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Mark Miller: Remaking Retirement

Closing Your Medicare Gaps

Contributor Mark Miller explains how Medigap works, what it covers and costs, and when you should buy it.

Rail systems around the world warn you to "mind the gap" when boarding a train. It's good advice for your Medicare coverage, too.

Medicare is comprehensive, but it doesn't cover everything. There are copays, deductibles, and limits on hospitalization benefits. If you enroll in Medicare Advantage--the all-in-one managed care alternative to traditional Medicare--your out-of-pocket costs are capped. But if you elect traditional Medicare, you'll probably want to buy a Medigap supplemental policy to close some or all of your gaps. Nearly 1 in 4 Medicare enrollees have a Medigap policy, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

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