More than 10 million Medicare beneficiaries are enrolled in Medicare supplement plans, also referred to as Medigap plans. These plans are designed to fill in the gaps of traditional Medicare coverage, such as Part A and Part B deductibles and co-payments.
Sometimes people refer to Medicare Advantage as a supplement. An agent cannot legally do this, as it creates confusion and Medicare strictly prohibits it. Medicare Advantage and Medicare supplement are two entirely different types of Medicare insurance.
Here are some of the primary advantages of using Medicare supplement coverage:
- No network restrictions
- Freedom to choose your doctors and hospitals
- No referrals needed to see a specialist
- Nationwide coverage – you can use it anywhere in the US
Comparing the Medigap Choices
Every year, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services puts out a publication titled, “Medicare and You,” along with the year in the title. Each year they include a chart that shows the coverage that each lettered plan provides. You can check out the Medicare supplement comparison chart on this page.
The plans are labeled A-N. This is where some confusion can enter because there are Medigap Plans A – D and Parts A-D of Medicare. We get into the Parts and Plans of Medicare in this blog post and the included video on the page. Hopefully, that can help sort out some of the confusion for you.
How the Plans Work
Some Medicare supplements cover basic benefits. There are also Medigap policies that cover all the gaps, leaving you zero out-of-pocket costs. There are others where you take on some of the cost-sharing and in return, you get a lower monthly premium.
For many years, Medicare supplement policies from different insurance companies were allowed to offer whatever benefits they wanted to offer. This made it really difficult for people to compare apples to apples. So in 1990, Congress standardized the plans. The benefits for a Plan G, for example, must be uniform from one insurance company to the next. A Plan G from UnitedHealthcare is identical in coverage to a Plan G with Cigna, Aetna, Mutual of Omaha, or any other company.
One of our licensed insurance agents who specializes in Medicare supplements can help you determine which one best suits you. Call us at the number below or use the form at the right of the page to send us your questions.