When entering the somewhat confusing realm of Medicare coverage, understanding the differences between Medicare and Medicare gap insurance can be a challenge.  Medicare Supplement health insurance, known as “Medigap,” is a special type of health insurance coverage designed to cover the ‘gaps’ in Original Medicare Plan A and Plan B. Medigap plans are not available to those who are covered by Medicare Plan C, otherwise known as Medicare Advantage.

When you are subscribed to the Original Medicare Plan(s), you are required to pay coinsurance, copayments and deductibles. While Medicare was devised to aid seniors and others who have certain disabilities in paying their major medical bills, it was not designed to pay 100% of all costs incurred. Unfortunately, when people are struck with catastrophic illnesses, even the copayments, coinsurance and deductibles from Medicare coverage can be devastating…especially for those who are already on a fixed income.

Therefore, private insurance companies are allowed by the Federal and State agencies to provide Medicare enrollees with special policies to protect them from extra charges that Medicare does not cover. These Medicare supplement health insurance plans come in a fairly wide variety of plans with options designed to suit almost any financial situation.

There are 12 conventional Medicare gap insurance plans to choose from, labeled with the letters of A through L. Each Medigap plan is standardized and must include basic coverage’s as per the laws and regulations set by state and Federal agencies. Private insurance companies that sell these plans are allowed to price their policies differently based on additional benefits and/or customer service perks, however the basic coverage for each plan must stay intact. Plans vary from the percentage of dollar amounts covered for deductibles and copays that will be covered to the number of pints of blood that will be covered for any necessary transfusions.

Once you familiarize yourself with the basic benefits of each plan and choose which one is suitable for your individual physical and financial situations, you should then set about the task of finding the right Medicare gap insurance company. Since you will already know the basic included benefits for each Medigap insurance plan, you’ll be able to better evaluate the differences (if any) between what different private insurers are offering at what prices, and thus determine how best to choose among the many Medigap insurance companies.