Understanding the ins and outs of Medicare Supplement insurance can be challenging. So, we decided to put together a list of the top ten most asked questions about Medigap coverage. If you need a quick refresher, or you’re simply looking for an answer, you may find it here.
Q: Do I have to buy Medicare Supplement insurance to keep my Original Medicare?
A: No. Medicare Supplement insurance is optional insurance designed to help pay for some of the out-of-pocket expenses associated with Medicare, like deductibles, coinsurance, and copays.
Q: Can I Combine Medicare Supplement with a Medicare Advantage Plan?
A: Unfortunately, no. It would be nice to combine the extra benefits of an MA plan with the cost-saving benefits of Medigap. However, it is not allowed. In fact, it is against the law for private insurers to sell you a Medigap plan if they know you have Medicare Advantage.
Q: If I have Part A, but choose to delay Part B, can I still purchase Medicare Supplement insurance?
A: No. You must have both Part A and Part B coverage (Original Medicare) to be eligible for Medigap.
Q: Does Medigap cover both my spouse and me?
A: No. Medigap covers one individual at a time. If both you and your spouse wish to have Medicare Supplement coverage, you each need to have your own plan.
Q: Can my Medigap policy be canceled if my health deteriorates?
A: No. Standardized Medigap policies are “guaranteed renewable”. That means that even if your health deteriorates, as long as your premiums are paid on time, you cannot be forced out of your policy.
Q: Do any Medicare Supplement plans include prescription drug benefits?
A: No. In the past, some Medigap policies included drug coverage. However, policies sold after Jan 2006 do not.
Q: When should I enroll in Medicare Supplement?
A: The best time to buy a Medigap policy is when you are first eligible, during your Open Enrollment period. This is a 6-month period of time that begins the month you turn 65 and enroll in Part B. If you wait until after your enrollment period, you may not be able to buy a policy, or it could end up costing you more.
Q: Medigap policies are “standardized”. What does that mean?
A: All Medigap policies must follow federal laws. Standardized plans, named for letters of the alphabet, must offer the same basic benefits, regardless of who sells them. For example, a Plan “F” at one company must include the same basic benefits as a Plan “F” at another company.
Q: How much does Medicare supplement insurance cost?
A: Cost varies significantly, and insurance companies often charge different premiums for the same exact policy. The key to getting a good rate is to compare the same policies at a few different companies. Premiums differ between plans, but some states offer the Medicare SELECT option as a way to save money—you agree to use doctors and hospitals in the network in exchange for a reduced premium.
Q: What if I travel outside of the country? Does my Medicare Supplement insurance travel with me?
A: Plans C, D, F, G, M, and N include foreign travel emergency benefits. Medigap pays 80 percent of medically necessary emergency care outside the U.S. after you pay a $250 deductible. If you purchased Plan E, H, I, or J before June 1, 2010, you also have coverage.