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What is Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap)?

Medicare Supplement insurance is often also referred to as “Medigap”. It is an insurance plan provided by private companies to cover costs that Part A and B do not cover. Below are some key points about Mediap:

  • Enrollment in Part A and B is mandatory to enroll in Medigap.
  • In addition to paying a premium for Part B, there is also a premium for Medigap.
  • Plans sold after Jan. 1, 2006 do not provide coverage for prescription drugs. For drug coverage, enrollment in Part D is necessary.
  • One cannot be enrolled in both Medicare Advantage and Medigap at once.
  • Items not covered under Medigap include long-term care, vision care, dental care, hearing aids, eyeglasses or private nursing. Moreover, Medigap plans should not be confused with HMP, PPO, Fee-for-Service Plan, Medicaid, employer plans, TRICARE, Veterans’ benefits, long-term care policies, Indian Health Service, Tribal and Urban Indian Plans which are different.

Enrollment Times for Medicare Supplement

Stage of Life Enrollment Periods
Just turned 65
  • 3 months before turning 65
  • Month of 65th birthday
  • 3 months after turning 65
Just turned 65 but has a disability
  • 3 months before the 25th month where the individual may receive benefits for Social Security or disability
  • Through duration of 25th month where individual is receiving disability benefits
  • 3 months after the 25th month of receiving disability benefits
Turned 65 and eligible for Medicare as a result of disability
  • 3 months before turning 65
  • Month of 65th birthday
  • 3 months after turning 65
Enrolled in Part A. Enrolled in Part B from Jan. 1 to Mar. 31
  • Apr. 1 and Jun. 30
Do not have Part A, but enrolled in Part B between Jan. 1 and Mar. 31
  • Apr. 1 and Jun. 30
Open Enrollment Period
  • Oct. 15 to Dec. 7
Part C Disenrollment Timings
  • Jan. 1 to Feb. 14

Important Questions to Ask When Shopping for a Medicare Supplement Plan

  1. When I enroll in this plan, what additional benefits will I get?
  2. What is the monthly premium associated with this plan?
  3. Is the plan community-rated, issue-age rate or attained-age rated?
  4. Is vision care, hearing care, dental coverage and prescription drug coverage included in the plan?
  5. Will there be out of pocket costs?
  6. If I leave my area or move, will I still be covered?
  7. What are the financials associated with my plan? (e.g. premiums, deductibles and copayments)
  8. What additional coverage do I have in comparison to Part A and B?
  9. Will the plan cover my prescription drugs?
  10. What will happen to my old plan once I enroll in a new supplement plan?

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