Monday, July 21, 2008

Ask Ms. Medicare: Out-of-Pocket Expenses

Q. What is medigap insurance? Do I need it?

A. Medicare supplementary insurance is not part of the Medicare program. It is private insurance you can purchase separately, for an additional premium, to cover some of your out-of-pocket costs in Medicare. That’s why it’s often called “medigap.”

You can buy one of 12 standardized medigap policies. Each policy is labeled with a letter of the alphabet—A through L—and offers a different range of benefits from the others. For example, plan J (which has the most benefits) pays the full cost of the Medicare Part A hospital deductible and copayments, the Part B deductible and copays for doctors and other outpatient services, plus all or part of the costs of a few services that Medicare doesn’t cover. The greater the number of benefits, the more expensive the plan usually is.

There are also excellent HMO plans. See the Medical Services page in for more information. - Bill

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