Medigap, aka Medicare Supplemental insurance, is designed to protect seniors from costly medical expenses left by Original Medicare. We know it can seem a little complicated so here is a list of 5 things you should know before applying for a Medigap policy.

1) Medigap: What it Covers

Medigap basically fills in the gaps that Original Medicare leaves behind. All Medigap plans add an additional 365 days of hospitalization, and pay all or partial for your Part B coinsurance, and Part A hospitalization and hospice care coinsurance. While more comprehensive plans may cover deductibles, foreign emergency care, and offer gym memberships.

2) Medicare Supplemental: What it Doesn’t Cover

Medigap doesn’t cover Long Term Care (LTC), does not work in conjunction with Medicare Advantage plans, and newer Medigap plans do not offer prescription drug coverage.

3) Sign Up for Medigap When 1st Eligible

Medigap, unlike Medicare Advantage, does not have an open enrollment period each year. Instead you have a one-time enrollment period that has guaranteed issuance regardless of preexisting conditions. This enrollment period begins the month you turn 65 and are first eligible for Part B.

Click here to see Medigap Special Enrollment guidelines, which explains when you are able to enroll outside of your initial enrollment period without medical underwriting.

4) Medigap Costs

With Medigap you will still pay your Part B premium, which is $104.90 for 2014 (most people don’t pay the premium for Part A), your Medigap monthly premium, as well as you will have to purchase a separate Rx plan. Medigap premiums depend on how comprehensive the plan is, where you live, and which company you purchase your plan through. Medigap plans are generally more expensive than Medicare Advantage plans.

5) Medigap Requirements

You must have both Medicare Part A and Part B to enroll in a Medigap plan. This is because Medigap supplements Medicare, it does not replace it.

To learn more about Medigap call the number above or click here for your Medigap quote.