The Original Medicare Plan with a Supplemental Policy

Many private insurance companies sell Medicare Supplemental Insurance Policies (Medigap or Medicare SELECT) to help fill the coverage gaps in the Original Medicare Plan. If you remain in the Original Medicare Plan, you may want to consider buying one of these 10 standard policies for extra benefits. These policies help pay Medicare’s coinsurance amounts and deductibles, and other out-of-pocket costs for health care.

The federal government does not sell these types of policies. You should read the publication called Guide to Health Insurance for People With Medicare before you buy a supplemental policy. For a free copy, call the Medicare hotline at 1-800-638-6833. Your state insurance department (See the Neighborhood Networks) also has information available to help you. ElderCare Online’s Insurance Coverage Channel includes several informative articles on the range of insurance coverage options.

Do not delay. When you first enroll in Part B at age 65 or older, you have a 6-month Medigap open enrollment period. During that time your health status cannot be used as a reason either to refuse you a policy or to charge you more than all other open enrollment applicants. (The insurer may make you wait up to 6 months for coverage of a pre-existing condition.) If you try to enroll later, you may be denied a policy or charged a higher rate.

At age 65, Medigap open enrollment is available to beneficiaries who are enrolled in Part B. If you are under age 65, contact your state insurance department for information about open enrollment.

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