Medigap is private insurance that covers the gap between what Medicare pays and what a health plan provider charges. Trying to figure out which Medigap policy is best for you, can be a pretty daunting task.
But thanks to a federal program known as the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP), every state in the country offers trained counselors who can answer questions regarding health insurance in an objective and easy-to-understand way. All services are free and the information is kept confidential. The counselors also provide brochures that explain your benefits under various health insurance programs. Contact your local SHIP program by calling the Area Agency on Aging at 1.800.677.1116.
SHIP volunteers can help you do the following:
Decide whether a Medicare Health Plan provider (e.g., health maintenance organization (HMO) or preferred provider organization (PPO)) is right for you by explaining the way its network operates compared with traditional Medicare.
Understand your Medicare benefits by explaining the way each provider network operates.
Select a Medigap insurance policy by explaining the benefits offered under each of the plans and providing a list of companies selling this type of insurance.
Find programs to pay for your prescription drugs and help you sign up for Extra Help with Medicare Part D plans.
Find programs that will pay your Medicare deductibles, co-pays and premiums, and assist with your applications.
Understand and review long-term care by examining, reviewing and selecting the best government assistance programs and private long-term care insurance policies.
Understand the new options that will be available in the future.
Process and resolve disputes by being your advocate if you have a problem with Medicare or your Medicare Health Plan provider.