Understanding the rules and regulations of Medicare is confusing and with recent changes seniors just qualifying for Medicare may be wondering if they are required to purchase a Supplemental Insurance plan. As it stands now, no this is not a mandatory insurance, although without supplemental insurance, the coverage of basic Medicare is very limited. Those who need medical care often may find that a supplemental plan is the best way to cover gaps that Medicare does not pay.
Choosing to buy a medigap plan is a personal decision that normally is based on the state of health of the individual. Medigap is called this as it fills in the gaps that Medicare coverage does not provide. Depending on the plan that is purchased, different plans cover different medical expenses.
If an individual decides they should purchase a supplemental insurance plan, all insurance companies are required by law to offer Plans A through J, although costs for plans do vary with insurance companies. Medicare Plan A is the basic insurance offered by Medicare. Other plans offer different coverage with Plan J offering the most extensive coverage.
Individuals who turn 65 have a six-month period to enroll in the Medicare Part B plan and to purchase a Medigap plan no matter what health conditions the individual may have. If the individual did not sign up for Part B during this period, they can purchase Part B during the annual enrollment period between January 1 and March 31. When an individual signs up during this period, coverage for Part B will not begin until July 1 when individuals can also sign up for Medigap.