Secondary insurance would refer to an individual under 65 health insurance policy or a group health insurance policy through your employer.
Medicare Supplement insurance (also referred to as Medigap plans) help cover the “gaps” in original Medicare (the common name for your Medicare Part A & Part B coverage). Original Medicare pays for approximately 80% of your health care expenses leaving you responsible for the other 20%. While 20% doesn’t seem like much, the dollar amount it equates to can become a very large figure if you have to go to the hospital, have surgical procedures, or get a bunch of tests done. Depending on which Medicare Supplement plan you get (there are 11 different plans in total), it can help cover all or a portion of that other 20%.
The 11 different plans available are plans A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M, N, and high-deductible plan F. High-deductible plan F features the same benefits as plan F, except it has a deductible to be met first ($2,180 in 2015) – the trade-off being a much reduced premium). Each plan offers certain benefits – some more comprehensive than others. Each plan must cover a core set of benefits (also known as the basic benefits).
The basic benefits are:
1) Medicare Part A coinsurance plus coverage for 365 additional days after Medicare benefits are used up.
2) Medicare Part B coinsurance or copayment
3) First 3 pints of blood
4) Part A hospice care coinsurance or copayment
There’s a total of 9 benefits that can be secured. The other 5 benefits available under a Medigap plan are:
1) Skilled Nursing Facility Care coinsurance
2) Medicare Part A deductible
3) Medicare Part B deductible
4) Medicare Part B excess charges
5) Foreign travel emergency (up to plan limits)
Each plan features a different structure, Each plan covers a different combination of these 9 benefits (some of the plans feature coinsurance or copayments for certain benefits). Medicare Supplement plans F and G are the most comprehensive and by far the most popular because they create the most predictable expense structures for seniors.
If you’re looking for prescription drug coverage as well, that can be added via a stand-alone Part D prescription drug plan.
When you’re looking to buy a Medicare Supplement plan, you should consult with an independent Medicare Supplement insurance agent to review the plans in detail to see which one will best serve your needs, help you identify all of the carriers offering Medicare Supplement plans in your zip code, and which one will be able to offer the coverage to you at the lowest cost (the plans are standardized so the coverage of a given plan letter is exactly the same regardless of you have the coverage through – the only difference is the price you pay for it.
I hope the information is helpful – please feel free to contact me for help with your coverage and if you have any other questions. Thanks very much.