I’ll jump right into it – Medigap is a supplemental health insurance plan that offsets the costs of Medicare. For those with Medicare Part A and Part B, Medigap can be purchased for an additional premium. Medigap is also known as supplemental Medicare.
What does Medigap cover?
Medigap plans typically help cover the cost of deductible, copayments and coinsurance. While Part A and Part B provide coverage, they still have quite a few costs.
Medicare Part A covers the costs associated with inpatient hospital stays. Part A still has a deductible of $1,484 in 2021 which means you will pay almost $1,500 out of pocket before Medicare starts paying! If you unfortunately have a longer hospital stay, more costs kick in after 30 days.
Medicare Part B covers costs associated with doctors visits. Part B has a deductible of $203.
Medigap steps in and pays many of these out of pocket costs if you get sick or injured. In exchange, you will pay a monthly premium amount for Medigap.
What the insurance companies don’t tell you
What these health insurance companies don’t advertise is that all Medigap plans are standardized. Meaning whether you purchase a plan through Aetna, Humana or AARP/United, the benefits will be the same for each type of plan.
This means that the deciding factors for picking a plan are not up to the benefits that the health insurance company offers you or which type of plan has the most coverage. The deciding factor is the availability of the plan in your zip code and the reputation of the health insurance company.
How to pick a good Medigap plan
So if you are trying to get a good Medigap plan, purchase one from a company that offers it in your area and has good customer service. Once you have narrowed down the plan you like and have found companies that offer it in your area, put them to the test.
I know it seems trivial, but if you have an unexplained health expense or think the company made an error with an insurance claim, customer service is EVERYTHING.
In the video at the top of this page, I tested out AARP/UnitedHealth’s customer service.
AARP Medigap: the final score
As you can see in the video, I went to AARP/UnitedHealth’s Medigap website. Once there, I found two customer service options and evaluated the fastest way to get to a real human, then how helpful the human was.
I was disappointed when the “chat now” box didn’t open. Its not like it took a while, it really just never, ever opened in the four or so minutes I tried to utilize it.
I was impressed with the time it took for me to get through to a real human. Once I went through an initial automated phone page, I was able to quickly get through to a real human. She was nice, polite, and response. Although I could tell my request to her wasn’t in her scope, she offered to help me right away.
Overall, I give AARP/UnitedHealth a B- for their inability to have a working chat functionality, but relatively little wait time to get to a real, helpful human.
If you need help picking a plan, let me know and I would be happy to help navigate the process with you.