Medicare Supplements (Medigap)

by David Bynon, last updated

Medicare Supplements are additional insurance policies that Medicare beneficiaries can purchase to cover the gaps in their Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B) health insurance coverage. Dubbed Medigap by the federal Medicare program, these policies help pay some of the deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance shared costs that are built into Medicare.

In all but three states, Medicare supplements are standardized into 10 lettered Medigap plans (A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M, and N). Each lettered plan, regardless of which insurance carrier offers it, has the same benefits. So, if you buy a Plan F policy from AARP, for example, it will have all of the same features, benefits, and coverages as a Plan F policy from Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield, etc.

The only difference Medicare supplement insurance companies can make to their policies is the monthly premium, how they calculate the monthly premium, and the premium increases.

Also, because supplemental Medicare insurance is not health insurance (it is a form of indemnity insurance), insurance carriers are not obligated to sell a policy. The only obligation to sell a policy is when a Medicare beneficiary has a guaranteed issue right, which, for most people, only happens when they turn age 65.

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