Medicare is a supplemental insurance program that provides health insurance for Americans 65 and older. It has been administered by the federal government since 1966. The program utilizes 30-50 private insurance companies throughout the U.S.

Medicare is funded by a number of sources including premiums, a payroll tax and surtaxes from beneficiaries, and general revenue. Enrollees have roughly half of their healthcare costs covered on average. The program also covers some people under age 65 who have certain disabilities or end stage renal disease or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Medigap is a medical supplement insurance policy that can cover expenses not covered by Medicare. This can include deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance costs. In order to have Medigap, you must already be enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B.

Understanding Medigap

Before obtaining a Medigap policy, there are a few things you should be aware of. Medigap policies are only for the coverage of one person, so if you and your spouse want to be covered, you will need to apply separately. Once covered, however, you are guaranteed the right to renew, regardless of your health condition. Another benefit is that Medigap covers you when you travel to foreign countries, whereas Medicare does not.

It’s important to note that if you already have a Medicare Advantage Plan, you can obtain a Medigap policy but you must be sure to leave the Advantage plan before starting on Medigap. You should also be aware that Medigap policies purchased after January 1, 2006 do not include prescription drug coverage. However, the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (Part D), often referred to simply as “Medicare Part D,” can address those costs. Other costs not covered by Medigap include long-term care, private-duty nursing, hearing aids, or dental or vision care.

When to Sign Up

The six-month open enrollment period for Medigap begins the month after your 65th birthday. At Ernstam Insurance, Our Yuba City life insurance agency, we find this important to be aware of. After the enrollment period expires, you won’t be able to purchase a Medigap policy.
Here to Help You Understand Medigap

Understanding ever-changing government-managed insurance programs is no easy feat. However, we’re here at our Yuba City insurance agency to explain and clarify the coverages and to help you get signed up when you’re ready. Don’t hesitate to contact us at any time to talk about Medicare and Medigap, and how it all comes together to ensure you have adequate coverage. Call us at 530-751-1212.

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