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What is Medicare Supplement?

October 6, 2016

Looking for information on Medicare Supplement?

Medicare Part A and Part B (Original Medicare) may leave Medicare beneficiaries with deductibles, copayments, and other out-of-pocket expenses. Many Medicare beneficiaries enroll in Medicare Supplement plans, which may reduce their vulnerability to out-of-pocket expenses that might result from surgical procedures, tests, and other medical services. There are 10 standardized Medicare Supplement insurance plans in 47 states, each covering a different range of Medicare’s out-of-pocket costs. Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Wisconsin have different standardized plans.

Medicare Supplement plans (Medigap coverage) overview

Medicare Supplement (also known as MedSup or Medigap) coverage, is health insurance sold by private insurance companies to fill the “gaps” in Medicare Part A and Part B coverage. If you’re enrolled in a Medicare Supplement plan, your Medigap policy will pay for a portion of your out-of-pocket health-care costs that Original Medicare does not cover.

In most cases, to qualify for a Medicare Supplement policy, you must have Medicare Part A and Part B. If you’re married, you and your spouse cannot share the same Medicare Supplement policy; your Medicare Supplement plan won’t cover any health-care costs for your spouse.

Medigap plans sold today don’t cover prescription drugs.  If you decide to supplement your Original Medicare coverage with a Medicare Supplement plan, you can also enroll in a stand-alone Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan to cover your medications.

In conclusion, beneficiaries may choose to structure their Medicare choices in different ways. One way is to enroll in Original Medicare, Part A and Part B, and (optionally) add a Medigap plan and/or a stand-alone Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan. Another way is to get your Original Medicare benefits through a Medicare Advantage plan. Medicare Advantage provides all of your Part A and Part B coverage through a private company approved by Medicare. (The exception is hospice care, which Part A still covers.) Medicare Advantage plans often include prescription drug coverage and sometimes other benefits, such as routine vision services.

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