Medicare and Life Insurance

Smart Tips When Choosing a Medicare Supplemental Health Insurance

Smart Tips When Choosing a Medicare Supplemental Health Insurance


If you plan on paying for services and out-of-pocket medical costs that are not covered by your Original Medicare insurance, getting a supplement health policy (sometimes called Medigap Insurance) is an excellent option if you can afford it.

Generally sold by private companies, a Medicare supplemental health insurance can cover health care expenses such as co-payments, coinsurance, and deductibles, as well as emergency medical care costs when you travel overseas or outside of the U.S.

However, choosing the right Medigap policy can be downright tricky for starters. To help you steer clear of overpriced insurance carriers and make the right decision, here are some smart moves you need to keep in mind.

Spend time on research

Doing your own homework is by far the most effective way when picking the best supplemental health care policy for you. As you start your research, you’ll likely find that Medigap plans are different for every state and/or zip code. Depending on the laws where you are located, you may receive additional protections and wider coverage. You’ll also find that packages, premiums and coverages vary accordingly for every insurance carrier. Thus, it’s important to choose an insurer whose offerings can meet your needs and preferences.

Consider your health status

Ideally, you need to get a good grasp of your health status and family medical background to ensure that you get the right policy for you. If you’re still undecided whether or not a Medicare supplemental health insurance is necessary, consider these questions carefully:

  • Can your current Medicare policy cover the medical expenses in the event you get into an accident or develop a major illness?
  • Is there any possibility that you will be in an accident or develop a life-threatening sickness?
  • Can you afford the cost of a Medigap health care coverage in the long run?


You may want to visit the official website of Medicare to help you determine which coverage suit your medical needs, compare premium cost ranges, and find a complete list of Medigap companies in your area.

Shop for the cheapest policy

The best time to sign up for Medicare supplemental health insurance is during your Medigap Open Enrollment Period. This is a six-month period that starts the month you turn 65 and enroll in Medicare Part B. With the Medigap plan “guaranteed issue”, Medigap providers in your area are required to offer you a medical coverage and cannot charge you more, regardless of your health issues or pre-existing conditions. With that said, during this grace period you can purchase any Medigap policy available in your area for the same amount people with good health will pay for.

However, the rules of guaranteed issue don’t apply for people under 65. But fret not, you can still apply for a Medicare Advantage policy as it is accessible for anyone on Medicare. By the time you turn 65, you can then switch to a Medigap plan.

If you need further assistance, don’t hesitate to contact your State Health Insurance Assistance Program. They offer one-on-one Medicare counseling, free of charge.