What Are Medigap Plans?

Medigap plans are health insurance plans that provide extra protection beyond Medicare by filling in some of the "gaps" in Medicare coverage. In Massachusetts, these plans allow continuous open enrollment. You must have Medicare A or B to enroll, and cannot be enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan. Anyone who is eligible may enroll or change plans or coverage levels at any time, with changes effective the first day of the following month. Note that Medigap policies do not cover prescription drugs, which are covered separately under Medicare Part D. 
A Medigap policy will generally pay only when Medicare approves payments. You are free to choose any doctor or hospital that accepts Medicare and you do not need referrals to see a specialist. 
For assistance with choosing a Medigap plan or any Medicare issue, contact SHINE (Serving Health Insurance Needs of Everyone). Trained SHINE Counselors offer free, in-person, confidential counseling on all aspects of Medicare and related insurance programs. You can schedule an appointment at the Winthrop Senior Center by calling 617-846-8538, or by calling the Regional SHINE office at Mystic Valley Elder Services in Malden at 781-388-4845.