Medicare Supplement (Medigap) Insurance Policies

Medicare supplement insurance is sold by private companies to help pay some of the health care costs that Original Medicare doesn’t cover like copays, coinsurance, and deductibles. A Medigap policy supplements Original Medicare. There is an initial open enrollment period for Medigap Policies. This period begins on the first day of the month in which you are age 65 and are enrolled in Medicare Part B, and it ends six months later. During this period, you can’t be denied coverage or charged a higher premium for pre-existing conditions.

These policies are standardized, meaning they all offer the same basic benefits, but some policies offer additional benefits. In all states except Massachusetts, Minnesota and Wisconsin, Medigap programs fall into one of 14 standard designs identified by letters A through N. (These three state have their own Medigap systems.) In 2010, new sales of plans E, H, I, and J were discontinued. At this time, only 10 standard plans remain available for new sales—A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M and N. Plan F is available in both a standard and high-deductible version.The plans are assigned letters to identify the benefits they cover. So it’s important to compare a Plan F to a Plan F, a Plan N to a Plan N, just like comparing apples to apples. Plan “A,” would be considered bare bones, through to Plan “J,” the top of the line. The advantage of a Medigap policy is that it offers you the freedom to choose your own doctors or specialists and coverage regardless of which clinic or hospital you utilize.

Compare Medigap Plans Side-by-Side

The chart below shows basic information about the different benefits Medigap policies cover.

Yes = the plan covers 100% of this benefit
No = the policy doesn’t cover that benefit
% = the plan covers that percentage of this benefit
N/A = not applicable

Medigap Benefits Medigap Plans
A B C D F* G K L M N
Part A coinsurance and hospital costs up to an additional 365 days after Medicare benefits are used up Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Part B coinsurance or copayment Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 50% 75% Yes Yes***
Blood (first 3 pints) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 50% 75% Yes Yes
Part A hospice care coinsurance or copayment Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 50% 75% Yes Yes
Skilled nursing facility care coinsurance No No Yes Yes Yes Yes 50% 75% Yes Yes
Part A deductible No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 50% 75% 50% Yes
Part B deductible No No Yes No Yes No No No No No
Part B excess charges No No No No Yes Yes No No No No
Foreign travel exchange (up to plan limits) No No Yes Yes Yes Yes No No Yes Yes
Out-of-pocket limit** N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A  $4,940  $2,470 N/A N/A

* Plan F also offers a high-deductible plan. If you choose this option, this means you must pay for Medicare-covered costs up to the deductible amount of $2,140 in 2014 before your Medigap plan pays anything.

** After you meet your out-of-pocket yearly limit and your yearly Part B deductible, the Medigap plan pays 100% of covered services for the rest of the calendar year.

*** Plan N pays 100% of the Part B coinsurance, except for a copayment of up to $20 for some office visits and up to a $50 copayment for emergency room visits that don’t result in inpatient admission.