Medigap Medicare Supplement
2014 Medicare and Medigap Updates
Medigap Medicare Supplement
Medigap Medicare supplement insurance is, as the name suggests, supplemental insurance for Medicare coverage. Medicare is health insurance coverage provided by the U.S. government for people over the age of 65 and for people with qualifying conditions (end stage renal disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). This health insurance covers a number of health care costs but does leave some gaps that Medigap Medicare supplement Insurance attempts to fill.
The gaps in Medicare coverage result from the fact that Medicare will not pay for all medical services. The health care costs Medicare does not pay for include majority of dental care, hearing aids, most eye care including eye glasses, cosmetic surgery, alternative surgery and experimental treatment and procedures. p>
Medigap Medicare supplement insurance also helps with paying the part of your medical costs that Medicare does not pay for. These are the coinsurance, copayments and deductibles which arise because Medicare typically does not pay 100% of the medical costs they cover and require beneficiaries to foot part of the bill. Usually, you can only depend on Medicare to pay around 80% of your hospital and medical bills.
Medigap Medicare supplement insurance is offered by private insurance companies authorized to sell these plans by an arm of the United States Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) called CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid). CMS is responsible for the administration of Medicare and also ensures that the private insurance companies are working within federal and state laws.
The private insurance companies are allowed to sell 10 standardized Medigap Medicare supplement insurance plans labeled with the letters A through N. CMS does the standardization of the plans. All the plans offer the same basic benefits at a minimum with plan A offering the least benefits and N offering the most benefits. The standardization ensures that benefits under each plan offered by the different private insurance companies are the same. This means the only difference between the different insurance companies is the cost (insurance premiums) of the plans they offer.
The private insurance companies selling the Medigap Medicare supplement insurance plans do not have to offer all 10 plans. However, they are required to offer at least plan A. If they offer more than one Medigap plan, they are required to offer either plan C or F, in addition to plan A.
The best time to sign up for Medigap Medicare supplement insurance plan is during the open enrollment period. This is because the private insurance companies are bound by federal law to sell you any plan you want even if you have a pre-existing medical condition. However, you must have signed up for Medicare Part A and Part B.
If you do not enroll during the 6 months open enrollment period, the insurance companies are allowed to medical underwriting to evaluate your suitability. The insurance companies may then deny you the Medigap plan you would like or charge you a higher premium for it. When shopping for a Medigap Medicare Supplement insurance policy the Medigap cost will not be the same with all companies so it is good to shop around since the coverage for each plan is identical.