Medicare supplement insurance policies – typically called “Medigap” policies – fill the coverage gaps which Medicare Parts A & B will not pay for. This kind of coverage is very important, yet usually will get overlooked by retirees. Without it, you might end up with thousands in hospital costs which you will be forced to pay out of pocket. For most Medigap plans, the only qualification to acquire one is that you first be enrolled in Medicare Parts A & B.

Federal Regulations for Medicare Supplements

You will find 10 Medigap plans available for purchase, which are all regulated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). In accordance with the CMS rules, All Medicare supplement plans have to offer the exact same coverage, no matter the company selling the policy or where you live. However, Medicare supplement plans work differently in your state, so you might have trouble finding a traditional Medigap policy.

Medigap Enrollment In Minnesota

Minnesota offers a slightly different Medigap portfolio than most other states. Instead of offering the traditional Medigap Plans A-F, Minnesota seniors have two choices: the Basic Plan, which offers less coverage, or the Extended Basic Plan, which is more comprehensive but will likely cost more. You may also add one or several riders onto the Basic Plan which will help supplement some (but not all) of that plan’s coverage gaps.

Medigap Benefits Basic Plan Extended Basic Plan
Basic benefits Yes Yes
Part A: inpatient hospital deductible No Yes
Part A: skilled nursing facility coinsurance Yes (Provides 100 days of SNF care) Yes (Provides 120 days of SNF care)
Part B: deductible No Yes
Foreign travel emergency 80% 80%*
Outpatient mental health 50% 50%
Usual and customary fees No 80%*
Medicare-cover preventative care Yes Yes
Physical therapy 20% 20%
Coverage while in a foreign country No 80%*
State-mandated benefits (diabetic equipment and supplies, routine cancer screening, reconstructive surgery, and immunizations) Yes Yes

Plan Coverage & Cost

Health insurance – as well as the cost for it – are personalized to you, the individual. Your weight, tobacco habits, age, gender, and location will all have an impact on the monthly premiums you pay for a Medicare supplemental insurance policy.

The price of your Minnesota Medicare Supplement (also referred to as Medigap) plan depends on a number of considerations. Factors you might expect are your general overall health, your medical history, use of tobacco products, your age, and gender. What you might be surprised by is where you live in Minnesota also determines the cost of your Medigap plan. Healthcare costs in Minnesota can vary widely from area to area, zip code to zip code, even. To give you an idea of what your plan may cost, we have included a chart showing what people who live near you are paying for their Medigap plan.

Most Popular Medicare Supplement Plans in Minnesota

In most other states, the most comprehensive Medigap plan is also the most popular one – Plan F. This plan covers all of the Medicare gaps which could cost you thousands, but all it requires is a single monthly premium for all of that coverage.

However, there are different coverage options for a reason. Some seniors might not have extravagant excess charges for Medicare Part B, or might find it cheaper to pay their Part B deductible than to pay for Plan F coverage. Since there are different Medigap options for Minnesota seniors, be sure to discuss all of your options with your local insurance agent.

How do Medicare Plan Ratings Work?

Medicare has a tool for persons looking for Medicare related plans and programs called the Overall Star Rating. They take data and information that they have gathered on every company in the Medicare market and assign a Star Rating. After evaluation, the more stars awarded, the better quality Medicare believes the company to be. The areas that Medicare rates companies on include a company’s willingness to use preventive measures like tests and screenings to keep its insureds healthy, how well chronic disease is managed, what insureds think of their experience with the company; including complaints and customer service. It’s a good place to start when shopping and comparing Medicare Supplement companies.

Helpful Medigap Tips & Tricks

Doctor/Provider Network Restrictions

Medigap isn’t your only choice for supplementing your Medicare coverage gaps – but it’s the most adaptable one. A number of other types of supplemental coverage, Medicare Advantage especially, limit which medical doctors you can go to and which facilities you can obtain health care from. Going beyond these pre-approved networks can be costly, and the authorization process can be daunting. Medicare supplement, alternatively, will let you use whatever doctor or visit any facility which will take Medicare.

Doctors List

A major advantage of Medicare Supplement plans (Also known as Medigap plans) is their willingness to work with any healthcare provider that accepts Medicare. That means if your primary doctor and any specialists you might currently see accept Medicare, you’ll be able to continue seeing them and having your claims covered by your Medigap coverage. This differs from other plans. Some plans work like HMOs or PPCs and limit your access to healthcare providers to only those that are in a specific network or physician list. With Medigap, if you like your doctor, you can usually keep your doctor.

Drug, Vision and Dental Coverage

Because of recent legislation, Medicare Part D is now primarily in charge of offering retirees their prescription drug coverage. Therefore, it’s no longer required for Medigap policies to supply prescription drug coverage as an option. Vision and dental are additional kinds of coverage which Medicare supplemental insurance and Medicare do not cover. You have the option to either get those covered privately on your own, or to pay out-of-pocket if you find it more cost-effective than an insurance policy.

Enrollment Options & Best Time To Enroll

There are several ways to join a Medigap policy. Even so, remember that they all require you to enroll in Medicare first. If you enroll at the right time, simply becoming a Medicare beneficiary will help you obtain Medicare supplemental insurance coverage, no strings attached. Other organizations may restrict you if you enroll later or if you have chronic medical conditions.

  • Initial Enrollment Period: Signing up for a Medicare supplement policy during your IEP (within 6 months of registering for Medicare) guarantees your acceptance and coverage without any health surveys or medical exams.
  • Guaranteed Issue: Much like the IEP stated earlier, you’ll be immediately accepted without needing to answer intrusive health queries or undergo an exam. Guarantee Issue is typically for golden-agers who don’t join during the IEP because they were previously covered by an employer or group health plan.
  • Annual Enrollment Period (AEP): In contrast to most kinds of insurance, you may enroll in a Medicare supplement policy anytime. You are not constrained by an annual enrollment period.
  • Underwritten: For those who miss the IEP and don’t meet the criteria for Guarantee Issue, you might have to go through the underwriting process. This ordinarily involves questions regarding your state of health, and possibly a medical exam in order to evaluate whether or not your insurance company can issue you a policy.

Free Look Period

To help make the shopping experience simple and hassle-free, all senior citizens have 30 days after purchasing a brand new Medicare supplement policy to decide whether they want to keep it. In case you determine within those 30 days that you’re not satisfied with your plan, you may cancel your plan for a complete refund.

What Medigap Plan Is Best For Me?

The perfect Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan for you is one that you have a good understanding of, provides coverage that fits your own needs and that fits your budget. It’s out there it just may take a bit of shopping to find it. To give you a jump start on the process, has compiled an extensive list of Medigap companies licensed in Minnesota. If you follow up with the information we provide on this site, particularly the answers to most frequently asked questions, we are confident you’ll find the perfect fit for your circumstances.

by Lindsay Malzone, Lindsay Malzone is the Medicare expert for She's been contributing to many well-known publications as an industry expert since 2017. Her passion is educating Medicare beneficiaries on all their supplemental Medicare options so they can make an informed decision on their healthcare coverage.