Medicare Supplement insurance is designed to cover a variety of out-of-pocket expenses not covered by Original Medicare coverage. These plans are also known by several names including Medigap, Med Supp, and Medicare Supplemental plans.
Types of Medicare Supplement Plans
The type of Medicare Supplement plan determines which deductibles and co-payments are covered by the insurance. In 47 of the United States, there are ten standardized Medicare Supplement plans. These standardized plan types are named with a letter (e.g. A) and all plans of the same letter offer the same benefits. In other words, the benefits for a Medicare Supplement Plan F enrollee in Florida are the same for a Medicare Supplement Plan F enrollee in Texas. Below is a summary of benefits offered by each of the ten standard Medicare Supplement plans:
|2012 Medicare Supplement Plans|
|Medicare Supplement Benefits||A||B||C||D||F*||G||K||L||M||N|
|Medicare Part A co-insurance hospital costs up to an additional 365 days after Medicare benefits are exhausted||X||X||X||X||X||X||X||X||X||X|
|Medicare Part B co-payment or co-insurance coverage||X||X||X||X||X||X||50%||75%||X||X***|
|First 3 pints of blood||X||X||X||X||X||X||50%||75%||X||X|
|Part A hospice care co-insurance or co-payment||X||X||X||X||X||X||50%||75%||X||X|
|Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) care co-insurance||X||X||X||X||50%||75%||X||X|
|Medicare Part A deductible||X||X||X||X||X||50%||75%||50%||X|
|Medicare Part B deductible||X||X|
|Medicare Part B 'excess charges'||X||X|
|Foreign travel emergency coverage (up to plan limits)||X||X||X||X||X||X|
|Medicare preventative care Part B co-insurance||X||X||X||X||X||X||X||X||X||X|
* There is also a high-deductible version of Plan F where beneficiaries pay costs up to a $2,070 deductible amount before the plan begins coverage.
** After the out-of-pocket limit is reached for plans K or L, the plan pays 100% of covered services for the remainder of the calendar year.
*** Plan N pays 100% of the Part B co-insurance costs except up to $20 copayment for office visits and up to $50 for emergency room visits.
Important Things to Note about Medicare Supplement Plans
- Prices may vary significantly for the same Medicare Supplement plan across different carriers so it is essential that you comparison shop before enrolling.
- Not every insurance company offering Medicare Supplement insurance offers all ten plan types. An insurer may choose only to offer a subset of plans
- Beneficiaries with Medigap plans often buy prescription drug plans since Medicare eliminated prescription drug coverage from Medicare Supplement coverage when Medicare Part D was offered.
- "Medicare SELECT" refers to a type of Medigap plan that requires beneficiaries to use hospitals and/or physicians within its network of healthcare providers in order to be eligible for full plan benefits. Any of the ten Medigap plan types can be offered in a Medicare SELECT version by an insurance company.