It is not mandatory to purchase a supplemental insurance when you qualify for Medicare. Supplemental Insurance is a private insurance policy you may choose to purchase to help cover the cost your Original Medicare does not pay.
Part A is hospital insurance for inpatient care. Part B is medical insurance for things like doctors’ visits and other health care services and supplies. You are responsible for the costs that these plans do not cover like deductibles, co-payments, co-insurance and certain other services.
Supplemental Insurance, often referred to as Medigap, is an insurance plan approved by Medicare and issued by a private insurance company. You pay the premiums for the Medigap policy and the policy helps pay the costs that Original Medicare does not cover. Supplemental Plans have basic Federal and state laws that they must follow, but they may also offer other additional coverage. Prices can vary widely, even for the same plan, so you need to compare your options carefully before you purchase a plan. You must have both Medicare A and B to purchase a Medigap policy.
It is your choice whether to buy a supplemental policy to help cover your out-of- pocket costs. If you will continue to be covered by another plan, such as a retiree employer plan or a spouse’s plan, you should not need to purchase a Supplemental Insurance policy. You might also choose an option called Medicare Advantage, often referred to as Part C. Part C is private insurance that you purchase to cover additional things that Part A and Part B do not cover. Medicare Advantage is not a supplemental insurance, but if you choose to purchase Advantage the insurance company cannot sell you an additional Medigap policy.