A Medicare Supplement insurance plan is healthcare insurance you can buy that may help pay for costs that Original Medicare doesn’t pay.

Let’s explore how these plans work, what they cover and more.

How does Medicare Supplement insurance work?

Medicare Supplement insurance plans, also known as Medigap, help supplement Original Medicare. They may help pay some of the healthcare costs that Original Medicare does pay like copayments, coinsurance and deductibles.

A Medigap plan may be purchased from a private insurance company. To be eligible, you must be enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B, you must live in the state where the policy is offered and be age 65 or over. In some states, you can be under age 65 with a disability or end-stage renal disease (ESRD).

Each standardized Medicare insurance supplement plan covers different types of costs. How much you pay out of pocket will depend on the services covered and the plan you choose.

What do Medicare Supplement insurance plans cover?1


All Medicare Supplement insurance plans offer the same basic benefits but some offer additional benefits. A list of basic benefits includes:

  • Part A coinsurance and hospital costs up to an additional 365 extra days after Medicare benefits are used
  • Part B coinsurance or copayment
  • Blood (first 3 pints)
  • Part A hospice care coinsurance or copayment

Some additional benefits that may be included in certain plans include:

  • Skilled nursing facility care coinsurance
  • Part A deductible
  • Part B deductible
  • Part B excess charge
  • Foreign travel exchange (up to plan limits)
  • Out-of-pocket limit

Important things to know about Medicare Supplement insurance plans2


  • Medicare Supplement insurance plans are not the same as Medicare Advantage plans.
  • A Medigap policy only covers 1 person. If you and your spouse both want Medigap coverage, you must buy separate policies.
  • Medigap policies do not include prescription drug coverage. If you want prescription drug coverage, you can join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (Part D).
  • You will pay a monthly premium when you have a Medicare Supplement plan in addition to the Part B premium to Original Medicare.
  • A Medicare Supplement policy is guaranteed renewable even if you have health problems. This means your private insurance company can’t cancel your policy as long as you pay the premium and provided accurate information on your application.
  • Medigap policies generally don’t cover long-term care, vision or dental care, hearing aids, eyeglasses or private-duty nursing.

How to pick the best Medicare Supplement insurance plan for you

Everyone has unique healthcare needs. If you’re thinking about adding extra insurance to Original Medicare, check out how to pick the best Medicare Supplement insurance plan for you.

Sources

  1. “How to compare Medigap policies,” Medicare.gov, last accessed March 8, 2021, https://www.medicare.gov/supplements-other-insurance/how-to-compare-medigap-policies, opens new window.
  2. “What’s Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap),” Medicare.gov, last accessed March 9, 2021, https://www.medicare.gov/supplements-other-insurance/whats-medicare-supplement-insurance-medigap, opens new window.

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