by Center for Policy and Research
April 21, 2015
Nationwide, MCBS estimates show that 48 percent of all non-institutionalized Medicare beneficiaries without any other insurance coverage (e.g., Medicare Advantage, Medicaid, Veterans Affairs (VA) coverage, or employer-sponsored insurance) had Medigap policies in 2012.
Fifty-eight (58) percent of Medigap policyholders were women.
Compared to all Medicare beneficiaries, Medigap served an older population: 47 percent of Medigap policyholders were age 75-years or older compared to only 38 percent for all Medicare beneficiaries.
Medigap was an important source of health coverage for Medicare beneficiaries of all income ranges. Notably, in 2012, 40 percent of Medigap enrollees had annual incomes below $30,000; that percentage jumped to 49 percent in rural areas.
Medicare supplemental (Medigap) coverage helps Medicare Fee-For-Service (FFS) beneficiaries fill gaps in their benefits. Medigap coverage works in tandem with Medicare FFS, allowing seniors to budget for medical costs and avoid the inconvenience of handling complex bills from health care providers. According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), 10.2 million people had Medigap coverage in 2012.
Data recently released from the 2012 Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey (MCBS) serve as a reminder of the critical role Medigap plays in providing supplemental coverage for out-of-pocket medical costs. The MCBS data show that Medigap continues to be particularly important to low and moderate-income beneficiaries, especially those living in rural areas.