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5 Must-Ask Questions Before Choosing A Medigap Plan

Whether you're currently enrolled in Medicare or are getting a head start on exploring your coverage options, one additional type of coverage you may want to consider is a Medigap policy. Specifically, Medigap plans are a type of supplemental coverage that are designed to pay for certain procedures and medical services that your standard Medicare policy may not otherwise cover.

As you shop for Medigap policies, taking the time to ask a provider a few key questions can help you decide on the plan that's right for you.

When Am I Eligible to Enroll?

As with Medicare plans, there is typically an "open enrollment" period each year when you are able to enroll in an eligible Medigap plan. Make sure you know exactly when you'll need to enroll to ensure coverage beginning with the next calendar year. In some situations, you may be eligible to enroll outside of the open enrollment period (this is known as a guaranteed issue right), so be sure to ask your carrier if this applies to your situation.

What's Covered (And What's Not?)?

There are many different Medigap plans available, with specific coverage varying greatly from one plan and carrier to the next. Some are designed to cover long-term care, whereas others may be more focused on things like vision care and hearing aids. Ideally, you'll want to choose a Medigap carrier that can assess your current health/wellness needs (as well as your current Medicare plan and prescription medications) to design a Medigap policy that suits your needs.

Are All of My Providers In-Network?

If you already have a list of preferred providers (including your primary care physician and any specialists), make sure these providers are considered in-network with your Medicare and Medigap plans. Otherwise, you'll be stuck paying out-of-network costs to continue seeing them or will have to switch to an in-network provider.

How Long is the Coverage Waiting Period?

There is often a delay between when you enroll in a Medigap plan and when you can officially begin using your coverage. Be sure to find out exactly when the effective date on your policy will be so you can plan accordingly.

What Discounts Are Available to Me?

If there is another Medicare-eligible senior in your household, you may be eligible for a discount if you both enroll in the same Medigap plan. Be sure to ask about additional discounts on your coverage to maximize your savings as well.