A Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) policy is health insurance that can help pay some of the health care costs that Original Medicare doesn’t cover, like coinsurance, copayments, or deductibles. Private insurance companies sell Medigap policies. Some Medigap policies also cover certain benefits Original Medicare doesn’t cover, like emergency foreign travel expenses. Medigap policies don’t cover your share of the costs under other types of health coverage, including Medicare Advantage Plans (like HMOs or PPOs), standalone Medicare Prescription Drug Plans, employer/union group health coverage, Medicaid, or TRICARE. Insurance companies generally can’t sell you a Medigap policy if you have coverage through Medicaid or a Medicare Advantage Plan.
What’s a Medigap policy?
A Medigap policy is private health insurance that helps supplement Original Medicare. This means it helps pay some of the health care costs that Original Medicare doesn’t cover (like copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles). These are “gaps” in Medicare coverage. If you have Original Medicare and a Medigap policy, Medicare will pay its share of the Medicare-approved amounts for covered health care costs. Then your Medigap policy pays its share. A Medigap policy is different from a Medicare Advantage Plan (like an HMO or PPO) because those plans are ways to get Medicare benefits, while a Medigap policy only supplements the costs of your Original Medicare benefits. Note: Medicare doesn’t pay any of your costs for a Medigap policy. All Medigap policies must follow federal and state laws designed to protect you, and policies must be clearly identified as “Medicare Supplement Insurance.” Medigap insurance companies in most states can only sell you a “standardized” Medigap policy identified by letters A through N. Each standardized Medigap policy must offer the same basic benefits, no matter which insurance company sells it. Cost is usually the only difference between Medigap policies with the same letter sold by different insurance companies.