Choosing a Policy
Just like Medicare Advantage plans, Medicare Supplements are regulated by state and federal laws to ensure consistency and also to protect consumers. Supplemental insurance is designated by letters A through N, and each “letter” policy is standardized, which makes it easier to compare policies.
|Medigap Benefits||Medigap Plans|
|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|
* 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.
(Chart by Medicare.gov.)
Medicare Supplement policies require the payment of Medicare Part B premium (and Part A premium if you have one). Every Medicare Supplement policy has a monthly premium and the premiums associated with the policies can vary among insurance companies. That means that different insurance companies may charge different premiums for the same policy. The cost of the premium may depend on where you live, your age, your gender, whether you smoke, medical conditions, and whether the insurance company offers any other discounts for paying electronically, or for more than one policy in the household, or if they have a high-deductible option. When comparing prices, be sure you’re comparing policies with the same letter designation – for instance, compare an A policy with another A policy, not an F policy.
Each letter policy covers different amounts of the Original Medicare costs and has different copays and coinsurance, so you can choose the plan that works best for your needs and budget. Medicare Supplements do not have a network of doctors, you can go to any doctor that is willing to accept Original Medicare. In addition, some states offer an option known as Medicare SELECT. SELECT policies require subscribers to use specific healthcare providers and hospitals for non-emergency care, in order to obtain full coverage. Because of these restrictions, costs can be lower. Men and women who opt for SELECT policies have the right to switch to a standard Medicare policy within 12 months of enrolling for SELECT.