Medigap – the official Medicare supplemental insurance program – is used by nearly 25% of individuals who are on Medicare. Due to the gaps in coverage found in the traditional program, Medigap insurance helps to make medical expenditures a bit more predictable for those who it covers. This particular document covers not only the basics of Medigap, but also covers some of the information that would-be recipients may need to know before purchasing a plan.
Medigap insurance enrollment numbers have changed relatively little over the last few years. About one in four individuals who receive Medicare have this sort of policy, but these numbers vary by state – some states see less than five percent enrollment, while others exceed fifty percent. Most recipients have plans that cover Part A and B deductibles, covering so-called “first-dollar” costs.
For most, Medicare rates are under two-hundred dollars per month. Premiums vary, of course, but most costs are fairly low. As you might expect, plan costs tend to see the most variation across states, with prices varying from about one-hundred and fifty dollars a month to two-hundred dollars per month. Premiums do seem to be rising, but at the same rate as general Medicare spending.
As with most types of insurance, Medigap plans do tend to vary in cost by factors such as gender, age, and whether or not you smoke. Costs are higher for those under 65, while costs tend to be particularly lower for those eighty-years old or older. Men have higher rates than women, and (as expected) smokers see greater costs than those who do not smoke.
Most people who have gap coverage tend to have plans with low premiums. Most beneficiaries actually enroll in the plans that have the lowest overall costs. Regardless of other coverage, it seems that most individuals who seek out this sort of coverage tend to do so in a way that minimizes their costs.
Medigap insurance is an incredibly important supplemental program for those with Medicare but without retirement coverage. One in four individuals has this form of coverage, and those who live in rural states tend to be more likely to have coverage than those elsewhere. As the future unfolds, it seems particularly likely that this form of coverage will remain important. The only foreseeable issues will arise if those in the government seek to actively discourage the use of these products.