What is Medigap or Medicare Supplements?
In order to buy a Medicare Supplement plan, you must have Original Medicare Parts A and B.
Before the meteoric rise of Medicare Advantage plans beginning in 2006-2007, this was really the only option you had to fill in the gaps of Original Medicare. That’s why sometimes Medicare Supplements are also called Medigap plans. Different people will call them either one of those, usually depending on what part of the country you live in.
Medicare Supplement plans have been around for a very long time but came under federal oversight in the early 1980s and have undergone several transformations since then. Today, Medicare Supplement plans come in several flavors, which have letters attached to them. These are A, B, C, D, F, High-F, G, High-G, K, L, M, and N. There’s also something called Medicare Select Plans, which are essentially Medicare Supplement plans with networks.
If you happen to live in Massachusetts, Minnesota, or Wisconsin, you may have options to choose from in addition to the letters listed above. Also, you can’t buy Medicare Supplement plans F, High-F, or C if you became eligible for Medicare after January 1, 2020. If you already have one, you can keep it.
The letters associated with Medicare Supplement plans do not correlate at all to Original Medicare’s A, B, C, and D. We recommend you pay attention to Plans G and N, as they offer the most comprehensive coverage. If you turned sixty-five prior to January 1, 2020, then we’d pay attention to C and F as well.
Medicare Supplements F and G are the only two that cover Medicare Part B Excess Charges.
Medicare Supplements are not Medicare Advantage plans. They don’t have anything to do with the notion of Managed Care, which is defined by Oxford Languages as “a system of healthcare in which patients agree to visit only certain doctors and hospitals, and in which the cost of treatment is monitored by a managing company.” They are simply insurance policies that fill in the gaps of Medicare after Medicare has paid their portion.
There are no HMO or PPO networks to mess with (except for the rare Select plans). There aren’t teams of people in place at the insurance company to make sure you’re getting the proper care if, say, you’re a diabetic or have a heart condition. If your doctor says you need an MRI, there are no Medicare insurance company rules. There are actually very few Medicare rules that make your doctor jump through hoops to get Medicare to pay for most procedures. There are typically no bells and whistles or extra benefits like dental coverage, meals, or transportation services embedded in these policies. The policies are simply paying what’s billed after Medicare pays out its portion.
Here’s how they work: Medicare Supplement plans have to be licensed and are regulated by the state and federal government, but unlike Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plans, the states really take the lead here. That’s why there are so many state-based exceptions to the plans offered and the renewal timeframes. In fact, when you have a complaint about a Medicare Supplement insurance company, you don’t usually call Medicare; most of the time, you call the state Department of Insurance to complain. Each year, insurance companies must meet a long list of requirements from each state to continue to offer the plans and, when necessary, change their premiums. Sometimes, the states reject a company’s plans for increasing premiums.
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Frequently Asked Questions
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Independent Medicare insurance agents and agencies such as Chicagoland Medicare get paid by the insurance companies they represent. The commissions we are paid are already built into the insurance policy you’ve purchased, and there isn’t a way to carve them out of the monthly premium. There is no extra fee for buying a Medicare insurance policy through Chicagoland Medicare, nor will you ever pay a fee for our help.
A local, independent Medicare insurance agent represents multiple carriers so that they can work to give you an unbiased opinion on your Medicare insurance plan options. Chicagoland Medicare agents and agencies are state-licensed, trained, tested and appointed by a hand-selected number of Medicare insurance companies to be able to shop and compare Medicare insurance polices to make sure we find the right fit for you! We explore your healthcare and financial needs and listen to your feelings around options available in your local area. We search for a plan that most closely fits your individual needs and budget.
Is Chicagoland Medicare free? Yes, our services are completely free to you and anything we get paid is paid to us by the Medicare insurance companies.
The monthly premiums you pay for your Medicare insurance policies are exactly the same. You cannot buy a Medicare insurance policy directly from a Medicare insurance company at a lower rate.
We have years of experience selling Medicare insurance in the Chicago area including Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana.
There are all sorts of differences in the amount of coverage and they type of Medicare insurance coverage you can buy depending on what state and county you live in! Chicagoland Medicare independent Medicare agents have a lot of real-world experience and insight regarding the inner-workings of Medicare insurance companies that you, the consumer, may not have access to, such as Medicare Advantage service areas, Medicare Supplemental (Medigap) annual premium increase trends, application fees, discounts programs and more.
Only independent Medicare insurance agents and agencies like Chicagoland Medicare can offer a variety of plans and an unbiased, multi-company approach so our recommendations are objective unbiased and personalized when we sell you a Medigap, Medicare Advantage or Part D drug plan that’s right for you.
At Chicagoland Medicare, we specialize in Medicare insurance products. Period. We’re not distracted by attempting to sell you life insurance, financial planning services, stocks, bonds or anything else. Medicare insurance is all we do! Unlike many other Medicare insurance agents and brokers, we don’t sell group small business health insurance polices, disability insurance, home or auto insurance. We are a boutique Medicare insurance agency, we like it that way and we’re awesome at what we do.
We only partner with ‘A’ rated, household name, established Medicare insurance companies who offer Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement, Medigap and Medicare Part D plans in Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin.
We do not contract with, nor offer our clients startup, new or state-based, regional Medicare insurance companies. We believe in partnering with established companies for consistency, financial strength and experience.
Sometimes, Medicare insurance agents and agencies try to offer too many different insurance products from too many companies. There are literally thousands of combinations of Medicare insurance plan combinations to choose from in the Chicago area – we choose to focus on a select few of large, reliable, well-established, and financially sound Medicare insurance companies to partner with. Oftentimes, other local Medicare agents and agencies get pulled in too many directions with too many insurance offerings and therefore can’t be as knowledgeable as possible about any carrier or one insurance type over another.
At Chicagoland Medicare, we limit the number of Medicare insurance carriers who have access to our clients. We work hard to know the deep inner-workings of each of our Medicare insurance partners which means our agents and our clients aren’t distracted by small, startup Medicare insurance companies who may have a great product for a year or two, then fade into the background and exit the market. We know our Medicare insurance company representatives by name, and know how to navigate their systems and processes.
The bottom line: Chicagoland Medicare is an independent Medicare insurance agency. We are not owned by a Medicare insurance company or by some large, national entity. We’re your local Medicare insurance agency for the Chicago area. This means we only work with hand-selected Medicare insurance companies so that we can provide you with the best Medicare plan for you that’s individualized and personalized. We exist and work ONLY for our clients, unencumbered by having to push just one company’s Medicare insurance products.