Medicare and Medigap – What is the Difference?
If you’re over the age of sixty-five and you are a legal resident of the United States, then you are entitled to receive Original Medicare. It is a social insurance program that provides hospital and medical insurance to the elderly, free of charge. Medicare is designed to cover the basic medical needs of senior citizens, so it’s not meant to be comprehensive. That’s where Medigap comes in. Medigap Insurance is designed to cover any gaps left by Medicare. But in order to get a firm grasp of Medicare/Medigap insurance, you must first have a solid understanding of both of these separate programs.
A main distinguishing factor in Medigap is that Medicare costs nothing to enroll in. There is no direct cost to the Medicare recipient for the insurance coverage that Medicare provides. The program is funded with taxpayer dollars, however, so if you’ve ever paid taxes, then you’ve contributed to Medicare. Medicare supplemental insurance, on the other hand, is only available at an additional charge from the insurance provider. There are typically different levels of coverage, just as you would find with any traditional Medical insurance program, and there are different charges depending on which Medigap package you choose to purchase as a supplement to your free Medicare insurance.
Another distinguishing factor with Medicare and Medigap insurance is that Medicare is administered by the federal government. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) are a component of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The Social Security Administration is also involved, determining eligibility and processing premium payments. Medigap, on the other hand, is privately run, although there are government regulations involved. Medigap is offered to recipients of Medicare Parts A & B. Since these Medigap health insurance packages are sold by private insurance firms to senior citizens, they are governed by the state and not by the federal government.
Whether you need Medicare Vs Medigap insurance depends on your situation. If you are retired and over the age of sixty-five, then you might as well take advantage of the government provision for Medicare insurance. Purchasing a Medigap package to cover any gaps left by Medicare is simple, and you can get adequate coverage at a decent price if you compare plans and pricing before you buy. If you are over sixty-five years of age, then you will likely face some health problems in the future, so it’s always a good idea to have at least basic Medicare coverage, just in case.