Monday, May 22, 2017
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What is Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap)?

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Protection From the Bills Medicare Doesn’t Pay

Medicare was never meant to cover all of your doctor and hospital bills. Many people do not realize this and expect it to pay for all costs and services. Reliance on Medicare in this situation can mean financial difficulty with out-of-pocket expenses.

A Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medicare gap insurance or Medigap) policy from Western United Life can help pay some of the health care costs that Original Medicare doesn't cover, like copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles.

Some Medigap policies also offer coverage for services that Original Medicare doesn't cover, like medical care when you travel outside the U.S. If you have Original Medicare and you buy a Medigap policy, Medicare will pay its share of the Medicare-approved amount for covered health care costs. Then your Medigap policy pays its share.

A Medigap policy is different from a Medicare Advantage Plan and a consumer doesn't need both.

Buy a policy when you are first eligible

The best time to buy a Medicare supplement policy (Medigap) is during your 6-month open enrollment period. Even if you have health issues, you are guaranteed to be able to buy a Medigap policy.

5 things to know about Medigap policies

  1. You must have Medicare Part A and Part B.
  2. If you have a Medicare Advantage Plan, you can apply for a Medigap policy, but make sure you can leave the Medicare Advantage Plan before your Medigap policy begins.
  3. You pay the private insurance company a monthly premium for your Medigap policy in addition to the monthly Part B premium that you pay to Medicare.
  4. A Medigap policy only covers one person. If you and your spouse both want Medigap coverage, you'll each have to buy separate policies.
  5. Any standardized Medigap policy is guaranteed renewable even if you have health problems. This means the insurance company can't cancel your Medigap policy as long as you pay the premium.

Medigap policies don't cover everything

Medigap policies don't cover long-term care, vision or dental care, hearing aids, eyeglasses, or private-duty nursing.