Medigap is the conventional name for health insurance plans also called Medicare Supplement Insurance. Medicare has lots of “gaps” left that are able to leave some rather substantial out-of-pocket expenses. Medigap is designed to supplement Medicare or in other words “fill in” Medicare gaps. Medigap is provided by private insurance companies but regulated by both state and federal law. Medigap supplemental insurance policies are not an alternative to original Medicare like Medicare Advantage Plans, Instead they work with Medicare.
There are basically ten Medigap plans labeled using the letters A through N. The letters E,H,I, and J are not used.
- Medigap plan A is commonly the least costly of the plans but also provides the least amount of coverage.
- Medigap plan F generally cost the most but also provides the most coverage.
The most popular plan is Medigap plan F with Medigap plan G a near second. Medigap plan F covers 100% of the coinsurance, deductibles, copayments, as well as the excess charges that come with Medicare. Medigap plan G is the same as plan F except for not covering the yearly deductible for Medicare Part B. Quite often the annual savings on the Medigap plan G premium is more than the cost of the Medicare Part B deductible so it is a plan clearly worth looking into.
When shopping for a Medigap plan it is important to understand that all the plans are standardized. This means that every plan by the very same letter provides the exact same coverage. So Medigap plans provided by AARP, Gerber, New Era, and United all provide the very same coverage even though the companies charge different premiums.
The best time to purchase a Medigap plan is when you are turning 65. During the first six months from when you turn 65 or when you first purchase Medicare Part B the insurance companies are not able to turn you down and there is no medical underwriting. This is a huge benefit because there are many medical conditions that will normally stop you from purchasing Medicare supplemental insurance.
Among the great benefits of having a Medigap plan in comparison to say Medicare Advantage is that Medigap is guaranteed to be renewable and cannot be terminated as long as you continue to keep paying the premiums. Medigap changes are also phased in for first time purchasers and permit existing policyholders to keep their current plans.
When it is time to purchase a Medigap plan it is best to take advantage of the services of an independent agent. Independent agents do not just sell insurance for one particular insurance company. They can pull quotes from all the insurance companies in your community making sure you get the most affordable price. Before you request quotes on any internet site be certain to read the fine print. Many websites exist only to collect your information and the sell it out to a whole bunch of insurance agents and companies. This will get you a bunch of duplicate quotes and a lot of hassle. One good independent agent can get you the same information, at the same price, and save you time and trouble.
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