What is Medicare Supplement?

Medicare Supplement plans, also known as Medigap, supplement your Part A (hospitalization) and Part B (physician) coverage under Original Medicare. It does not replace the benefits like Medicare Advantage does. It's important to note that there are no networks or referrals for Medicare Supplement plans.

All providers who accept Medicare will accept Medicare Supplement plans. Remember, over 90% of physicians accept payment from Medicare.

Medicare Supplement helps pay for costs that Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) doesn't cover, such as:

  • Deductibles
  • Copayments
  • Coinsurance

Medicare Supplement Facts

There are a few need-to-knows when it comes to Medicare Supplement. Each of these may help determine whether or not it's right for you.

  • You must have Medicare Part A and Part B before you enroll.
  • There are 10 different Medicare Supplement plans. Different letters, such as Plan F or Plan N, are used to identify these.
  • Each plan is standardized and provides the same benefits.
  • Medicare Supplement plan benefits are the same regardless of which private insurer offers it. The only differences by company are price, the offered plans, the service levels provided and the inclusion of extra benefits.
  • You cannot have both a Medicare Advantage and a Medicare Supplement plan.
  • Medicare Supplement plans allow you to use any Medicare-participating doctor or hospital you choose. Visit Medicare.gov and check with your doctor to see if he or she accepts Medicare.
Remember: Medicare.gov is not responsible for updating the list of participating providers.
  • Your Medicare Supplement plan will only cover yourself - your spouse must have his or her own plan.
  • Prescription Drug Coverage is not included within your Medicare Supplement policy.
  • Medicare Supplement generally does not cover additional services like vision, dental or long-term care.

Medicare Select Plans

There is a separate category of Medicare Supplement plans you should be aware of, and that's Medicare Select.

Here are the facts:

  • The difference between Medicare Select plan benefits and Medicare Supplement plans is that Medicare Select requires a hospital network, which the plan holder must go to.
  • Medicare Select is less expensive than Medicare Supplement because Select plans have provider network restrictions but you will need to check with the specific carrier.
  • Medicare Select plans are available in specific geographic areas only. You must live within a 30-mile radius of a Medicare Select participating hospital.
  • Important: Medicare Select is not a good option for someone who spends part of the year in another state. He or she might be too far from the participating hospital network at least part of the year.

The Costs

Private insurers who sell Medicare Supplement determine what the monthly premium will be.

Medicare Eligibility

For many, qualifying for Medicare simply means turning 65. But there are other eligibility requirements you should be aware of. Discover if you're eligible here.

Need help in making a decision on what
Medicare Supplement plan is right for you?

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