What Is Medigap?
Original Medicare Part A covers many hospital and in-patient care costs, while Medicare Part B covers outpatient and preventive care. There are, however, some gaps in health care expenses that are not covered by these parts of Medicare. To assist with these otherwise out-of-pocket costs, private insurance companies offer Medigap plans to help cover the difference.
What Medigap Covers
Medigap plans extend coverage for Medicare Parts A and B, as well as covering some deductibles that would otherwise be out of pocket, including hospital stays that extend past Original Medicare Part A coverage and doctor-related costs not covered by Medicare Part B.
By charging an up-front premium with a Medigap plan, private insurance companies can provide peace of mind on your hospital stays and visits to specialists. Like Original Medicare, Medigap plans are designated by letters of the alphabet. The cost and availability of these plans depend on where you live and the kind of coverage you need.
What Medigap Does Not Cover
Just as Original Medicare does not cover every cost associated with health care, some elements of health care are not covered by Medigap plans. Most don’t cover private nursing services or long-term care, such as nursing home services. Medigap does not include dental or vision insurance, although many private insurance companies that offer Medigap also offer these plans separately at an additional cost. Since vision is not covered by Medigap, neither are eyeglasses. Hearing aids also are not covered by these plans.
Medigap plans are not part of Original Medicare, which is split into parts. Medigap is not the same as Medicare Advantage, which can cover vision, hearing, dental, and fitness programs. Medicare Part D covers prescription drugs, which are not covered under Medigap plans.