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 Supplement Plans
To be eligible to enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan, you must be enrolled in both Medicare Part A and Part B. A good time to enroll in a plan is generally during the Medigap Open Enrollment Period, which begins on the first day of the month that you are both age 65 or older and enrolled in Part B, and lasts for six months. During this period, you have the guaranteed-issue right to join any Medicare Supplement plan available where you live. You may not be denied coverage based on any pre-existing conditions during this enrollment period (although a waiting period may apply). If you miss this enrollment period and attempt to enroll in the future, you may be denied coverage or charged a higher premium based on your medical history.
Medicare Advantage vs. Medicare Supplement
10 types of Medigap plans are standardized in 47 states; each plan is labeled with a letter (such as Plan B). Once you decide which plan you want, you can compare different companies offering the same plan. For example, if you choose Plan B, you can look at the prices and any extra options that different companies might have for Plan B. You may also want to choose a health insurer you’re already comfortable with, or you can shop around for your best price — it’s up to you. You can use the plan comparison form on this page, or visit Medicare.gov.
Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period
As mentioned, the timing of your enrollment may affect your coverage choices and costs. In general, the best time to enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan is during your Medigap Open Enrollment Period. This is the six-month period that starts on first day of the month that you are both 65 or older and enrolled in Medicare Part B. Throughout this period, you can enroll in any Medigap plan offered in your service area with guaranteed issue. This means that insurance companies aren’t allowed to use your medical history or pre-existing conditions as the basis for charging you more for coverage or denying you altogether. If you have medical issues or disabilities, it’s especially important to take advantage of this period: Your Medigap Open Enrollment Period may be one of the few times that you have a guaranteed right to enroll in any Medicare Supplement plan in your area.
Medicare Plans for Different Needs
When it comes to Medicare, one size definitely does not fit all. What works for your neighbor may not be the best bet for you. Which is why it’s great to have choices. To find plans that may be a good fit for you, enter your ZIP code in the field below and click the "Find plans" button.
Get Medicare Supplemental Insurance Plan Quotes
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.