What is Medicare supplement insurance?
Medicare supplement insurance is also known as Medigap insurance. It helps pay some of the out-of-pocket health care costs that Original Medicare Parts A and B does not pay.
Medicare supplement insurance can only be used in combination with Original Medicare. If you receive your benefits through a Medicare Advantage plan, you cannot have a Medicare supplement insurance plan. Medicare supplement insurance plans travel with you anywhere in the United States.
Plans are offered through private insurance companies in your state. The plans are standardized, but the availability of plans may vary from state to state. For information about specific plans in your area, contact your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP).
Learn about Medicare Supplement Insurance
Medicare supplement insurance plans, also called Medigap plans, help pay some costs not paid by Original Medicare Parts A & B. Watch and learn more about Medigap plans.
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What’s covered by Medicare supplement insurance?
In general, Medicare supplement insurance helps pay some of your out-of-pocket health care costs under Original Medicare. These are some of the costs that plans may help with.
Part A deductibles
Part B deductible
Coinsurance and providers' excess charges The amount a provider who does not accept Medicare assignment may charge you over and above the Medicare-approved amount—generally 15%.
Cost of blood transfusions
Costs of additional hospital days after you've used up your Part A benefits
Hospital and skilled nursing facility coinsurance
Some preventive care benefits
Foreign emergency medical benefits
Some drugs the provider must give you
Medicare supplement insurance companies in most states can only sell you a standardized Medicare supplement plan identified by the letters A through N. Each standardized Medicare supplement plan must offer the same basic benefits, no matter which insurance company sells it.
Cost is usually the only difference between Medicare supplement plans with the same letter sold by different insurance companies. In Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, Medicare supplement plans are standardized in a different way.
Depending on the insurer, you may have several Medicare supplement insurance plans to choose from. It’s important to review the specific benefits offered by any plans you are interested in.
What’s not covered by Medicare supplement insurance?
Medicare supplement insurance does not help with the cost of:
- Long-term care such as nursing home care
- Additional days in a skilled nursing facility beyond what’s covered by Part A
- Routine vision, dental or hearing care
- Hearing aids
- Private-duty nursing
- Prescription drugs
Many people who choose to add Medicare supplement insurance to Original Medicare Parts A and B also add a standalone prescription drug plan (Part D).