplement insurance is available in up to 10 standardized insurance plans. Each plan is named with a letter of the alphabet. In Massachusetts, Minnesota and Wisconsin there are different standardized plan options available.
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: What Are Medigap Plans?
However, you may have to wait up to six months for coverage if you have a pre-existing health condition. The insurer through which you buy your Medigap policy can refuse to cover out-of-pocket costs during that period. After six months, the Medigap policy must cover the pre-existing condition. The exception to this rule is if you buy a Medigap policy during your open enrollment period and have had continuous “creditable coverage,” or a health insurance policy for the six months before buying a policy. The Medigap insurance company cannot withhold coverage for a pre-existing condition in that case.