Is Medigap Plan B For You?

Sue Lanza | May 16, 2011

Medigap Plan B is one of the supplemental health insurance plans that offers additional medical insurance coverage missing from traditional Medicare A and B. Explore the coverage options available in the Medigap Plan B and see if it is a match for you.

To safeguard consumers, Congress standardized the criteria for supplemental health insurance plans into a dozen policy types labeled as Medigap plans A through L. Medigap policies were designed to provide some key health benefits by closing "the gap" in coverage that was absent in the original Medicare A and B plans.

The supplemental health insurance benefits from a Medigap policy could be coverage items such as coinsurance, deductible amounts or co-payments. Medigap policies are sold by private companies for Medicare A and B participants and only are used after Medicare A or B has paid for Medicare-covered care.

Medigap Plan B

Selecting a Medigap policy that fits you best depends on your specific needs and how you wish to share costs with your insurance carrier. All the approved Medigap plans contain three basic coverage pieces:

  1. Hospital care benefits for Medicare A coinsurance (not the deductible) for the length of the Medicare coverage period as well as for another 365 days, following the end of coverage.
  2. Medical costs of the Medicare B coinsurance (not the Medicare B deductible costs) or hospital outpatient service co-payments. Part B coinsurance costs are thought to be about 20 percent of whatever the cost is of the Medicare approved service.
  3. Initial three pints of blood needed for care annually.

Medigap Plan B adds one other component to the supplemental health insurance coverage by paying for your Medicare Part A deductible each year; which is currently about $700.

Due to additional Medicare A deductible coverage, Medigap Plan B will most likely have a higher premium than Medigap Plan A but still may be a good value for someone with limited income. If you already have a Medicare Advantage Plan as well as Medicare A and B, none of the Medigap plans are for you.

Shopping for Medigap Plan B

The supplemental health coverage offered by Medigap plans is uniform in every state but costs can vary widely from each company. Health insurance companies can base their premiums on one of three factors: age-accelerated that increase as you age, age-issued rates that are based on your age at enrollment or community rates that stay the same for every participant.

Take time to consider your current health needs as well as the future as you finalize your selection of Medigap Plan B.

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