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What is a Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan?

Original Medicare pays for many, but not all, health care services and supplies. A Medigap policy is private 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. Each standardized Medigap policy must offer the same basic benefits, no matter which insurance company sells it. All plans offer the same basic benefits but some offer additional benefits.


You can choose which plan meets your needs. Note: In most states, standardized policies, or plans, are identified by the letters A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M, and N, and each type of plan generally contains the same benefits in all states. In Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, benefits will be labeled differently, but the policies are still standardized within each state.

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