Understand the different Medigap plans and benefits
There are 10 different Medigap plans, labeled with different letters: Medigap A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M and N. (As of Jan. 1, 2020, Medigap C and F are no longer available for those newly eligible for Medicare, but anyone already enrolled in those policies can keep using them.) Don't confuse Medigap A, B, C and D with Medicare Part A, Part B, Part C and Part D: same letters, different plans.
All Medigap policies cover the same basic benefits (such as coinsurance for Medicare Part A and Part B), but some plans provide different levels of coverage and offer additional benefits.
Most will cover your Part A deductible and your coinsurance for hospice care under Medicare Part A. Some will cover coinsurance for skilled nursing facility care and emergency medical care during foreign travel (up to a certain limit). Some plans have higher or lower out-of-pocket limits on your total annual spending. And some cover 100% of a certain benefit, while others only cover a partial amount of that benefit.
To see a full list of Medigap policies and details of the benefits they cover, visit Medicare.gov.
Plans vary by state
Medigap coverage is standardized by federal and state law, but the exact plans you can get, and the exact prices you'll pay, depend on the state where you live. Massachusetts, Minnesota and Wisconsin also have their own unique Medigap offerings that are slightly different from other states’.
To find plans and price ranges in your area, visit Medicare.gov and enter your ZIP code. This will take you to a list of plans with state-specific premium price ranges and details on benefits offered by insurance companies in your state. You can sort the list by monthly premiums (low to high) or by total yearly estimated costs, and the website gives you a quick explanation of plan benefits so you can see which costs are covered.
Once you find the plan you want, you'll need to contact the insurance company directly to enroll in Medigap coverage. Your exact monthly premium will depend on a few factors.
Medigap vs. Medicare Advantage
Sometimes people wonder if Medigap is the same as Medicare Advantage (also known as Medicare Part C). But these are two different types of coverage.
Medicare Advantage (Part C) is a form of private health insurance that contracts with Medicare. Part C plans are supposed to provide all of your Part A and Part B benefits, and some also offer prescription drug coverage.
So if you have a Medicare Advantage plan, you should not buy a Medigap policy. In fact, it's illegal for anyone to sell you a Medigap policy if you already have Medicare Advantage.
That said, depending on where you live and what your overall preferences and goals are for your coverage, Medicare Advantage might not be the best choice for you. Look at the plan details and read the fine print. You might be better off with Original Medicare and Medigap.