Medigap is the official name given to health insurance plans commonly known as Medicare Supplement Insurance. Medicare has many “gaps” left that can leave some pretty hefty 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 federal and state law. Medigap supplemental insurance plans are not an alternative to traditional Medicare like Medicare Advantage Plans, but instead work with traditional Medicare.
Medigap plans come in basically ten flavors and are labeled with the letters A through N. The letters E,H,I, and J are no longer used. Medigap plan A is typically the least expensive of the plans and provides the least amount of coverage while Medigap plan F provides the most coverage. The most popular plan is Medigap plan F with Medigap plan G a close second. Medigap plan F covers 100% of the copayments, coinsurance, deductibles, and even the excess charges that come with Medicare. Medigap plan G is almost identical to plan F with the exception of not covering the yearly Medicare Part B deductible. Often the yearly savings on the Medigap plan G premium is greater than the cost of the Medicare Part B deductible so it is an option definitely worth checking out.
When shopping for a Medigap plan it is important to note that all the plans are standardized. This means that each plan by the same letter provides the exact same coverage. So Medigap plans provided by AARP, Gerber, New Era, and United all provide the exact same coverage even though the companies may charge a different premium.
The best time to first purchase a Medigap plan is when you first turn 65. During the first six months from when you turn 65 or when you first purchase Medicare Part B the insurance companies cannot turn you down and there is no medical underwriting. This is a huge benefit because there are many medical conditions that normally will prevent you from purchasing a Medicare supplement.
One of the great benefits of having a Medigap plan as opposed to say Medicare Advantage is that Medigap is guaranteed to be renewable and cannot be canceled as long as you keep paying the premiums. Medigap changes are also phased in for new purchasers and allow existing policyholders to retain their current policies.
When purchasing a Medigap plan it is best to utilize 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 area ensuring you get the lowest price. Before you request insurance quotes on any website make sure to read the fine print. Many websites are set up only to collect your information and the sell it out to a whole bunch of insurance agents or companies. This will get you a bunch of duplicate quotes and a lot of hassle. One good independent agent will get you the same information, at the same price, and save you time and trouble.
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