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Medicare Medigap plans explained

Are you researching your Medicare options and wondering if Medicare Medigap plans may be right for you? Keep reading for eight important things you may want to know about this coverage!

1. Medicare Medigap plans only work with Original Medicare.

Medicare Medigap plans—also known as Medicare Supplement insurance—are designed to help beneficiaries of Original Medicare Parts A and B* control their out-of-pocket costs, such as deductibles, coinsurance, copays, outpatient services and more.**

Members of Medicare Advantage Part C plans cannot purchase Medicare Medigap plans.

2. Medicare Medigap plans are sold by private insurance companies.

You may already know that Original Medicare is funded by the federal government. Medicare Medigap plans are different because they’re sold by private insurance companies. Medicare Medigap plans offer the same benefits no matter which insurer is offering them, but prices vary among carriers. Quality of customer service also varies among insurance carriers, so be sure to purchase from a trustworthy company with a strong reputation!

3. You may have several plan options to choose from.

Depending on where you live, there are up to 10 standard Medicare Medigap plans available to you. The plans are labeled with letters of the alphabet, such as Plan A, Plan B, Plan C, and so on.  Each plan provides unique benefits and varying levels of coverage. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed by the options! A knowledgeable licensed sales agent can help you navigate your choices and select the best plan for your needs.

4. Medicare Medigap plans have no provider networks or specialist referrals needed.

One advantage of Original Medicare is that you can use your coverage at any doctor or hospital that accepts Medicare. Medicare Medigap plans are similar because they also have no provider networks or referral requirements. This makes Original Medicare paired with a Medicare Medigap plan a great option for retirees who like to travel or split their time between multiple places.

Many Medicare Advantage plans have provider networks and require specialist referrals.

5. Coverage is renewable for life.

Once you enroll in a Medicare Medigap plan, you can keep your plan for life, even if you develop a medical condition down the road. The only caveat is if you stop paying premiums, your coverage could be terminated. And, of course, you always have the option to cancel your coverage or change plans if you decide it’s not right for you.

6. The best time to buy a Medicare Medigap plan is when you’re first eligible. 

Your six-month open enrollment period that begins the month you’re 65 or older and enrolled in Medicare Part B is the best time to purchase a Medicare Medigap plan. That’s because during this period, insurers cannot deny you coverage and they must sell you a policy at the best possible rate regardless of your health.

You can apply for a Medicare Medigap plan after your open enrollment period, but you’ll need to undergo the medical underwriting process and your coverage isn’t guaranteed.

7. You probably need to buy a separate prescription drug plan.

Some Medicare Medigap plans used to cover prescription drugs, but with the introduction of Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage, you can no longer purchase these plans. People who already have Medicare Medigap plans with prescription drug coverage can keep their plans. However, if you’re a new policyholder, you won’t be able to get a Medigap plan with prescription drug coverage, and you’ll probably want to buy a separate Part D plan.

8. Using Medicare Medigap plans is simple.

To use your coverage, all you need to do is show your provider your Medigap policy identification card along with your Medicare card. After that, the Medicare crossover system will notify your Medicare Medigap provider when they must pay a portion of your medical bill. You don’t need to file claims!

Ready to start exploring your Medicare Medigap plan options? We’re here for you!

Get in contact with a Bankers Life agent to get started! Your agent will listen to your needs and help you determine which plan is right for you.

*U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Get Medigap Basics,, 2023.

**U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Compare Medigap Plan Benefits,, 2023.

Bankers Life is a private company that is not Medicare, Medicaid or MaineCare and is not a governmental agency