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Original Medicare pays for many, but not all, health care services and supplies. A Medicare Supplement (Medigap) policy, sold by private insurance companies, can help pay some of the health care costs (“gaps”) that Original Medicare does not cover, like copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles. 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, both plans will pay their share of Medicare-approved amounts for covered health care costs. Medicare does not pay any of the costs for a Medigap policy.
Every Medicare Supplement policy must follow federal and state laws designed to protect you and it must be clearly identified as “Medicare Supplement Insurance.” Medicare Supplement insurance companies can sell you only a “standardized” Medicare Supplement policy identified in most states by letters, Plans A through N*. The policies are standardized; the benefits for a particular plan are the same for each insurance company within a state **. The primary difference is the cost, but factors like underwriting and rating methodology can also vary from company to company, and state to state. Because insurance companies may charge different premiums for exactly the same Medigap coverage, as you shop for a Medigap policy, be sure you are comparing the same Medigap policy (for example, compare Plan A from one company with Plan A from another company).
* Effective June 1, 2010, the types of Medicare Supplement Plans that you can buy changed:
** Note: In Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, Medigap policies are standardized in a different way.
Though policies with the same name cover the same benefits, the price may differ from company to company. Insurance companies offering Medicare Supplement plans set their own premiums that can be priced, or "rated," according to your community, the age at which you purchased the policy or the age you are during each year you hold the policy.
Because you need to have Medicare Part A and Part B to get a Medicare Supplement policy, you have to pay the monthly Medicare Part B premium as well as a premium to the Medicare Supplement insurance company.
Each insurance company decides how it will set the price, or premium, for its Medicare Supplement policies. It is important to ask how an insurance company prices its policies. The way they set the price affects how much you pay now and in the future.
You may enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan during the six month period starting on the first day of the month in which you are 65 years or older and enrolled in Medicare Part B. (Some states have additional open enrollment periods.). After this initial enrollment period, your option to buy a Medicare Supplement policy may be limited.
If you apply for a Medicare Supplement plan, you have a "free look" period of 30 days to decide if you like your new policy. The 30-day period begins on the first day the policy is active. If you decide to cancel your policy during the "free look" period, and if you are inside your Open Enrollment Period, you can apply and be approved for a new Medicare Supplement plan. If you are outside your Open Enrollment Period, your application can be declined. This is why people who are applying for a new Medicare Supplement plan should not cancel any current plan until they are approved for the new plan.
If you have a Medicare Supplement policy and join a Medicare Advantage Plan (like an HMO or PPO), you may want to consider dropping your Medicare Supplement policy. You can continue to pay your Medigap premium, but your policy can’t be used to pay your Medicare Advantage Plan copayments and deductibles.
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The purpose of this communication is the solicitation of insurance. Contact will be made by an insurance agent/producer or insurance company.
Limitations, copayments, and restrictions may apply. Benefits, premium and/or copayments/coinsurance may change on January 1, of each year.
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Blue Cross Blue Shield - Illinois
Blue Cross Blue Shield - Montana
Blue Cross Blue Shield - New Mexico
Blue Cross Blue Shield - Oklahoma
Blue Cross Blue Shield - Texas
Blue Shield of California
Capital Blue Cross
Cigna Health Spring
Premera Blue Cross
Scott & White
Vibra Health Plan
Last Revised 11/15/2017