Medicare Supplement plans are often confused with Medicare Advantage, but they are vastly different. While Medicare Advantage is a way to add coverage options (dental, vision, prescription drugs, etc.) to your plan, Medicare Supplement is a way to add financial benefits (help paying for your copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles).
You may hear Medicare Supplements referred to as “Medigap” because they can help close the gap between what you need to pay and what you have coverage for.
Medigap plans, much like Medicare Advantage plans, can vary. Unlike Medicare Advantage plans, Medigap plans are organized by letter. Carriers label their plans by A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M, and N. Each letter represents different coverage levels and costs. These letters will apply to every state except Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Wisconsin only has one Medigap plan option, and Massachusetts and Minnesota only have two. An agent in your area can help you figure out what your options are.
Some Medigap policies provide coverage for prescription drugs as well. However, if your Medigap policy covers prescription drugs, you cannot also have a separate prescription drug plan.
Medigap policies will require a monthly premium that is separate from your Part B premium. Each letter option comes with different costs. Some have higher deductibles and lower premiums, and some are the reverse. You’ll have to pick the solution that works best for you. Additionally, some plans have out-of-pocket maximums while others don’t, and some plans cover skilled nursing while others don't. It all depends on your needs.
The first step to enrolling in Medigap is enrolling in Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) - you cannot have Medigap without having Original Medicare first. Additionally, you cannot have both Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement, so you’ll have to pick one or the other.
If you already have Original Medicare and think you may want to add on a Medicare Supplement policy, you can do that during the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) from October 15 through December 7 each year. If you have a special circumstance (lost or gained a job, moved to a new state, etc.), you may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) which will allow you to change or add plans during any time of the year.
One of our licensed and experienced agents can help you figure out what you’re eligible for and when you can enroll. Set up your free appointment by calling 1-844-431-1832.