Many beneficiaries choose to get their Medicare benefits through Original Medicare, the fee-for-service coverage under which the federal government pays your health care providers directly for services and supplies included in your Part A and/or Part B insurance. Original Medicare does cover many medical expenses, but millions of beneficiaries have enrolled in supplementary insurance to help pay for the sometimes overwhelming out-of-pocket costs.
America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) has reported, “Medigap coverage is a vital lifeline to more than 10 million Medicare beneficiaries.” Medigap policies, also referred to as Medicare Supplement or “Med Supp” plans, are sold by private insurance companies. Every Medigap policy must follow federal and state laws designed to protect you, and the policy must be clearly identified as “Medicare Supplement Insurance.” In most states, standardized policies are identified by letters A through N. All of the policies must offer the same basic benefits, but many offer additional coverage as well. For instance, all Medigap policies must cover Part A and Part B coinsurance costs, blood, and additional hospital benefits not covered by Original Medicare, but some Medigap policies can also include:
- Part A coinsurance and hospital costs up to 365 days after Medicare benefits have been used up
- Part B coinsurance and copayments
- Three pints of blood
- Part A Hospice care coinsurance or copayment
- Part A deductible
- Part B deductible
- Skilled nursing facility care coinsurance
- Medical care during foreign travel (up to plan limits)
Costs can differ between the same plan in the same state, so comparing plans before enrolling is crucial.
Frequently Asked Questions
 New Report: Medigap Enrollment Continues to Increase; AHIP Coverage; May 20, 2013; www.ahipcoverage.com/2013/05/20/new-report-medigap-enrollment-continues-to-increase