Why choose a Medicare Supplement Plan?

Whether you need medical care while traveling, in the comfort of home, or you want the flexibility to see any medical doctor or specialist that accepts Medicare, a Medicare Supplement plan may be just what you need.

As you prepare for the next chapter of your journey, having a flexible and reliable health plan with the benefits you value is more important than ever. Whether you need medical care while traveling, you prefer to connect with your doctor in the comfort of home, or you want the flexibility to see any medical doctor or specialist that accepts Medicare, a Medicare Supplement plan may be just what you need. But, before we dive into the benefits a plan like this can offer, let’s review exactly what a Medicare Supplement plan is, and how it differs from other Medicare coverage options.

Medicare eligibility
As you approach age 65, you may notice an increased amount of information landing in your mailbox about Medicare coverage options and your eligibility. That’s because it’s important you sign up for Medicare before you turn 65 to ensure you have the health coverage you need at a time when it matters most. Plus, enrolling when you’re first eligible will help you avoid paying late fees due to late enrollment. So, take a look at the information as it comes in so you have the information you need to help you choose the Medicare plan that’s right for you when it’s time.

When most people turn 65, they’re eligible for Original Medicare, which is a fee-for-service, federally managed health plan that provides eligible individuals with coverage for and access to doctors, hospitals or other health care providers that accept Medicare. Original Medicare includes two parts: Part A (Hospital Insurance), which covers services like skilled nursing facility or inpatient hospital care, and Part B (Medical Insurance), which helps pay for services like that of doctors/other health care providers, outpatient care, or durable medical equipment. While most people are automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A, each person must sign-up for Part B.

Original Medicare may not be enough
A Medicare Supplement plan (also known as Medigap) can help cover the health care costs not covered by Original Medicare, including some copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles. Medicare Supplement plans ensure you have the long-term health coverage you need and can help save you money.

Why should I choose a Medicare Supplement plan?
With a Medicare Supplement plan, Medicare pays its portion of your healthcare costs first, and then your Medicare Supplement policy pays a portion, helping to lower your out-of-pocket costs.

Medigap coverage may be right for you if:

  • You are seeking treatment or care when traveling out of state
  • You want to seek treatment from a Medicare-approved provider of your choice
  • You want help paying for the healthcare costs Original Medicare doesn't cover, like deductibles, copayments,  and coinsurance


The difference between a Medicare Supplement (also known as Medigap) and a Medicare Advantage plan
Medicare Advantage plans are sold by private insurance companies like Blue Shield of California to combine the benefits of Original Medicare with other benefits, like prescription drug coverage. Medicare Advantage plans may have more restricted provider networks, depending on the plan. A person with this type of plan may pay a premium, copayments, and a deductible.

In contrast, Medicare Supplement plans are accepted by any medical provider that accepts Medicare, and help cover coinsurance, copayment, and deductible expenses. Though Medicare Supplement plans don’t include prescription drug coverage, you can protect your savings from the high cost of prescriptions by complementing your Blue Shield Medicare Supplement coverage with one of our standalone prescription drug plans. You can even add a vision or dental plan as well, addressing all of your health care needs in one place.


The choice is yours
For a Medicare Supplement plan that offers more, choose from our popular Plan F Extra,1 Plan G Extra or our brand-new Plan G Inspire,2 with more than $3,000 in extra benefits,3 including:

  • One-Year new or renewal classic AAA Membership,4,5 with 24/7 roadside assistance, included with your plan, annually upon enrollment
  • Vision and hearing aid benefits6
  • Quarterly allowance for over-the-counter (OTC) items7
  • Doctors on-call 24/7 by phone or video
  • Wellness and fitness programs

Want to learn more? Call an experienced Blue Shield Medicare Adviser at (888) 825-4482 (TTY:711) to help you understand your Medicare coverage options and find the plan that meets your health care needs.

How do I get a Medicare Supplement plan?
Medicare Supplement plans are sold by private insurance companies, like Blue Shield of California. We offer a variety of Medicare Supplement plans, so you can choose the level of coverage that meets your healthcare needs and budget.

When considering a Medicare Supplement plan, keep in mind…

  • You must have Medicare parts A and B before purchasing a Medicare Supplement plan
  • Medicare Supplement plans and Medicare Advantage plans are not the same thing:
    • Medicare Supplement plans "supplement" your Original Medicare coverage
    • Medicare Advantage plans replace your Original Medicare coverage
  • You cannot have both a Medicare Supplement plan and a Medicare Advantage plan at the same time
  • Medicare Supplement plans cover only one individual at a time

Access the care you've earned
Finding a Medicare Supplement plan that meets your healthcare needs is about knowing how much coverage will help you live a healthier life. For some, staying with Original Medicare may be enough. For others, purchasing a Medicare Supplement plan to enhance their Original Medicare coverage may be the right choice. To help you find the plan that's right for you, compare your Medicare coverage options, or call (888) 825-4482 (TTY:711) to speak with one of our knowledgeable agents to help.

For coverage you can count on, choose a Blue Shield Medicare Supplement plan today.

1 Plan F Extra is only available to applicants who attained age 65 before January 1, 2020, or first became eligible for Medicare benefits due to disability before January 1, 2020.

2 Available in select counties in northern California.

3 Blue Shield of California actuarial estimate of extra benefits assuming maximum coverage over the course of 12 months for Blue Shield Medicare Supplement Plan G Extra and Plan G Inspire. Value estimate varies by Medicare Supplement plan.

4 One-year new or renewal Classic AAA Membership, included with your plan, annually upon enrollment. The value of the Classic AAA Membership is subject to change. AAA Membership provided by AAA Northern California, Nevada & Utah.

5 Available with Plan G Inspire.

6 Vision benefits include coverage for costs of eye exam, frames, eyeglass lenses or contact that are not traditionally covered by Original Medicare.

7 Two-time use per quarter allowance for eligible items. Unused allowance cannot be rolled over into the next quarter. Limitations may apply. See the over-the-counter (OTC) items catalog for details.

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Page last updated: 10/01/2023

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