What is Medicare Supplemental Insurance (i.e. Medigap)?

A Health Insurance (Medigap) policy, which is sold by private companies, to help pay some of the health care costs that Original Medicare doesn’t cover, like copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles. Some Medigap policies also offer coverage for services that Original Medicare does not cover, like medical care when you travel outside the U.S. If you have Original Medicare and you buy a Medigap policy, Medicare will pay its share of the Medicare-approved amount for covered health care costs. Then your Medigap policy pays its share.

8 things to know about Medigap policies:

1. You must have Medicare Part A and Part B.

2. If you have a Medicare Advantage Plan, you can apply for a Medigap policy, but make sure you can leave the Medicare Advantage Plan before your Medigap policy begins. This can only be done during “Annual Open Enrollment”. For 2016 coverage; the Open Enrollment Period is November 1, 2015 – January 31, 2016. Or during the Advantage Dis-enrollment period. Advantage Disenrollment Period (MADP), lasts from January 1st through February 14th

3. You pay the private insurance company a monthly premium for your Medigap policy in addition to the monthly Part B premium that you pay to Medicare.

4. A Medigap policy only covers one person. If you and your spouse both want Medigap coverage, you will each have to buy separate policies.

5. You can buy a Medigap policy from any insurance company or insurance agent that is licensed in your state to sell one.

6. Any standardized Medigap policy is guaranteed renewable even if you have health problems. This means the insurance company cannot cancel your Medigap policy as long as you pay the premium.

7. Some Medigap policies sold in the past cover prescription drugs, but Medigap policies sold after January 1, 2006 are not allowed to include prescription drug coverage.

8. It is illegal for anyone to sell you a Medigap Policy if you have a Medicare Medical Savings Account (MSA) plan, or are currently on Medicaid.