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Medigap Coverage Is Changing

Several changes are coming to Medigap plans, which supplement Medicare’s coverage. In June 2010, four current plans will be dropped and two new plans will be added, bringing the total number of available Medigap plans to 10.

Between copayments, deductibles, and coverage exclusions Medicare does not cover all medical expenses. To supplement Medicare coverage, you may purchase a Medigap policy from a private insurer. There are currently 12 Medigap plans that are identified by letters A through L. Each plan package offers a different combination of benefits, allowing purchasers to choose the combination that is right for them.

Beginning June 1, 2010, plans E, H, I, and J will no longer be sold. Individuals who already have one of the plans can keep it as long as they like, but no new policies will be sold. At the same time, two new plans — M and N — will be added. Plan M will pay 50 percent of the Part A deductible and some of the cost of foreign travel emergencies. It will not cover the Part B deductible. Plan N will pay the full Part A deductible, but it will require a $20 copayment for Part B office visits and up to a $50 copayment for emergency room visits. Plan N will also cover foreign travel emergencies.

There will also be some changes to the benefits offered by plans. The home health recovery benefit and preventive care benefit offered by some plans will be dropped. The preventive care benefit is duplicative of services that regular Medicare offers. The home health recovery benefit covered some personal services for individuals receiving skilled care through Medicare, but was underused. In addition, all plans will include an additional benefit to cover the out-of-pocket costs imposed by the Medicare hospice benefit.

For more information on the changes, click here.

For more information on Medigap, click here.