Friday, February 27, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Protect yourself against Medicare ‘gaps’

By
From page OSF4 | April 10, 2014 |

Your Original Medicare insurance covers a wide variety of health services, from flu shots to hospital stays to hospice care. But it doesn’t cover everything, and it doesn’t cover all your out-of-pocket costs.

Many services covered by Original Medicare require co-payments, coinsurance and deductibles. You can purchase extra insurance to cover these “gaps” in Medicare. Such insurance is called Medicare Supplement Insurance, or Medigap. Some Medigap policies also provide coverage that Original Medicare doesn’t, like emergency care in a foreign country.

You have to pay for Medigap yourself, and it’s sold through private insurance companies. You can buy it only if you have Original Medicare, not Medicare Advantage, which is managed care provided by private insurers.

Every Medigap policy has to follow federal and state laws designed to protect you. Insurance companies can sell you only a “standardized” Medigap policy identified in most states by the letters A through N. Each standardized policy must offer the same basic benefits, no matter which company sells it.

So beware when you’re shopping for a Medigap policy: Cost is usually the only difference between Medigap policies with the same letter sold by different companies.

There can be big differences in how much various insurers charge for the same coverage.

Here are some of the costs that Medigap policies often cover:

  • Medicare Part A (hospital) coinsurance and hospital costs for up to 365 days after Medicare benefits run out.
  • Medicare Part B (medical) coinsurance or co-pays.
  • Part A hospice care coinsurance or co-pays.
  • Skilled nursing facility coinsurance.
  • Part A and Part B deductibles.

Medigap policies generally don’t cover long-term care (like care in a nursing home), vision or dental, hearing aids, eyeglasses and private‑duty nursing.

The best time to buy a Medigap policy is during your Medigap open enrollment period. This period lasts for six months and begins on the first day of the month in which you’re 65 or older and enrolled in Medicare Part B.

Why is this important? Because during open enrollment, an insurance company can’t refuse to sell you any Medigap policy it offers due to any health problems you may have. Nor can you be charged more based on your health status.

In some cases, however, an insurer can refuse to cover your out-of-pocket costs for pre-existing health conditions for up to six months. After six months, the Medigap policy will cover the pre-existing condition.

Remember, for Medicare‑covered services, Original Medicare will still cover the condition even if the Medigap policy won’t cover your out‑of‑pocket costs. But you’re responsible for the coinsurance or co-payments.

A few other points to keep in mind:

  • You must have Medicare Part A and Part B to buy a Medigap policy.
  • Plans E, H, I and J are no longer for sale, but you can keep these plans if you already have one.
  • A Medigap policy only covers one person. If you and your spouse both want Medigap coverage, you must each buy a separate policy.
  • Any standardized Medigap policy is guaranteed renewable, even if you have health problems. This means the insurance company can’t cancel your policy as long as you pay the premium.

Although some Medigap policies sold in the past cover prescription drugs, Medigap policies sold after Jan. 1, 2006, aren’t allowed to include prescription drug coverage. If you want such coverage, you can join a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan, offered by private companies approved by Medicare.

David Sayen is Medicare’s regional administrator for Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, and the Pacific Territories. You can always get answers to your Medicare questions by calling 800-MEDICARE (800-633-4227).

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

 
Fairfield mayor ready to share a whale of a tale

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1, 2 Comments

 
Nonagenarian recounts life as spy in World War II

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
 
2-day event will focus on bullying prevention

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

 
Republican women to hear about immigration reform

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3, 1 Comment

 
Wolk to chair committee on state’s wine industry

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A4

 
Kaiser offers Capoot scholarships

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A4

 
Suisun City police log: Feb. 25, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Fairfield police log: Feb. 25, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

.

US / World

Llamas on the loose trends on Twitter

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Two inured in hazmat explosion

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

No charges yet for train crash truck driver

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Not guilty plea for suspect in Hollywood exec murder

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
After 67 years of marriage, couple dies holding hands

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Missing 400-year-old Italian books found in California

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Sacramento man pressured to remove swastikas

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 3 Comments

Feds: 3 accused in Islamic State plot vocal about beliefs

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Saudi man convicted of conspiracy in ’98 US embassy bombings

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Panel: Use new meningitis vaccines only for outbreaks

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
House GOP weighs new approach on Homeland Security

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Vandalism in Arizona shows the Internet’s vulnerability

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Prosecutor: Mom craved attention, poisoned child with salt

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Ukraine, rebels start pulling back heavy weapons in the east

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
‘Jihadi John’ raised in UK, studied computers, reports say

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Militants abduct more Christians, smash ancient artifacts

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
.

Living

Community Calendar: Feb. 27, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Today in History: Feb. 27, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: Feb. 27, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

 
I’m worried about how my wife’s erratic behavior is affecting our kids

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

Week in preview Feb. 27-March 5, 2015

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
Conan O’Brien takes his show to Cuba for a special hour

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Review: Smith, Robbie pour on the charm in sharp ‘Focus’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Custom dress Lupita Nyong’o wore at Oscars reported stolen

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

ABC’s Sawyer does prime-time prison special

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Q&A: Writer-director-actor Mark Duplass is a busy guy

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Actor Will Patton charged with DUI in native South Carolina

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
AP Exclusive: Redmayne lends voice to “Thomas & Friends”

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Entertainment Calendar: Feb. 27, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: B4

 
Tea Leoni in a happy state as star of ‘Madam Secretary’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Graceland brings Elvis back to his Las Vegas home

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

.

Sports

LeBron scores 42, Cavs beat Warriors for 18th win in last 20

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
 
A’s begin baseball’s mandatory domestic violence training

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

Earthquakes set to open new MLS stadium

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
IOC member, once critical of Rio, now sees ‘great progress’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Judge rules for Peterson, opening door for reinstatement

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Herman survives windy day; McIlroy stumbles at Honda Classic

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Roberts, NBA writers open discussion over locker room access

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
IOC relaxes rule on athletes and sponsors during Olympics

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Nevada gambling regulators sign off on Olympic betting

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Video shows Hernandez dancing near gas pump before killing

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Kings’ Collison to have surgery, re-evaluated in 3-6 weeks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
AP source: 49ers to bid to host college football title game

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Bulls say Rose to have surgery on Friday

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

NASCAR back on track for extra day of testing in Atlanta

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
No word on possible MLB discipline for Angels star Hamilton

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Giants closer Casilla hit on shin during batting practice

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
LeBron not happy colleges recruiting 10-year-old son

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

.

Business

Volkswagen Jetta is a pleasure to live with, not just to gawk at

By Washington Post | From Page: C1 | Gallery

 
5 things to know about ‘net neutrality’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

Regulators approve tougher rules for Internet providers

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Strong reliability scores should help Buick brand’s rebirth

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

Nissan executive known as ‘father of the Z’ dies at 105

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

 
Walmart CEO wading through mounting issues

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

Pew study: Americans still stressed despite improved economy

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
Facebook allows users to ‘fill in’ gender option

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11, 1 Comment

Medical marijuana passes tough first hurdle in Utah

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
Applications for US jobless aid rise to 313,000

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

Google looks for more revenue from ads in Android app store

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
.

Obituaries

Donald Grimm

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9