A Medigap policy helps pay your share of the costs (such as coinsurance, copays and deductibles) for Medicare-covered services. Medigap policies are sometimes referred to as Medicare Supplemental Insurance. Some Medigap policies also cover services that Original Medicare – Part A and Part B – don't cover.
But Medigap policies don't cover dental care. They also generally don't cover long-term care, vision care, hearing aids, glasses and private-duty nursing.
Private insurers sell Medigap policies, and the policies are standardized. There are 10 different types of Medigap policies, but not all of them are sold in every state. To buy a Medigap policy, you must have both:
Another option is to purchase a Medicare Advantage health plan, which operates like a preferred provider organization or health maintenance organization. This type of plan covers services covered under Medicare Part A and Part B, usually includes prescription drug benefits, and may also provide other coverage, such as vision, dental and hearing coverage.
You can't have a Medicare Advantage plan and Medigap. You must choose between:
Private insurance companies approved by Medicare sell Medicare Advantage plans. The plans vary, so it's important to compare those offered in your area to find one that provides the coverage you want at a cost that fits your budget.
Out-of-pocket costs vary among different Medicare Advantage plans. As you compare plans, check how much the yearly deductible is, how much you pay for each visit or service, how often you can get coverage for services you need, the plan's network of providers and the limit for annual out-of-pocket costs.
The Medicare website features a wealth of information about Medigap and Medicare Advantage and a tool to find and compare insurance plans.
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