Although insurance through Medicare is highly common, Medicare itself may not cover all of the medical care you need. Because Medicare is primarily for people toward the end of their lives or people who have disabilities, the standard coverage is even less likely to cover all your needs. 

If you need more coverage than your Medicare plan provides, you can fill in the gaps with Medicare supplemental insurance. Also known as a Medigap plan, this Medicare supplement insurance can come in different forms, depending on your needs. 

Medicare, including Medicare supplement insurance, is regulated by federal law, so any plan with the same letter designation will offer the same base benefits. However, pricing can vary, and some insurance companies may offer additional benefits that are not prescribed by law. Some of the benefits that Medigap plans can offer include the following.

Coinsurance and Hospital Care

Original Medicare plans typically cover some coinsurance and hospital costs, but if you generally have very high medical costs in these areas, a Medigap plan will cover more than Medicare does. It also offers an additional 365 days to cover these costs after the Medicare benefits are all used up.


Copayments are a standard part of health care, so you likely wouldn't be surprised to find that a doctor's office or hospital charges you some relatively low amounts even if they do take your insurance. But if you find yourself in doctor waiting rooms often, these costs can add up. Use a Medigap plan that covers copays to decrease costs for yourself, and save your money for things you enjoy instead.

Blood Transfusions

Blood transfusions are a medical advantage of our time, but if you need a lot of blood over the course of your care—common in cancer patients, among others—you should consider a Medicare supplement plan that covers at least the first three pints of blood.

Skilled Nursing Facilities

Skilled nursing is a great service that benefits the lives of many. This, in particular, is coverage that someone younger who qualifies for Medicare may need to take advantage of, as well as those who are more advanced in age. The costs of this type of care can be high, so if you suspect that you'll need skilled nursing care, ensure that you are insured for it.

The various Medicare supplemental plans offer even more coverage than is outlined here, so if you are on Medicare but need more coverage than the standard plan offers, look into what various insurance companies can offer you.

Reach out to a service like The Retirement Cafe to find out more.