Medicare Supplemental Insurance (also called Medigap) is a form of insurance that is meant to cover what Medicare does not. Medicare is the 'primary insurance' and Medigap is considered 'secondary'. Medicare typically pays up to a certain amount (usually 80%) for hospital care, doctors' visits, etc., with the individual beneficiary responsible for the remainder. Medicare Supplemental Insurance can pay for these remaining costs.
As with all insurance policies, the service that Medigap will cover is dependent upon the selected policy. Before purchasing a policy, make sure that it will cover the services you now need, as well as those you and your care receiver's physician feel may become necessary in the near future.
Private insurance companies sell Medigap policies which are standardized and regulated by federal and state laws. At present there are 10 standard policies offered in New York State. For more information about Medigap, call the NYC Department for the Aging Information & Referral Helpline at 1-212-442-1000 and ask for the HIICAP Unit.
Note that Medigap will expire in 2006.