A MEDICARE SUPPLEMENT (“MEDIGAP”) Plan is a way to transfer the major out-of-pocket costs of the Basic Plan to an insurance company. Like the Basic Plan, it allows you to get fee-for-service medical care from any provider who accepts Medicare.

This kind of plan “wraps around” Basic Medicare and can eliminate your requirement to pay various deductibles and co-insurance.

Medicare has authorized 10 different Medicare Supplement plan designs that are identical in every state. Insurance companies sell these plans and establish premiums by geographic markets. The 10 plan designs are summarized in this graphic: https://www.medicare.gov/supplements-other-insurance/whats-medicare-supplement-insurance-medigap.

Choosing a Medicare Supplement plan when you are first eligible for Medicare guarantees you coverage as long as you pay the policy premiums set by the company. However, if you select coverage after you are first eligible or at some other time, you may be subject to the insurance company’s medical underwriting, which includes an extensive look into your medical history. At this point, the company can deny coverage or set higher premiums based on your medical history and pre-existing conditions.

Some companies also offer benefits that go beyond Basic Medicare by adding vision, hearing, and gym/health club membership benefits to their coverages.

Most individuals who choose a Medicare Supplement when they are first eligible add a prescription drug plan (called Part D of Medicare) to minimize risks when paying for maintenance and other medications.Click here for more information.