| Tue, Aug 30, 2016 @ 09:00 AM

Medicare Supplement Insurance: The Basics

Posted by Medicare Made Clear

senior-hispanic-women-medicare-basicsOriginal Medicare (Part A and Part B) doesn’t cover everything. Some people choose to buy Medicare supplement insurance (also called Medigap) to help pay some of the expenses that Medicare doesn’t pay.

Depending on the specific Medicare supplement insurance plan chosen, covered expenses may include:

  • Part A deductible and co-insurance
  • Part B annual deductible and co-insurance or co-pays
  • Blood transfusions (first 3 pints each year)
  • Cost of additional 365 hospital days after Part A benefits are used
  • Foreign travel emergency medical expenses (up to plan limits)

Plans are Standardized

There are 10 different Medicare supplement insurance plans labeled A through N. Plans are standardized by the federal government so that every Plan A, for example, provides the same basic benefits as every other Plan A. This is true no matter what insurance company offers the plan.

All 10 different Medicare supplement insurance plans may not be available in every state. Also, plans offered in Massachusetts, Minnesota and Wisconsin are different from plans offered in other states. It’s important to learn what plans are offered where you live.

Plan Costs Vary

The cost of a Medicare supplement insurance plan may vary depending upon the plan you choose. As a general rule, the broader the coverage, the higher the premium you will pay. But comparing plans of the same type across insurers is simple. Basic benefits are the same for all plans of the same type, so cost is the only difference.

Medicare supplement insurance plans are sold by private insurance companies, not the federal government. The plans have no network requirements and may be used for care anywhere within the United States with providers who accept Medicare patients.

Every Medicare supplement insurance plan must follow federal and state laws designed to protect you. Each plan must be clearly identified as “Medicare supplement insurance.”


Visit Medicare.gov to find Medicare supplement insurance available where you live. If you already have a Medicare supplement insurance plan, it’s important to understand exactly what it covers in order to take full advantage of the benefits it provides. Please review the Certificate of Insurance carefully.


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For more information, explore MedicareMadeClear.com or contact the Medicare helpline 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), TTY 1-877-486-2048.


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