Important things to know about Medigap Plans.
- Medigap plans pay after Medicare has paid its share for Medicare-approved treatment. Medicare Advantage plans pay instead of Medicare.
- There are 10 standardized plan types identified by the letters A through N. Medicare makes comparing plans simple by making all plans of the same kind identical; one company’s plan N is exactly the same as every other company’s Plan N, for example.
- All 10 plans allow you to go to any doctor who participates with Medicare. No plan is better than another in this respect. There are no networks or referrals needed for a specialist’s care in any plan.
- All 10 plans cover the same medical procedures and services. No plan is better than another in this respect, either. I emphasize the similarity of all 10 plans in these two areas because many agents will try to steer seniors to the most expensive plans by characterizing all others as inferior, when their motivation may be driven by a financial incentive to sell the most expensive plan.
- The only differences between any of the 10 Medigap plans are the monthly premium and the amount of cost-sharing on your part. The more cost-sharing, the lower the monthly premium. Less or no cost-sharing means a higher premium. So, you can pay more monthly to pay less in co-payments and deductibles, or pay less monthly but pay more in co-payments and deductibles.
- All cost-sharing plans have limits on your out-of-pocket portion, taking the risk out of choosing one of the lower-priced plans.
- Medigap plans are not allowed to include drug coverage. If you choose a Medigap plan, you will need to enroll in a Stand-Alone Part D drug plan. Note: If you enroll in a Stand-Alone Part D drug plan and it takes effect, you have used your initial election and you will not be allowed to select a Medicare Advantage plan until the next Annual Election Period, which is October 15 -December 7. So, it’s important to decide between Medigap or Advantage plan before enrolling in any drug plan.
- During the first six months after your Part B effective date, you cannot be asked medical questions when enrolling in a Medigap plan.