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Choosing a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) Policy

Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plans are a secondary insurance option to Original Medicare. Private insurance companies sell these plans to help cover the costs left behind once Medicare Parts A and B pay their portion. These plans reduce out-of-pocket expenses for enrollees and provide several benefits to policyholders.

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When choosing a Medigap policy, you must be informed about your options, as several plans are available with different price points and benefits. An uninformed decision could lead to future financial woes and roadblocks between you and the best coverage for your needs.

In the world of Medicare, it is easy to get lost in jargon, plan pricing, and available benefits. In our guide to choosing a Medigap policy, we review what you need to know to make an educated decision.

How To Choose a Medigap Policy?

When choosing a Medigap policy you should consider the cost, availability, and other factors.

When choosing a Medigap policy, it is crucial to consider your health needs and budget. Once you determine which benefits are most important to you and set your healthcare budget, you can begin choosing a Medigap policy.

Before choosing a Medigap policy, you must first enroll in Original Medicare, which consists of Medicare Part A (inpatient/hospital coverage) and Medicare Part B (outpatient/medical coverage). It is also wise to enroll in a Medicare Part D plan, as Original Medicare and Medigap do not include prescription drug coverage.

You must disenroll from your Medicare Advantage plan before choosing a Medigap policy. It is not possible to have Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement coverage simultaneously. Your opportunities to drop your Medicare Advantage plan include the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period, the Annual Enrollment Period, or a Special Enrollment Period if you are eligible.

Additionally, if you and your spouse want to enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan, you must sign up separately for your policies. It is not uncommon for spouses to choose different Medigap plans. The best coverage for your health needs may not fit your spouse.

How to Pick a Medigap Plan

The good news about Medicare Supplement plans is that they are standardized. Therefore, each plan of the same letter will provide the same benefits, regardless of carrier. Three states offer plans with different naming conventions, but the policies also offer standardized benefits.

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Additionally, you can use your Medigap plan anywhere that accepts Original Medicare. You cannot be denied because of your Medicare Supplement plan carrier. The most popular Medicare Supplement plans are Medicare Supplement Plan F, Plan G, and Plan N. These top plans offer the most comprehensive benefits across the U.S.

When deciding which plan is best for you, you should consider the following:

  • Monthly premium
  • Benefits
  • Carriers
  • Availability
  • Annual rate increases

When factoring in these different components, you are sure to find the best plan for you.

Consider Your Health Needs When Choosing a Medigap Policy

Before choosing a Medigap policy, consider your current and future healthcare needs. Since we can’t look into the future and know exactly when an illness may strike, it is essential to review family health history to understand what your health may look like as a senior.

Suppose your family has a history of significant health issues like cancer, heart attack, or stroke. In that case, enrolling in a Medigap plan is especially crucial as soon as you are eligible. This way, you are fully insured in an unexpected health event.

You may think basic health coverage is sufficient because you are not currently struggling with health issues. However, it is better to prepare for health issues rather than leave them uncovered if they appear later in life.

Without proper coverage, healthcare costs can become financially devastating. Your golden years are a time for relaxing and making memories with your family. A Medigap plan can help you do this by easing the burden of medical bills.

Consider Your Budget Needs When Choosing a Medigap Policy

When choosing a Medigap policy, your top concern is likely the monthly premium price. Multiple factors impact your Medigap premium rate. One of these factors is the letter plan you select. Plans with more benefits often have higher premiums than those with fewer benefits.

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While Medicare Supplement Plan F and Medicare Supplement Plan G offer the most comprehensive coverage, they also require a higher average Medicare Supplement cost than the other plan options. Given this information, consider your budget and health needs to find the right balance.

You will also want to consider whether your state allows Medicare Part B excess charges when choosing a Medigap policy. An excess charge is an additional 15% on top of the Medicare-approved amount for services from medical professionals who do not accept Medicare assignment.

Some plans cover excess charges while others do not. So, if your state allows them, you will want to enroll in a policy that covers these costs.

Without a Medigap plan, you are responsible for paying the Medicare Part B deductible, 20% of the cost of outpatient services, plus the Part A deductible and coinsurance.

These costs may seem small, but they pile up after just a few visits to the doctor or hospital. Thus, choosing a Medigap policy is crucial for your healthcare coverage.

Medigap plans keep your out-of-pocket costs as low as possible. Once Original Medicare pays its portion, your Medicare Supplement plan will cover its part. Depending on your Medigap plan, you could pay $0 out-of-pocket for your care.

Lastly, keep in mind that your premiums will gradually increase every year. The pricing method your carrier uses determines premium increases.

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How to Enroll After Choosing a Medigap Policy in 2024

When you decide you are ready to choose a Medigap plan, we are here to help select the right coverage for you. MedicareFAQ is where to buy Medigap insurance. Call the phone number above to speak with an agent licensed in your state.

Another way to receive a free, no-obligation Medigap premium rate comparison is to fill out our online rate form. An agent licensed in your state will reach out to you for the information we need to find a Medigap plan to fit your needs.

Sources

MedicareFAQ is dedicated to providing you with authentic and trustworthy Medicare information. We have strict sourcing guidelines and work diligently to serve our readers with accurate and up-to-date content.

  1. Compare Medigap Plan Benefits, Medicare. Accessed April, 2023.
    https://www.medicare.gov/health-drug-plans/medigap/basics/compare-plan-benefits
Kayla Hopkins

Kayla Hopkins

Content Editor
Kayla Hopkins is an accomplished writer and Medicare educator serving as the Editor of MedicareFAQ.com. Upon completing her Communications degree from Ohio University, Kayla dedicated her time to understanding the ever-evolving landscape of healthcare. With her extensive background as a Licensed Insurance Agent, she brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her writing.
Ashlee Zareczny

Ashlee Zareczny

Compliance Manager
Ashlee Zareczny is the Compliance Manager for MedicareFAQ. As a licensed Medicare agent in all 50 states, she is dedicated to educating those eligible for Medicare by providing the necessary resources and tools. Additionally, Ashlee trains new and tenured Medicare agents on CMS compliance guidelines. Ashlee is a Medicare expert who specializes in Medicare Supplement, Medicare Advantage, and Medicare Part D education.

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