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What Is a Medicare Supplement?

Medicare Supplements fill in the “gaps” of Original Medicare. That is why Medicare Supplements are often referred to as “MediGap” plans. MediGap and Medicare Supplements mean the same thing. Medicare Supplements are sold by private insurance companies. When you sign up for a Medicare Supplement, you would have coverage from Medicare and the Medicare Supplement. Medicare Supplements pick up many of the deductibles, co-pays, and coinsurance that Original Medicare does not. Medicare would be the primary payor and pay first on claims, and your Medicare Supplement would pay second. If Medicare deems the service is not medically necessary and denies payment, the Medicare Supplement will most likely not pay either.

Who Helps Me When I Want to Enroll into a Medicare Supplement (MediGap Plan)?

Our company, Pat Downs Insurance Agency, LLC, specializes in finding that right plan for your health needs and budget. We compare all the top plans in the marketplace at NO COST to you. We explain the ins and outs of each plan and answer all your questions. We get paid by the company you choose through commissions. 

How Can I Enroll into a Medicare Supplement?

You must have Medicare Parts A & B to enroll into a Medicare Supplement. Once you have both parts and have received your Medicare number you are ready to enroll. Once enrolled, you would also want to sign up for a prescription drug plan. Prescription drug plans are no longer allowed to be included in a Medicare Supplement. If you do not enroll into a drug plan after age 65 and have no other creditable drug coverage (like Veterans Benefits), you will start accruing a lifelong penalty. Do not worry because we will help you choose the right Part D Rx plan for you. We will answer all your questions and show you the best plan for your budget and needs.

When Can I Enroll into a Medicare Supplement?

People typically enroll in a Medicare Supplement 1-3 months before they start Medicare Part B. The plan will not go into effect until the Part B effective date or later depending on when you enroll. When you start Medicare Part B, you have 6 months from the 1st day it starts to enroll into any Medicare Supplement without answering any health questions because you are in a guaranteed issue enrollment period. After 6 months, if you want to sign up for a Medicare Supplement, change the Medicare Supplement you are currently enrolled in, or switch to a different company, you will most likely have to pass a health history questionnaire. If you are unable to pass the questionnaire, you may be denied for a Medicare Supplement. Each insurance company has different health questionnaires.

Important Medicare Supplement Facts

  • You pay a premium for your Medicare Supplement. This is in addition to your monthly Medicare Part B premium.

  • Like all Medicare plans, Medicare Supplements only cover one person. Your spouse and/or dependents would need their own plan.

  • You cannot use a Medicare Supplement with a Medicare Advantage plan. It is illegal for anyone to sell you a Supplement if you plan on keeping your Medicare Advantage plan.

  • The fall Annual Election Period from October 15th – December 7th does not apply to Medicare Supplements. You can enroll into a Medicare Supplement almost any month, but you would have to pass the health questionnaire if you have been on Medicare Part B for more than 6 months.

  • Free Look: You have 30 days after signing up for a Medicare Supplement, to decide if you want to keep it or not.

  • You are not restricted to a network; you can go to any doctor or hospital that accepts Medicare.

  • Guaranteed renewable – the insurance company cannot terminate your Medicare Supplement plan if you continue paying your premiums.

  • Benefits are guaranteed – the company does not change the benefits you originally signed up for.

  • Plans are portable – your plan goes with you if you move to another county or state.

What Are the Different Types of Medicare Supplement Plans?

  • Insurance companies sell “standardized” plans. The standardized plans are identified in most states by letters A – D, F, G, and K – N.  Each plan would have a specific set of benefits. However, each plan must have the same standardized coverage regardless of which insurance company you choose. For example, Plan G would have the same benefits for all companies selling Plan G. Typically you will want to compare the monthly premiums. Medicare Supplement companies will not raise your premium in the first 12 months. After that, they can raise the rates yearly. Rate costs are overseen by the state you purchased the plan in.

  • You can see how they compare on the Medicare website here: Comparing MediGap policies –

How Are Medicare Supplements Different in Minnesota?

In Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin, Medicare supplements are standardized differently. Minnesota does not use letters to identify their Supplement plans. They use terms like the “Basic Plan” which covers the basic benefits and “riders” can be added to cover the deductibles, preventive benefits, and excess charges. Other Minnesota Supplement plans are known as “Extended Basic”, the “Co-pay” plan and “High-Deductible” plans. The plans all vary in riders. Like the other states, each plan is standardized between companies.

You can look at those plans on the Medicare website here: MediGap in Minnesota –

What Did MACRA Law Change on January 1st, 2020?

  • On January 1st, 2020 – a new law came into effect. This law only affects the people that are starting Medicare January 1st, 2020 or after and that are born in 1955 or after. It prohibits them to be allowed to buy a Medicare Supplement plan that covers the Part B deductible. That means that Plan C and F are no longer available for those people (because those plans cover the Part B deductible). If you already have a plan that covers the deductible because you were born in 1954 or earlier, you can continue that plan. If you change plans and started Medicare before January 1st, 2020 – you can sign up for a plan that includes coverage for the Part B deductible. This only applies to people aging into Medicare January 1st, 2020 or after.

The information contained on this web page is provided for educational and informational purposes only. While we have taken every precaution to ensure that the content of this page is current and accurate, errors can occur. Pat Downs Insurance Agency, LLC assumes no responsibility for any errors or omissions in the content of this page. Sources: Medicare.Gov & SSA.Gov

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