Medicare Supplement Insurance: Helping to Fill the Gap

January 12, 2024

Did you know that Original Medicare Part A and B do not cover everything and can leave you with significant out of pocket expenses?

With supplement insurance, also called Medigap or MedSup, you can get coverage at varying levels for deductibles, coinsurance and copayments to reduce or eliminate your out-of-pocket expenses created by the “gaps” in Original Medicare.

Here’s what you need to know about Medicare Supplement Insurance or Medigap coverage.

It’s standardized.

In 1990, the federal government established standardized Plans A through J. Since then, some plans have been eliminated and new plans have been introduced.

Standardizing plans means that there’s no difference between Medicare Supplement Plans offered by one insurance company to the next  – except for differences in the monthly premium or the rate charged.

Today, there are 10 standardized plan options available. Plan F has been the most popular plan offering while Plan G is becoming a better choice for people turning 65 or people looking to convert from Plan F as their rates increase.

It’s specific.

The coverage provided by Supplement Insurance Plans is solely dedicated to expenses you incur from Original Medicare Parts A and B coverage gaps.

It’s not inclusive.

Medicare supplement insurance is designed to exist alongside Original Medicare, so you can’t use it for standalone coverage.

In order to use supplement insurance, you’ll need to be enrolled in Original Medicare Part A and  Part B.

You’ll also still need to purchase prescription drug coverage under a separate plan, as Medigap does not provide coverage for your outpatient prescription drugs.

Plan Features

Medigap plans:

  • Help you manage out-of-pocket costs.
  • Allow you to use any doctor who accepts Medicare.
  • Require no claim forms to be filed.
  • Provide coverage anywhere in the United States.
  • May offer coverage for foreign travel emergency services.
  • Are guaranteed renewable.

Here’s a side-by-side comparison of the Medigap products.

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While the benefits for the plans are standardized, rates are not. You’ll need to shop around to find the best price, so here’s an overview of how insurance carriers come up with their rates:

  • Community rated. Premiums are the same for everyone, regardless of age.
  • Issue age rated. Premiums will be based on your age at the time you enroll. In general, these plans offer lower rates to “younger” enrollees. So it’s better to enroll sooner than later to obtain a lower rate.
  • Attained age rated. Premiums are based on your current age and go up each year as you grow older.

Monthly rates can also differ based on gender, zip code, tobacco use as well as the ability to obtain a household discount or use of age caps.

Signing up

Here are the steps you need to follow to purchase a Medigap policy:

  • Step 1: Discuss your health care and budgetary needs with one of our personal Medicare Plan Specialists.
  • Step 2: Review the plan offerings and price differences of carriers.
  • Step 3: Select and enroll in a plan over the phone.

To discuss your Supplemental Insurance options and get answers to all your questions, contact the UROne benefits team at 1-800-722-7331.

This post was originally published in October 2016; updated January 2024.