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Medicare Supplemental Insurance (Medigap)

A Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) policy is not a government program. It is sold by private insurance companies. These policies are designed to lower or eliminate the out-of-pocket costs, such as copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles that are not covered by the government-run Medicare program. Some Medigap policies also offer coverage for services that Medicare does not cover, such as medical care while traveling overseas.

Some important items to know about Medigap policies:

1. You must be enrolled in both Medicare Part A and Part B.

2. A Medigap policy cannot be used with a Medicare Advantage Plan, however, if you do have a Medicare Advantage Plan you can still apply for a Medigap policy, just make sure you can leave the Medicare Advantage Plan before your Medigap policy begins.

3. The Medigap policy requires a monthly premium payment to the insurance company in addition to the monthly Part B premium paid to Medicare. A Medigap policy can be purchased from any insurance company that is licensed in your resident state to sell one.

4. A Medigap policy is an individual policy. If you and your spouse both want a Medigap policy you'll have to purchase them separately.

5. All Medigap policies sold after January 1, 2006 do not cover prescription drugs. Prescription drugs coverage can be obtained by joining a Medcare Prescription Drug Plan (Part D).

6. Any standardized Medigap policy can be purchased regardless of your health condition, but only if purchased during specific time frames. During this time you cannot be denied coverage or charged a higher premium. And as long as the premium is paid an insurance company cannot cancel your coverage.

If you are interested in obtaining a Medigap policy the Medicare website will answer all of the questions you may have. For a list of the plans available in your zip code click here.

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