Insurance companies may offer up to 10 different Medigap policies labeled A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M and N. Each lettered policy is standardized. This means that all policies labeled with the same letter have the same benefits, no matter which company provides them or their price. For example, Medigap policy A offered by company 1 provides exactly the same benefits as Medigap policy A offered by company 2. Companies are not required to offer all 10 standardized Medigap policies, meaning some may be unavailable in your state.
Note that Minnesota, Massachusetts, and Wisconsin have different ways of standardizing Medigap policies. If you live in one of these states, please contact your, State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) or State Department of Insurance for more information on purchasing a Medigap policy.
Medigaps help pay certain Medicare costs, including deductibles, coinsurance, and copays. Medigaps do not help pay for Medicare premiums. All policies must offer the following basic benefits:
- Hospital coinsurance coverage
- 365 additional days of full hospital coverage
- Full or partial coverage for the 20% coinsurance for provider charges and other Part B services
- Full or partial coverage for the first three pints of blood you need each year
- Hospice coinsurance for drugs and respite care
Beyond these basic benefits, each standardized Medigap covers a different amount of your Medicare cost-sharing. Depending on which Medigap policy you choose, you can get coverage for additional expenses, including:
- Hospital deductible
- Skilled nursing facility coinsurance
- Part B deductible
- Emergency care outside the U.S.
- At-home recovery
- Preventive care that Medicare does not cover
- Excess physician’s charges (some Medigaps will pay the limiting charge, which is the amount above the Medicare-approved amount that non-participating doctors can charge).
Medigap policy A is often the least expensive, but it only covers the basic benefits listed above. Policies C and F are the most comprehensive, but they generally cost more. See the Medigap Plan Benefits Chart for a fuller explanation of what each policy covers. Please note that this information is only applicable to plans sold beginning June 1, 2010.
Policies sold before June 1, 2010
Keep in mind that policies sold today have slightly different benefits from those offered before June 1, 2010. Also, policies E, H, I, and J are no longer sold. If you bought your Medigap before June 1, 2010, and have a discontinued policy, you can keep it as long as you like. The insurance company must continue to renew the discontinued Medigap policy each year you wish to keep it.
See the Medigap Plan Benefits Chart for plans purchased between July 31, 1992, and May 31, 2010 for more information on your Medigap policy’s coverage.