Medicare Supplement Plans are private insurance plans that can be added on to Original Medicare.
These plans are optional, but they can help reduce what you pay for your share of Medicare costs.
These plans, also called Medigap plans, can help pay for Medicare deductibles and copayments.
Medigap can only be added to Original Medicare, not Medicare Advantage.
Medicare Supplement Plans, also known as Medigap plans, are optional insurance plans that you can add on to your Original Medicare. These private plans can be used to help pay for your share of the cost for Medicare-covered services.
There are several types of Medigap plans, and each has different coverage, rates and availability. Because Medigap plans are private insurance plans, you might not be able to find the same plans or rates everywhere. You will need to check with insurance companies in your area to find out what specific plans are offered and how much they will cost.
Find a local Medicare plan that fits your needs
There are ten types of Medigap plans that are named with letters (like Plan A and Plan D), plus high-deductible versions of two of these plans (Medigap Plans F and Plan G). The federal government has rules for what each Medigap plan has to cover (so coverage will not vary based on the insurance company that offers it), but not every insurance company offers every type of plan.
All Idaho Medigap plans will cover:
- Medicare Part A coinsurance for hospital and hospice care
- Medicare Part B coinsurance and copayments
- Blood needed for medical procedures (first 3 pints in a year)
Some Idaho Medigap plans will also cover:
- Part A coinsurance for skilled nursing care facility
- Part A deductible
- Part B excess charges
- Up to 80% of foreign travel emergency healthcare
You can compare each of the 12 available Medigap plans in this side-by-side comparison chart. Each of these plans is offered in Idaho, but availability may vary between insurance companies and zip codes. Plans C and F can no longer be sold to people who became eligible for Medicare after January 1, 2020. This is the result of a change that prohibits plans from fully covering Part B deductibles.
Medigap plan costs can vary between insurance companies. Some plans also determine costs based on your age, while others price premiums based on the market rather than age.
Prices vary by plan type and insurance company, but Medigap premiums range from about $90 to $675 per month for standard plans in 2022 and $38 to $175 per month for high-deductible plans in Idaho. Most plans offer full coverage of Part B copayments and coinsurance, too.
Original Medicare pays healthcare costs first. Then Medigap plans can be used to cover your share of deductibles, copayments or coinsurance you are left with after your Medicare benefits are paid. Although you will pay a premium for your Medigap coverage, the cost of your Medigap premium is often less than you would pay for out-of-pocket costs without a supplemental plan.
You may also consider using a Medicare Advantage plan instead of Original Medicare with Medigap coverage. A GoHealth licensed insurance agent can help you find the right fit based on your budget and your healthcare needs.
Are you eligible for cost-saving Medicare subsidies?
If you are eligible for Original Medicare, you are eligible for Medigap. It’s best to buy a Medigap plan when you are first eligible for Medicare, as you may not be able to purchase one later — and you could pay more if you do.
You will get the best prices and the most choices during your initial six-month Medigap open enrollment period. This period begins the first month you have Medicare Part B coverage. During this period, insurance companies are required to accept your application for coverage and cannot charge you higher premiums based on your health. After this period, they can choose to deny coverage or charge you more for the same plan.
If you’ve decided to add a supplement plan to your Original Medicare coverage, you should start by reviewing the different types of plans to see what will best fit your needs. Next, compare which insurance companies offer those plans. You can use Medicare’s online plan finder tool to help you locate plans and providers in your zip code. Or you can call GoHealth to speak to one of our licensed insurance agents, who can help you compare Medigap plans to find the one that will best fit your needs.
At one point, Medigap plans were allowed to include prescription drug coverage. That changed in 2006. If you bought a Medigap plan before January 1, 2006 that includes this coverage, you can keep it. But if you ever remove your drug coverage you won’t be able to add it back on later.
While you can’t include prescription coverage in your Medigap plan anymore, you can still get medication coverage through Medicare. To get prescription drug coverage, you will need to purchase a Medicare Part D plan.
If you do have drug coverage from a Medigap plan purchased before 2006, you cannot be enrolled in a Part D plan at the same time.
What extra benefits and savings do you qualify for?
Medigap plans can only be added to Original Medicare, so if you have opted to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, you will have to contact the insurance company that supplies your Medigap coverage and cancel your policy.
Medicare Advantage plans combine all of the elements of Original Medicare plus optional services like drug coverage, hearing and vision coverage, and more.
If you switch from Original Medicare with a Medigap plan to a Medicare Advantage plan and you’re not happy with your choice, you will have a one-time, 12-month period during which you can switch back to your old Medigap plan or choose a new one.
Anyone who can enroll in Original Medicare can purchase a Medigap plan. Just remember, if you don’t sign up during your initial eligibility period, which is a six-month period that begins the first month you are enrolled in Medicare Part B, the insurance company providing the plan may be able to deny you coverage or charge you more based on your health or other health conditions.
The price of your Medigap plan depends on the type of plan you choose. Most plans require a monthly premium payment, and might pay a portion of copayments and deductibles for different types of services.
Medigap plans purchased before January 1, 2006 could cover prescription medications. Now, you can only add drug coverage with the purchase of a Medicare Part D plan.
Medigap plans can only be added to Original Medicare. Medicare Advantage plans already offer additional services beyond Original Medicare, so supplemental insurance can’t be combined with these plans.
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