A Medicare supplement (Medigap) insurance, sold by private companies, 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. Those plans are ways to get Medicare benefits, while a Medigap policy only supplements your Original Medicare benefits.
8 things to know about Medicare Supplements
1. You must have Medicare Part A and Part B.
2. If you have a Medicare Advantage Plan, you can apply for a Medicare Supplement 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 Medicare Supplement policy in addition to the monthly Part B premium that you pay to Medicare.
4. A Medicare Supplement policy only covers one person. If you and your spouse both want Medicare Supplement coverage, you'll each have to buy separate policies.
5. You can buy a Medicare Supplement policy from any insurance company that's licensed in your state to sell one.
6. Any standardized Medicare Supplement policy is guaranteed renewable even if you have health problems. This means the insurance company can't cancel your Medicare Supplement policy as long as you pay the premium.
7. Some Medicare Supplement policies sold in the past cover prescription drugs, but Medicare Supplement policies sold after January 1, 2006 aren't allowed to include prescription drug coverage. If you want prescription drug coverage, you can join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (Part D).
8. It's illegal for anyone to sell you a Medicare Supplement policy if you have a Medicare Medical Savings Account (MSA) Plan.
Medicare Supplement policies don't cover everything
Medicare Supplement policies generally don't cover long-term care, vision or dental care, hearing aids, eyeglasses, or private-duty nursing.