Medicare Supplement Insurance PlansMedicare Part A: Check.

Medicare Part B: Check.

What about the rest?

While Parts A and B of Medicare cover close to 80% of medical bills and expenses, they do not cover them all. But even 20% can add up to a substantial out-of-pocket responsibility. When you consider the deductibles, co-pays and various uncovered expenses, the gap in coverage grows wider and the costs may prove to be unmanageable for some. Because of this gap in coverage there are Medicare Supplemental Insurance plans, also known as a Medigap policy, designed to cover the gaps that Medicare parts A and B do not.

To understand the important of Medicare Supplemental Insurance, it’s important to know what Medicare coverage includes.

Medicare Part A - Gives a little extra coverage from standard Medicare including hospital stays, (not including a private room), nursing home care, home health care (if ordered by a doctor), home health care and hospice.

Medicare Part B - Covers the medical basics in addition to doctor visits, some preventive services and outpatient care.

There are now over a dozen Medicare supplemental plans that provide additional coverage to Medicare. The biggest difference in these plans is the monthly premium and the amount of out-of-pocket expenses required.

The Basic Medical Coverage in the most common Medigap plans provide a coinsurance to Medicare in addition to coverage for one additional year after Medicare benefits terminate. This means that any of these Medigap policies will pay for the deductibles and copayments that Medicare leaves behind, eliminating the need for any out-of-pocket payments. In addition, certain Medigap plans can be purchased which may cover at-home help for recovery, physical assistance, in-home visits or preventative care.

Those enrolled in a Medicare Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) or other Medicare Advantage Plans do not need a Medicare Supplemental Insurance policy. But for those relying on Medicare alone, a Medigap policy provides peace of mind to know they are covered, regardless of what the future holds.