What Is Medicare Supplement Plans and What Does It Cover?

Medicare Supplement Plans

Are you looking to learn more about the Medigap supplement plan, Medicare Plan D? Or perhaps you’re searching for a drug prescription plan, known as Medicare Part D? It is easy to get the two confused. Health Markets explains the differences between them and how selecting a Medicare Supplement plan could be the right choice for you.

What is Medicare Supplement Plan D?

Medicare Plan D is a Medicare Supplement plan, also known as a Medigap plan. Plan D is one of the 10 standardized Medicare Supplement plans available in most states: A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M, and N. The names “Medicare Plan D”, “Medicare Supplement Plan D”, and “Medigap Plan D all mean the same thing. But these plans are not the same thing as Medicare Part D, which is for prescription drug coverage.

Medicare Supplement “Plan D” and Medicare “Part D” Differences

Although both Medicare Plan D (Medicare Supplement) and Medicare Part D (prescription drug coverage) are used to help fill coverage gaps in Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B), these types of coverage serve different functions.

Why Get Medicare Supplement Plan D?

Enrolling in Medicare Supplement Plan D can help you save money on Original Medicare Part A and Part B coinsurance/copayments. For example, Part B charges a 20 percent coinsurance for covered services after you’ve met your Part B deductible ($185 in 2019). If you have total medical charges are $20,000, for instance, your coinsurance would be $4,000. The higher your total charges, the higher your coinsurance, and there’s no limit to how much you can be charged under Original Medicare. With Medicare Plan D, you pay a monthly premium each month and the plan covers your Part B coinsurance at 100 percent1.

Here are some other reasons to get Medigap Plan D:

  • Foreign travel emergency benefits. Plan D covers 80 percent of the cost for qualified emergency care you receive in a foreign country after you pay a $250 deductible. You’re covered for the first 60 days of foreign travel with a lifetime limit of $50,000.
  • No networks. You can visit any provider nationwide who accepts Medicare.
  • Guaranteed renewable. Your plan can’t be canceled as long as you continue to pay your premium1

How to Get Medigap Plan D

Medigap plans are only sold through private insurance companies. The best time to get Medigap Plan D (or any Medicare Supplement plan) is during your Medigap open enrollment period (OEP) because you won’t have to go through medical underwriting.

  • Your Medigap OEP last for six months and begins the month you turn 65 and are enrolled in Part B.
  • You can get any plan that’s available in your area regardless of your health if you enroll during your OEP.
  • If you enroll outside of your OEP, you may be denied a policy because of your health unless you have guaranteed issue rights.

Learn more about buying a Medicare Supplement plan that fits your needs.

Medigap Changes 2020: How Will Plan D Be Affected?

Medicare Supplement Plans C and F will not be sold to anyone eligible for Medicare on or after January 1, 2020. But the good news is Plan D is a suitable Plan C replacement. Why? Medigap Plans C and D offer the same benefits, except that Plan C covers the Part B deductible ($185 in 2019) and Plan D does not.

Why should this matter to you? If you’re eligible for Medicare before 2020, you may want to consider getting Plan C. If you do, you will be “grandfathered in,” which means you can keep Plan C for as long as you continue to pay the premiums. Currently, Plan C is one of the guaranteed issue plans insurance companies must offer. But starting 2020, Medicare Plan D will replace Plan C as one of the guaranteed issue plans for new enrollees.

If coverage for the Part B deductible isn’t a priority, you can buy Medigap Supplement Plan D now or whenever you become eligible for Medicare. Your monthly premium for Plan D may be less since it does not cover your Part B deductible. The average monthly premium in 2018 was $299 for Plan D and $347 for Plan C.

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About the Author: Amanda Byers

Amanda Byers is a graduate of Columbia, where she played volleyball and annoyed a lot of professors. Now as Zobuz’s entertainment and Lifestyle Editor, she enjoys writing about delicious BBQ, outrageous style trends and all things Buzz worthy.