What is Medicare Supplement or "MEDIGAP" Insurance?
Medicare Supplement or "Medigap" insurance is made to supplement or "fill the gaps" in the benefits of original medicare (Parts A and B). A beneficiary must be enrolled in both Parts of Medicare to apply. Medigap policies must follow federal and state laws, and they must be identified as “Medicare Supplement Insurance.” Insurance companies can sell you only a standardized policy identified in most states by letters A through D, F through G, and K through N. All policies offer the same basic benefits.
Simply put, Medicare Supplements are standardized to be the same between companies. This means that a plan G is a plan G, no matter where you purchase it. It is almost akin to buying a brand-name product at a grocery store; it does not matter which grocery store you go to, you still will be purchasing the same brand name product. The only difference is that you will pay a different price dependent on where it was purchased!
Why Should I choose a Medicare Supplement Plan?
Medicare Supplements can be of a benefit to clients who are looking to pay a reasonable monthly premium for comprehensive coverage. Cost beneficial and comprehensive Medicare Supplement plans usually require the beneficiaries to pay a monthly premium and a small deductible ($185 once a year for part B), which results in full freedom within the Medicare network, no copays, and no coinsurance. This gives most clients piece of mind; knowing that you are covered for virtually anything, anywhere in the United States, and the payments are controlled.
What are the most popular Medicare Supplements?
The most common Medicare Supplement plans are plans F, G, and N. Plan F is the most comprehensive policy, requiring the payment of a monthly premium before receiving comprehensive benefits. Unfortunately, Plan F will no longer be available to new Medicare beneficiaries after 2020. Those that already have the plan may remain.
Plan G is identical to plan F, but has a lower premium and requires first meeting the Part B deductible ($185 for 2019). Although plan G requires the responsibility of the $185 deductible once each year, the annual savings in comparison to the plan F far surpass the deductible cost. For clients that are looking for the most comprehensive, but most cost beneficial plan, Plan G is the answer.
Plan N is similar to plan G, but requires up to a $20 copay at the physician and up to a 50$ copay at the ER, and does not cover part B excess charges. For those that do not use provider services often, this can be of a great savings. Some plan N premiums fall up to 25$ a month less than the plan G, which is only truly saved if you are not using the doctor every month. For those frequent fliers, or those using specialists that may charge excess, this may not be the right choice.
Plan C is the only supplement offered to those on Medicare under 65 due to disability. It does offer comprehensive benefits minus part B excess, but the premium is slightly higher than other comparable plans. Those over 65 can still purchase the plan C, but it may not be cost beneficial.