Medicare is a federal health insurance program for people age 65 and over as well as some people under age 65 with certain disabilities. As great as Medicare is, it doesn’t cover everything. Generally Medicare will pay 80% of your approved health care costs. A Medicare Supplement can help pay some of the out of pocket costs such as deductibles and coinsurance (the 20% left over). The plans are offered by private insurance companies and are standardized by the government. A Medicare Supplement plan allows you to see any doctor who accepts Medicare patients anywhere in the US.
The best time to sign up for a supplement plan is during your open enrollment period starting the first month in which you are 65 or opt into Part B. When you enroll during this time you are guaranteed a right to buy any Medicare Supplement plan sold in your state regardless of any medical conditions you may have.
While the plans are standardized by the government (meaning that a Plan F is the same regardless of the company), monthly premiums and value added benefits will vary.