There are three ways to get supplemental coverage:

  1. You can buy a Medigap plan from a private insurance company. Medigap plans are insurance policies that specifically work with Original Medicare. Medigap plans cover some of the copays and deductibles that you have to pay with Original Medicare. Medigaps always pay after Medicare pays. Medicare pays first and then the Medigap plan usually has a crossover agreement with Medicare that allows them to automatically pay second.
  2. Sometimes you can get supplemental insurance from a former employer (your own or your spouse’s) as a retiree benefit. Retiree insurance is always secondary to Medicare.
  3. If you do not have retiree coverage and you cannot afford a Medigap, there may be government programs that can help. You must meet the income and asset eligibility limits. These programs include Extra Help, State Pharmaceutical Assistance Programs (SPAPs) and Medicare Savings Programs. Extra Help is the federal program that helps pay some or most of the costs associated with the Medicare prescription drug benefit. SPAPs are state programs that can also provide help paying the Medicare prescription drug benefit. Medicare Savings Programs (MSPs) pay the Medicare Part B premium, and in some cases the copays and deductibles as well.