A Medicare supplement plan is referred to as Medigap and it pays the costs of health care that is not covered by the Original Medicare such that it includes deductibles, co-insurance and payments. The policies of Medicare supplement plans are sold by private companies. These provide coverage for uncovered services of the traditional Medicare such as when you go travelling outside the U.S. In case, you have the traditional Medicare already and yet, you buy Medigap insurance, this is what happens:
- Medicare will bear the Medicare-approved share amount with respect to the health care costs covered.
- With that done, the Medigap Policy bears the share remaining and pays for it.
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Medicare supplement plans are not the same as Medicare Advantage Plan. Those are plans to avail the benefits of Medicare, while the Medicare Supplement policies are the supplements of the benefits of Original Medicare.
Few important things about Medigap policies
You must have Part A and B Medicare.
- In case you own Medicare Advantage plan, applying for Medigap policy is possible, but ensure to leave the Medicare Advantage Plan before the beginning of the Medigap insurance policy.
- For the Medigap policies, you are expected to pay a monthly premium to a private insurance company from that you buy. This monthly premium is in addition to the Part B monthly premium paid to Medicare.
- A Medigap policy covers only one person. In case you and your spouse require Medigap coverage, you must buy separate policies.
- Buying Medicare supplement plans from any private insurance company is valid, but the insurance company should be licensed in the state you live to sell the policies.
- All the Medigap insurance policies are guaranteed for renewable even in case of health problems. It indicates the insurance companies stay active until the premium is paid.
- Medigap policies that were earlier sold had the prescription drugs covered. However, the policies after January 1, 2006 is considered uncovered and so cannot include the prescription drug coverage. In case you want coverage for prescription drug, it means you must take Part D Medicare Plan for Prescription drug.
- Selling Medigap policy to anyone is illegal in case you have MSA- the Medical savings account plan of Medicare.
Generally, Medigap policies do not provide coverage for any long term treatment, hearing aids, care for dental or vision, eyeglasses or private-duty nursing. You can change or drop the Policies, but ensure doing at the right time.