2014 Medicare and Medigap Updates
Medigap is Medicare supplemental insurance. As the name suggests, Medigap exists to fill in the gaps in the medical coverage that is provided by Medicare. Medicare is health insurance coverage for older citizens aged 65 and above. Medigap, also referred to as Medicare Supplemental Insurance, is provided by private insurance companies but is regulated by the government. Medicare on the other hand is provided by the Federal government for those that qualify and has 4 parts A (Hospital Insurance), B (Medical Insurance), C (Medicare Advantage) and D (Prescription Drug Coverage).
There are a number of Medigap options available to fill Medicare gaps. The different Medigap options are also numbered alphabetically from A through to N. However, from June 2010 insurance companies are no longer selling Medigap policies E, H, I and J which offered the most comprehensive coverage. These policies were eliminated mainly because they were offering benefits that are currently being offered under Medicare. People enrolled in any of the plans that were eliminated should not worry as they get to retain their policies.
The Medigap options M and N are the newest ones to be added to the list of available Medigap policies. These newest additions are slightly unique in that the premiums payable for these two plans are lower than for the other options. However, there is a catch. Individuals opting for the newer Medigap options will have to pay a higher percentage of the co-payments.
For the other Medigap plans, the benefits increase in ascending order. That is, plan B will offer more benefits than plan A, plan C will offer more benefits than B and so on. Insurance premiums will of course be higher for more benefits.
The Medigap options are standardized and therefore offer the same kind of benefits irrespective of the insurance company offering coverage. The standardization is enforced under State and Federal laws. It is important to note that even though the insurance companies are required by law to offer standardized policies, they are not obliged to charge the same premiums. It is therefore quite possible to find different insurance companies charging different premiums for the same Medigap plan. It is therefore crucial to shop around and compare prices among the different private insurance companies.
Comparison shopping is also important because the different insurance companies may not offer all the different Medigap options. Before approaching an insurance company, it is advisable to have settled on the Medigap plan that you will want. Your insurance broker can be consulted to help with making the decision.