A Medicare supplement insurance policy is referred to as the Medigap. This helps in paying for health care costs, especially when the original Medicare fails to cover costs such as coinsurance, copayments and deductibles. These policies are sold by private companies.
There are Medigap policies providing coverage for services that was left uncovered by original Medicare. The Medicare now offers medical care even if you are outside the United States. Thus, having an original Medicare and buying a Medigap policy assures that you are in safe hands. This is because Medicare will pay the Medicare approved share amount for the health care costs and wherever essential the Medigap policy will pay its share.
A Medigap policy is completely different from the Medicare plan. The plans are to ensure Medicare benefits. In fact, a Medigap policy supplements all the original Medicare benefits.
Essential things to know about Medicare supplement plans (Medigap)
- There is a need to have both, Medicare Part A and B.
- You may apply for a Medigap policy, if you already have a Medicare Advantage plan. But ensure you are allowed to leave the Medicare Advantage plan before initiating the Medigap policy.
- A Medigap policy covers only one person. Thus, if husband and wife both require Medigap coverage, there is a need to get separate policies.
- The advantage is you can buy from any insurance company a Medigap policy, provided the insurance company is licensed to sell insurance in your state.
- Any Medigap policy that is standardized is guaranteed to be renewable even in case of health problems. It means the insurance company will not be able to cancel your Medigap policy until you are paying the due premiums.
- Medigap policies sold earlier covered some prescription drugs. However, from the year 2006, you are not permitted to include any drug prescription coverage. Conversely, now if you want the coverage for prescription drug, you may join (Part D) a Medicare prescription drug plan.
Thus anyone cannot sell a Medigap policy. However, if you already have a Medical saving account for Medicare as MSA plan, it will be considered illegal. The reason is that Medigap policies cover a lot of health care coverage, but does not cover dental or vision care, eyeglasses, hearing aids or any private duty nursing.
Dropping Medigap policy even to switch over should be done with care or else you end up paying enrollment penalty. For more information about Medigap click here.