About The Plans

How does Medicare supplement insurance work?

While Medicare Parts A and B (also called "Original Medicare") cover some health care costs, they don't pay for everything. That's where a Medicare Supplement Insurance policy may help. Medicare supplement insurance policies (also called "Medigap") from private insurers complement your Medicare coverage. These policies help cover some of your out-of-pocket expenses not paid by Medicare.

Standardized Medicare supplement insurance policy benefits are set by the federal government. That means the basic benefit structure for each policy is the same, no matter which insurance company is selling it to you.

Some plan features are:

The benefits of a Medicare supplement policy.

Policy costs vary depending on the policy benefits you choose. You may choose among policies that provide a benefit for:

You pay a monthly premium and some out-of-pocket costs for your Medigap.

So, what is Original Medicare?

Medicare Parts A and B are also called Original Medicare. This part is pretty simple: Medicare is a health insurance program for people age 65 and over, people under the age of 65 with certain disabilities, and people of any age with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD).

Are you wondering if you're eligible? Let's take a closer look.

If you're turning 65 you can enroll in Medicare. Enrollment begins three months before the month you turn 65, includes the month of your birthday, and continues for three months after your birth month. Whether that birthday is approaching or if you're already 65, you're eligible if:

If you're under 65 and have a disability you're eligible if:

What is covered by Medicare Parts A and B?

Now that we've reviewed what Original Medicare is and who is eligible, let's take a quick look at exactly what is covered.

Medicare Part A is hospital coverage. It covers:

Medicare Part B is medical coverage. It covers:

While Medicare Parts A and B help to cover some of your health care costs, they won't cover everything (you may have to pay copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles). You may want to complement your Medicare coverage. That's where a Medicare Supplement Insurance policy may be able to help defray expenses.

What is Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage)?

Medicare Advantage plans are Medicare-approved, but offered by private insurers. These Medicare plans combine Part A and Part B, and often Part D prescription drug benefits into one plan. Some Medicare Advantage plans also offer vision, dental, hearing and/or health and wellness programs at an extra cost.

There are a few key things you should know about Medicare Advantage plans:

Medicare Advantage plans pay a fixed dollar amount for covered services, but you will still need to pay your Part B premium and (depending on your plan):

Note: If you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, you cannot also have a Medicare Supplement Insurance policy. If you have a Medicare Advantage Plan, you can still apply for a Medigap policy. You simply have to leave the Medicare Advantage Plan before your Medigap policy begins.

What is Medicare Part D (Prescription Drug Coverage)?

Once you have Medicare Parts A and/or B (Original Medicare), you are able to purchase a Part D plan separately. These plans exist to help cover prescription drug costs. Costs vary from plan to plan, since various Medicare-approved private insurers offer these plans. Part D works with a Medicare supplement insurance policy or on its own, and you can get Part D benefits through some Part C plans.

There are some important things to know about coverage and payment with Part D plans. Each year Part D pays for:

You will be responsible for paying:

Now that you've gotten an overview of the different types of Medicare and Medicare-related insurance plan options available, let's see how a Medicare Supplement Insurance policy may be able to help you out.