Medicare Supplement refers to different private health insurance policies sold to complement Medicare, the U.S. federal social security program. These policies are available to anyone with Medicare, regardless of their age or health. They are typically sold by private insurance companies and managed care organizations (usually called Medicare Part C). Private companies that sell Medicare supplements have come under increased scrutiny recently due to the spiraling costs associated with these policies.
Although it may be difficult for some people to understand, Medicare does not replace Medicare benefits; rather, it is intended to supplement the Medicare coverage that individuals already receive. Therefore, Medicare supplement insurance plans work only to fill the gaps left behind when Medicare is not covering a specific medical procedure. Medicare supplement plans may cover most of the medical procedures that Medicare covers, but the exact list of procedures that are covered depends on the type of Medicare Supplement plan that you select. For example, all Medigap policies will cover some of the following: vision care, hospital stays, preventive care, emergency care, specialized medical care, outpatient care, emergency room visits, prescription drugs, disability income, hearing aids, cosmetic surgery, chiropractic services, and mental health services.
Although Medicare Supplement policies are not required by law, it is generally recommended that you enroll in Medicare so that you can be sure that you are well covered. In addition to the fact that Medicare Supplement plans often offer great discounts when compared to traditional private insurance companies, there are several other advantages as well. Because Medicare Supplement plans are not required to have annual premiums, they are an affordable way to guarantee your Medicare eligibility. The fact that you have no risk of rising out of pocket expenses is another advantage of these types of policies.