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Health Insurance Glossary

Medicare Supplement Plans

A Medicare Supplemental (Medigap) policy is health insurance sold by private insurance companies to fill the “gaps” in Original Medicare Plan coverage. Medicare has several gaps and doesn't pay for all of the health care services you may need. Medicare Supplement policies help pay some of the health care costs that the Original Medicare Plan doesn’t cover. If you are in Original Medicare Plan, you may want to buy Medicare supplemental insurance, also called Medigap insurance.

By law, companies can offer only 12 standard Medigap insurance plans — plans named A-L. Each plan has a different set of benefits. (Beginning in 2006, Medigap plans H, I and J cannot be sold with prescription drug benefits, although people who already had those policies can keep them). No matter which insurance company offers a particular plan, all plans with the same letter cover the same benefits. For instance, all Plan C policies have the same benefits no matter which company sells the plan. However, the premiums can vary. To compare the the cost of Medicare Supplement policies with several major insurance carriers click here.

All 12 Medigap policies cover basic benefits, but each has additional benefits that vary according to the plan. Briefly, Plan A is the most basic plan. Plans B-L offer everything in Plan A and give even more coverage. Plans K-L offer similar services as plans A-J but the cost-sharing for the basic benefits is at different levels. If you would like to see a side by side coverage comparison of Medicare Supplement plans with complete cost comparison with several major health insurance carriers click here.

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