In the United States, Medicare supplement insurance (also known as Medicare supplemental insurance or Medigap) supplements Medicare. In addition to covering co-pays and co-insurance, Medigap also covers ambulance, durable medical equipment, and doctor charges due to Medicare coverage.
It is named Medigap because it exists to cover the "gap" between the amount reimbursed to providers by Medicare Parts A and B and the amount authorized by CMS.
According to the American Association for Medicare Supplement Insurance, approximately 14 million Americans had Medicare Supplement insurance in 2018.
Medigap policy comparison
Insurance companies can only sell you a "standardized" policy identified in most states by letters, and it must follow federal and state laws designed to protect you.
Each policy offers the same basic benefits, but some offer additional benefits, so you can select the one that meets your needs. Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Wisconsin standardized Medigap policies differently.
State laws might influence which Medigap policies insurance companies sell. Each insurance company decides which Medigap policies to sell. Medigap policies are sold by the following insurance companies:
- Offer only certain Medigap plans
- Any Medigap policy must include Medigap Plan A
- If they offer any plan, they must also offer Plan C or Plan F
Costs of Medigap insurance
Variables such as the type of Medigap plan you enroll in, your location, and the company selling the policy can affect the cost.
There is a premium associated with each Medigap policy. Each policy may have its own specific amount. Insurers can set premiums for their policies in three ways:
Community rated. The monthly premium is the same for everyone regardless of age.
Issue-age rated. Younger buyers pay lower monthly premiums because they purchase a policy at a younger age. As you age, your premiums do not increase.
Attained-age rated. Depending on your age, you will be charged a monthly premium. As you age, your premiums will increase.
It is important to note that Medigap plans sold to people who are newly eligible for Medicare cannot cover the Part B deductible. As a result, Plans C and F won't be available to those newly eligible for Medicare on or after January 1, 2020. Plan C or F (or the high deductible version of Plan F) already exists or was in effect before January 1, 2020, you can keep it. You may be able to buy one of these plans if you were eligible for Medicare before January 1, 2020, but not yet enrolled.
Comparing multiple Medigap plans is essential if you are considering enrolling in one. The information can help you determine how much your monthly premiums will be.