Pros and Cons Of Medicare Supplement/Medigap Plans

Exploring the pros and cons of having a Medigap plan to better understand if it's the right choice for you.

Michael Bobo

8/18/20233 min read

Pros and Cons of Having a Medigap Plan

As individuals approach their retirement years, one of the most significant concerns they face is securing comprehensive healthcare coverage. Medicare, the federal health insurance program for people aged 65 and older, provides a foundation for medical services. However, there are gaps in coverage that can leave beneficiaries with substantial out-of-pocket expenses. To address these gaps, many individuals opt for Medigap plans, also known as Medicare Supplement plans. These private insurance plans are designed to help cover costs that Medicare doesn't fully pay for. Let's delve into the pros and cons of having a Medigap plan to better understand if it's the right choice for you.


1. Enhanced Coverage: One of the most significant advantages of having a Medigap plan is that it fills in the gaps left by Original Medicare. This can include copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles, providing more comprehensive coverage and reducing unexpected medical expenses.

2. Choice of Doctors and Hospitals: With a Medigap plan, you often have more flexibility in choosing healthcare providers. Unlike some Medicare Advantage plans, which may have networks that limit your choices, most Medigap plans allow you to see any doctor or specialist who accepts Medicare.

3. Predictable Costs: Medigap plans can make your healthcare costs more predictable. With these plans, you pay a monthly premium in addition to your Medicare premium, but you often won't have to worry about unexpected out-of-pocket costs when you need medical care.

4. Travel Benefits: If you're a frequent traveler, some Medigap plans offer coverage for emergency medical care while you're outside the United States. This can provide peace of mind for retirees who enjoy exploring new destinations.

5. Stability and Consistency: Medigap plans are standardized across different insurance companies. This means that Plan F from one company offers the same benefits as Plan F from another company. This standardization simplifies the process of comparing plans and choosing the one that best suits your needs.


1. Higher Premiums: One of the primary drawbacks of Medigap plans is the additional premium you'll need to pay on top of your Medicare premium. These premiums can vary widely depending on the plan you choose and your location. The higher coverage comes with a higher cost.

2. No Prescription Drug Coverage: Medigap plans do not cover prescription drugs. To obtain prescription drug coverage, you need to enroll in a separate Medicare Part D plan. This can add an extra layer of complexity to your healthcare coverage.

3. Limited Availability: Medigap plans may not be available in all areas, or the options might be limited. Depending on your location, you might have fewer choices when it comes to selecting a plan that suits your needs.

4. Standardization Restrictions: While standardization can simplify the comparison process, it also means that you might end up paying for benefits you don't need. You can't customize a Medigap plan to fit your specific healthcare needs; you can only choose from the standardized plans available in your area.

5. No Additional Benefits: Unlike Medicare Advantage plans, Medigap plans usually don't offer additional benefits such as dental, vision, or fitness programs. If these benefits are important to you, you might need to explore other coverage options.

In conclusion, a Medigap plan can provide crucial financial protection by filling in the gaps left by Original Medicare. It offers enhanced coverage, choice of healthcare providers, and predictable costs. However, the trade-offs include higher premiums, the need for a separate prescription drug plan, limited availability, and the lack of extra benefits. Deciding whether a Medigap plan is right for you involves carefully evaluating your healthcare needs, budget, and preferences. Consulting with a financial advisor or a Medicare expert can help you make an informed decision that aligns with your retirement goals and healthcare requirements.