A wrong move on this retiree health-care coverage could be costly

Personal Finance

If you’re about to turn 65, put your birthday party planning on hold: It’s time to start shopping for insurance that will supplement your Medicare coverage.

Medigap, a type of health insurance coverage, fills out the areas where your Medicare policy falls short, including deductibles, copayments and coinsurance. Some of these policies cover extras, such as health-care expenses during travel abroad.

You would purchase Medigap to supplement Medicare A and B, which cover hospital and doctor’s visits. Medigap plans are distinguished by letter (A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M and N) and each plan offers different benefits.

If you purchase a Medicare Advantage plan instead, you are not eligible for Medigap.

You have six months from when you first sign up for Medicare to buy a Medigap policy and do so without the insurance company pulling up your health-care record and possibly levying higher premiums due to your medical history.

This is known as the guaranteed issue period.

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