Do I have to be enrolled in Original Medicare, Part A and Part B, to enroll in a Medicare Supplement Plan?

Steven Mott by Steven Mott | Licensed since 2012
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This article was updated on: 09/16/2018

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You must be enrolled in both Medicare Part A and Part B to enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, roughly 1 in 5 Medicare beneficiaries are enrolled in a Medicare Supplement plan. These plans, also known as Medigap plans, are offered by private companies and might help cover your out-of-pocket costs associated with Original Medicare (Part A and Part B), such as copayments, coinsurance amounts, and deductibles.

What does a Medicare Supplement plan cover?

In most states, Medicare Supplement plans are standardized and labeled with the letters A through N. This means the standard coverage under Medicare Supplement Plan B, for example, will be exactly the same for everyone who chooses that plan, regardless of the state of residence or the insurance company providing it. However, insurance companies can include additional benefits with the policy.

It’s important to realize that Medicare Supplement Plan B is not the same as Medicare Part B.  Each standardized Medicare Supplement plan (A-N) has a different level of coverage, although all of these plans cover your Part A coinsurance amounts and hospital costs for a full 365 days after your  Medicare Part A and Part B benefits run out, plus some or all of your Part B coinsurance amounts, Part A hospice coinsurance amounts, and first three pints of blood.

Different standardized plans include different levels of coverage. Two plans (Medicare Supplement Plans K and L) also offer annual caps on your out-of-pocket expenses.

Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Wisconsin have their own standardized Medicare Supplement plans.

A Medicare Supplement plan generally won’t cover expenses not covered by Original Medicare, such as long-term care, dental or vision coverage, hearing aids, and private-duty nursing. Some plans, however, cover health care expenses if you are traveling in a foreign country up to policy limits, which Original Medicare generally does not cover.

Medicare Supplement plans aren’t designed to work with Medicare Advantage plans.

When can I buy a Medicare Supplement plan?

If you want Medicare Supplement coverage, you might want to enroll during your six-month Open Enrollment Period, which begins the first month you’re both 65 or over, and enrolled in  Medicare Part B. During this time period, you can choose any Medicare Supplement plan offered in your state regardless of your health status.

After the Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment period, the insurance company may take your health status into consideration and decide not to sell you a policy, or it can charge you higher premiums because of your health condition.

Keep in mind that if you are married and want Medicare Supplement coverage, your spouse won’t be covered under your policy, or vice versa.

Can my Medicare Supplement plan be canceled?

Standardized Medigap plans are guaranteed renewable as long as you make your monthly premium payments. That means that in most situations, your insurance company cannot drop you, even if you have a serious change in your health status. However, in some situations your company can cancel your plan; for example, if the insurance company files for bankruptcy.

.Need more information about Original Medicare and Medicare Supplement plans?

I’m happy to answer your questions about Medigap coverage. You can schedule a phone call or request an email by clicking on the buttons below. You can also find out about plan options in your area by clicking the Compare Plans button.

The purpose of this communication is the solicitation of insurance. Contact will be made by an insurance agent/producer or insurance company.

Medicare Supplement insurance plans are not connected with or endorsed by the U.S. government or the federal Medicare program.

The product and service descriptions, if any, provided on these Medicare.com Web pages are not intended to constitute offers to sell or solicitations in connection with any product or service. All products are not available in all areas and are subject to applicable laws, rules, and regulations.

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