New to Medicare? Understanding Medicare Supplement Insurance plans and what they cover. They are designed to work with original Medicare (Parts A & B) and help pay some of the expenses that original Medicare doesn't cover; such as co-pays, co-insurance, and deductibles. They are sold by insurance companies but they are not a stand-alone insurance policy. This is where many Medicare beneficiaries get confused, especially those new to Medicare. Medicare Supplements can only work with original Medicare and are limited by the amount they can pay by Medicare. For example, if a procedure is billed by a doctor at a cost of $5,000, however, the Medicare-approved charge for the procedure is $3,000 your supplement is only allowed to pay 20% ($600) of the $3,000 (Medicare-approved charge). Medicare Part B covers 80% of the Medicare-approved charge and you Supplement covers the other 20%. This is why it is so important to ask first if your doctor accepts Medicare.
On the other hand, if a procedure is not normally covered by Medicare but it is deemed "medically necessary" by your doctor(s), they can work with Medicare to get special approval.