Senior Medicare Supplemental Insurance: What It Is and How You Enroll

by | Sep 7, 2023

There are so many ins and outs to understanding Medicare and all its programs. And, if you’ve spent any time researching Medicare, you’ve probably heard about Medicare Supplemental Insurance.

While there are many benefits to Medicare Supplemental Insurance, or Medigap, the add-on insurance policies make a complicated system even more confusing.

If you’re trying to decide if you need Medigap and don’t know where to start, we’ve put together this quick guide for you.

What is Medicare Supplemental Insurance?

Medicare Supplemental Insurance, also called Medigap, is a private health insurance policy that works to supplement Medicare policies.

Or fill in any gaps, giving it the name Medigap.

While many Medicare policies cover a majority of medical costs, there are still some things that need to be paid out of pocket. If you have a Medigap policy, once your Medicare makes its share of the payment, the supplemental insurance will pay its portion. This leaves you with fewer medical costs.

Just like Medicare, there are multiple Medigap plans you can choose from to best complement your existing policy. Depending on what plan you pick, your supplemental insurance could cover things like:

  • Deductibles
  • Co-Payments
  • Co-Insurance

However, it’s important to keep in mind that Medigap doesn’t pay for prescriptions, which requires a separate Medicare plan (Plan D).

Benefits of Medicare Supplemental Insurance

As you can imagine, any health insurance policy that boosts an existing Medicare policy has its benefits.

The biggest of these benefits is that having Medigap lowers what you need to pay out of pocket for your healthcare. As you get older, your healthcare costs will naturally increase. You can protect your health, and your bank account, by getting a Medigap policy to cover what Medicare doesn’t.

Another benefit of Medicare Supplemental Insurance is there are ten plans you can choose between. Just like Medicare, Medigap has a variety of options designed to best fill the gaps for different health insurance needs. By having so many options, you’ll be covered for exactly what you need and won’t have to pay for what you don’t need.

Medigap plans complement Medicare insurance policies, which means they were designed to work together. Because of how they work, you won’t have to make any extra effort once you have Medigap. After Medicare pays for its portion of your bills, it sends the rest on to Medigap. With supplemental insurance, you get the benefit of extra coverage without any more work.

Finally, standardized Medigap policies are guaranteed renewable. This means that as long as you pay your premium, your policy can’t be cancelled. Why this is so beneficial is if you buy your plan when you’re younger and healthier, you’ll still get the same coverage as you get older and experience more health problems.

Medicare Supplemental Insurance really is a great way for seniors to get fuller healthcare coverage.

How Do You Enroll in Medicare Supplemental Insurance?

The absolute best time for you to enroll in a Medicare Supplemental Insurance program is during the open enrollment period. Your Medigap Open Enrollment Period starts when you are enrolled in Medicare Part B and are also aged 65 or older.

This is extremely important to remember!

During the six month period after you turn 65 and are enrolled in Medicare Part B, insurance companies with Medigap plans have to give you a plan without any medical underwriting. While there are stipulations if you have a pre-existing condition, during your open enrollment period, an insurance company can’t refuse to sell you a Medigap policy. More importantly, they can’t charge you more if you have health problems.

And, during your open enrollment, insurance companies can’t make you wait for your coverage to take effect.

There are ways you can enroll after your open enrollment period, but those are only under specific circumstances.

To find insurance companies in your state that sell Medicare Supplemental Insurance policies, check online or contact your State Health Insurance Assistance Program.


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