Medigap is supplemental insurance designed to pay for medical care not covered by Medicare, including the deductibles and copayments required by Medicare and extra charges by doctors who do not accept Medicare as full payment for a service. To obtain a Medigap policy, people must be enrolled in Medicare parts A and B and must not be enrolled in Medicare Part C. Medigap policies do not duplicate payment for services covered by Medicare Parts A and B. The best time to purchase Medigap insurance is during its enrollment period, which begins when Medicare Part B is purchased and ends 6 months later. At other times, Medigap may be unavailable or more expensive. Many insurance companies offer Medigap insurance.
There are 10 types of Medigap policies, labeled A through J. Each type offers a different set of benefits. But the benefits of a specific type are the same no matter which insurance company offers it. No Medigap policy covers payment for long-term personal care (at home or in a nursing home), vision or dental care, hearing aids, private-duty nursing, or all prescription drugs. However, additional insurance policies that cover such services can be purchased.
Last full review/revision February 2009 by Amal Trivedi, MD, MPH