On April 1, 2014, President Obama signed into law the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014. Among many other Medicare related issues, this act extended through 2015 the ability of insurance companies to offer contracts known as Medicare Cost plans. These popular plans allow Medicare members to purchase or leave them anytime during the year. They provide medical coverage, and in some cases, prescription drug coverage options, at an affordable premium. This is good news for the insurance companies in the states, like Minnesota, that sell this type of Medicare policy. BlueCross and BlueShield of Minnesota, HealthPartners and Medica all offer Medicare Cost Plans.
A Medigap policy is health insurance sold by private insurance companies to fill the “gaps” in Original Medicare Plan coverage. These “gaps” are the health care costs that the Original Medicare Plan covers, but doesn't pay for. If you are in the Original Medicare Plan and have a Medigap policy, then Medicare and your Medigap policy will each pay its share of covered health care costs. Generally, when you buy a Medigap policy you must have Medicare Part A and Part B. You will have to continue to pay the monthly Medicare Part B premium. In addition, you will have to pay a premium to the Medigap insurance company. As long as you pay your premium, your Medigap policy is guaranteed renewable, meaning that it is automatically renewed each year. However, if a Medigap policy was purchased before 1992, insurance companies in some states may refuse to renew it.
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