Medicare Supplement Plans are used to help pay for healthcare costs that traditional Medicare Part A or Part B does not cover. For instance, if Medicare Part B covers 80 percent of Medicare’s allowable charge for a medically necessary service, a Medicare supplemental plan, also known as Medigap, could be used to help cover the remaining 20 percent. Medigap plans are offered through private insurance companies and help to supplement Medicare’s primary insurance options.
To be eligible for Medicare supplemental insurance, the beneficiary must be at least 64.5 years of age, and he or she must be already covered by Medicare Part A or Part B. Medicare supplemental plans do not apply to other kinds of healthcare insurance, including Medicare Part C plans which are also called Medicare Advantage plans. In addition, spouses must separately purchase individual Medigap plans; they cannot be shared.
All Medigap plans are standardized. They must follow the same guidelines no matter which insurance carrier sells them. These supplemental policies are lettered “A” through “L,” to make it easier to identify them. The main difference between Medicare supplement plans that are offered through different insurance carriers is the price. Medicare beneficiaries are able to “shop” for the best price for the plan that they select.
Some Medicare beneficiaries who are already enrolled in Medicare supplement plans may be considering making a change. Are there different times that a policy holder can change his or her supplemental plan? No, open enrollment is not confined to one time of year. There is not an annual enrollment period to make changes to Medigap plans. These supplemental plans can be altered at any given time during the year. Medicare beneficiaries who are interested in making a change to their Medigap plans can do so by contacting their Medigap carrier.