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Secondary Insurance for Medicare


Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plans are the most popular secondary insurance for Medicare. Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Part B) covers your healthcare bills first, making it primary coverage. But, Original Medicare doesn’t pay for 100% of your costs. So, a Medicare Supplement plan is beneficial to have in place to protect you from unexpected medical costs.

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If you’re looking for the best secondary insurance for Medicare, it’s wise to become familiar with what each Medigap plan includes. The right policy for you depends on your present and future needs. We’re here to help you better understand the concept of Medigap as secondary insurance.

What is Medicare Secondary Insurance?

Medicare Supplement plans are secondary insurance for individuals who receive Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B. Because Original Medicare only covers a portion of your costs, these policies are available to fill in the gaps. This helps reduce your out-of-pocket costs.

Most states offer 10 different options for Medigap coverage, each with varying levels of benefits, plus two high-deductible versions. Each plan is subject to federal regulations, ensuring that the benefits are the same regardless of the carrier, which is known as standardization. Also, not every carrier offers all Medigap plans. Thus, researching your options ahead of time is essential.

The plans that provide more coverage tend to be more costly. When choosing a Medigap plan, consider the amount of coverage you need as well as the monthly premium.

How Medicare Secondary Insurance Works

When you have two insurance policies that cover the same kinds of risks, one of them is primary and the other is secondary.

For example, suppose you have Original Medicare along with Medicare Supplement Plan G. Original Medicare will be your primary health insurance, and the Medigap plan is secondary. If you go to the doctor, Medigap Plan G will cover the remainder of the cost for which you would otherwise be responsible.

What is Secondary Insurance to Employer Coverage?

Medicare recipients who are still working might have a large employer group health plan. In this case, Medicare becomes secondary to the employer plan. It is also possible to delay Medicare Part B if you reach age 65 and have creditable coverage through your employer. Your individual circumstances will determine which option is best for you.

Yet, those without creditable coverage who delay enrollment into Medicare Part B could incur a Part B late enrollment penalty. This penalty never goes away. Thus, you’ll want to ensure you avoid it at all costs.

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Primary vs. Secondary Medicare Plans

Original Medicare is primary to a Medicare Supplement plan because it pays first. Medigap is secondary because it covers the remaining costs. However, if Medicare does not cover the service you receive, your secondary insurance will not pay. Medigap plans only pay for services Original Medicare covers.

Yet, Medigap is not the only type of insurance that can be secondary to Medicare. For example, those with TRICARE For Life may use these benefits as their secondary coverage. A series of rules known as the coordination of benefits decides the order of payment in each case. Sometimes, although rarely, there can be up to three insurance payers.

Supplemental vs. Secondary Insurance for Medicare

Medicare Supplements provide extra benefits for services covered by Original Medicare. Thus, your Medigap plan will always be secondary to Medicare. There is no instance in which a Medigap policy is primary.

On the other hand, Medicare Part D is prescription drug coverage, which is supplemental insurance. Dental, vision, and hearing policies are also available to supplement your existing coverage.

Supplemental coverage allows you to add more benefits for services not covered by Original Medicare. You can think of supplemental insurance as extra benefits whereas secondary insurance is a continuation of your current benefits.

How Much is Medicare Secondary Insurance?

The cost of Medicare secondary insurance depends on the secondary plan you choose. Of the 12 total available Medigap plans, each plan offers different benefits and, in turn, monthly premiums. These premiums can range anywhere from $40 a month to $500 a month or more.

Monthly premium costs are heavily based on your age, health, gender, and ZIP Code. The combination of these factors will determine how much you pay each month for secondary coverage for Medicare.

What is the Best Secondary Insurance for Medicare?

The best secondary insurance for Medicare really depends on your health and budget. If you want a plan to cover all the costs Original Medicare leaves behind, Medigap Plan F or Plan G might be your best option. If you are looking for more basic coverage that allows you to have a safety net in case of an emergency, Medigap Plan N might be the right option for you.

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Regardless of the Medigap plan you choose, it is essential to compare carriers to ensure you receive the best monthly premium possible. Since benefits are standardized, company rating and rate increase history are two of the most important determining factors when deciding on a Medigap company.

Enlisting the help of a licensed Medicare agent can help you make the right decision on a plan and carrier.

How to Get Secondary Insurance for Medicare

Medicare Supplements can provide extra coverage as a secondary insurance option. If Medicare is your primary health insurance, a Medigap policy can safeguard against excessive costs.

To start comparing secondary insurance for Medicare today, call the phone number above. As another option, fill out our online rate form to receive a free side-by-side plan comparison with the top companies in your area.

A licensed agent will prepare a premium rate comparison for you. We have helped countless individuals obtain the best secondary insurance for their Medicare, and we would be happy to do the same for you.

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Jagger Esch

Jagger Esch is the Medicare expert for MedicareFAQ and the founder, president, and CEO of Elite Insurance Partners and MedicareFAQ.com. Since the inception of his first company in 2012, he has been dedicated to helping those eligible for Medicare by providing them with resources to educate themselves on all their Medicare options. He is featured in many publications as well as writes regularly for other expert columns regarding Medicare.

7 thoughts on “Secondary Insurance for Medicare

  1. BCBS HDHP High Plan through my employer is my Primary INS, Medicare A has been active since 3/31/19. I work full time. I had emergency surgery Sept 4th 2019 – I’m being billed for whatever BCBS is not paying and told I do not have Medicare A

    1. Hi Melody! If you’re being told you don’t have Medicare Part A, I would call Medicare directly to get that part figured out. If you actually do have Part A, that does still have a deductible of $1,364. You also have a high-deductible plan with your employer, with Blue Cross Blue Shield, it looks like your deductible may be around $2,500. What you’re being billed for may actually be the deductibles and out of pocket costs that’s left up to the beneficiary to pay. Without knowing more details, it’s hard to say what exactly you’re being billed for. There could also be a miscommunication between Medicare & BCBS. If you have a dedicated agent with BCBS, I would contact them as well to get this figured out ASAP. I hope this helps!

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