What is Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap)?
Medicare is government-funded health care insurance for Americans age 65 and up. Plans include deductibles and copays, so the government insurance doesn’t cover 100% of medical costs. You still are exposed to some out of pocket expenses which is why most people on Medicare purchase a Medicare supplement plan to help limit costs associated with Medicare Part A and Part B.
Medicare Part A Deductible and Coinsurance
2019 to 2020 Increases in Cost Sharing Amount
Inpatient hospital deductible $1,364 to $1,408
Daily coinsurance for 61st-90th day $341 to $352
Daily coinsurance for lifetime reserve days $682 to $704
Skilled Nursing Facility coinsurance $170.50 to $176
Part B coinsurance is typically 20% of the cost for doctor visits, hospital inpatient services, outpatient therapy and durable medical equipment. Medicare Part D is a prescription drug plan with varying copays and deductibles.
We recommend shopping around using a Medicare Insurance Broker like Beacon Point Insurance to compare plans. There are 10 standard Medigap plans, and there’s not one that’s best for all situations.
What Is the Difference Between a Medicare Supplement Plan and Medicare Advantage?
Both Medicare Advantage and Medigap plans are supplements to Original Medicare, but they are different. Medicare Advantage is a separate Medicare plan, technically it is a replacement of your original Medicare benefits. When you sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan, you assign the management of your benefits over to the insurance company. You still will receive the benefits you are entitled to through Medicare, but they will be packaged up in a different way. Pay attention to the additional rules you must follow if you enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan. Medicare Advantage may have a low or $0 monthly charge and covers prescription medicine, although though the choice of doctors, hospitals and networks may be limited.
A Medicare Supplement plan cannot be used to cover costs from an Advantage plan; in fact, it’s illegal for anyone to try to sell you a Medicare Supplement policy while you’re enrolled in an Advantage plan. If you’re unhappy with your Advantage plan and switch back to a Medicare Original Plan (which you can do within 12 months of enrolling in the Medicare Advantage plan), you then become eligible for Medicare Supplement insurance.
Are all 10 Medicare supplemental insurance plans the same in every state?
While there are 10 different plans in most of the U.S., federal law mandates that each plan carries the same coverage. For example, Plan K in New York offers identical benefits to Plan K in New Mexico. However it is up to the companies to decide which plans to offer beyond the required Plan G. Therefore keep in mind, not all insurance companies offer all Medicare Supplement Plans.
How We Chose the Best Medicare Supplement Plan Insurance Companies
For this review, we examined companies with availability in multiple states, to ensure that the most people possible would be able to take advantage of the information provided. However, there may be regional and state-specific plans that might be better depending on where you live. We compiled information from each of the companies’ websites as any new applicant might. We also compared the company’s financial health, according to the ratings by A.M. Best and reviewed historical rate adjustment data.
1. United Healthcare Insurance Company
With over 4 million Americans choosing UHC as their Supplemental insurance provider, the company has built a reputation for being a champion for senior citizens.And with the AARP endorsement, customers will find some of the most competitive rates because of the large number of retirees they insure.
Due to the law of large numbers United Healthcare has become the 800lb Gorilla when it comes to Medicare Supplements, which has allowed over time the rate increases remain more stable than most other companies, you should definitely consider looking at United Healthcare when looking for a Medigap policy.
Furthermore, some of the company’s Supplemental plans offer extra perks such as a free Silver Sneakers membership when you sign up. You can even get a discount through United Healthcare’s Household Premium Discount plan if you and your spouse both sign on with a policy.
2. Aetna Insurance Company
Aetna – Starting as a life insurance provider, Aetna has grown to be one of the most beloved Medicare Supplement plans by recipients across the nation. By allowing the customers to access great doctors while lowering patient costs, the company has been helping seniors pay for healthcare for decades.
Currently, Aetna’s A (Excellent) A.M. Best financial score and commitment to improving health and wellness in the communities that they serve are why many Medicare recipients consider the company to be among the best Medicare Supplemental insurance companies for the health plans that are available in the marketplace. You can even get a discount through Aetna’s Household Premium Discount plan if you and your spouse both sign on with a policy.
3. Blue Cross Blue Shield
Blue Cross Blue Shield is an umbrella corporation that provides insurance by working through over 30 established healthcare providers . An estimated 95 percent of hospitals and independent healthcare practices work with or contract services from Blue Cross Blue Shield, and plans are available in all 50 states If you live in a state that places restrictions on Medicare supplemental policies and you’re having a difficult time finding a plan offered in your state, Blue Cross Blue Shield will more than likely have a coverage option that suits your needs.
4. Cigna Insurance Company
One of the most well-known specialty insurance providers in the United States, Cigna’s Medicare supplement policies are top-notch and widely available.
Cigna offers competitive premiums and policies are currently offered in 38 states (though some states limit supplement benefits available if you qualify for Medicare because of a disability). You can even get a discount through Cigna’s Household Premium Discount plan if you and your spouse both sign on with a policy.
Cigna’s supplement policies don’t sacrifice quality for low prices; the company offers policies that complement Medicare Parts A, B, and D (prescription drug coverage), as well as a few other less common Medicare benefit plans.
Cigna’s policies are also guaranteed renewable for life except under extenuating circumstances so you won’t have to worry about suddenly being dropped from your plan. With wide availability and affordable rates , Cigna is a great supplemental insurance choice for those who qualify for Medicare.
5. Humana Insurance Company
Humana is another well known insurance company which offers supplemental health coverage plans for people who are on Medicare and have Parts A and B. Humana is mostly known for the Medicare Advantage plans they market but many do not know they also offer has a wide range of Medicare Supplement insurance plans that help to pay for expenses that are not covered by Medicare. In addition, their rates are reasonable and they pay the providers without a hassle. If you’re interested in checking out Humana’s supplemental health insurance plans, contact your friends at Beacon Point Insurance
6. Transamerica Insurance Company
Transamerica – Holding an A+ A.M. Best Rating, Transamerica has recently started to offer a variety of Medicare Supplement plan options, such as Plan G or Plan F. While the company has a rich history and excellent reputation for being a high-quality provider of financial products and life insurance policy options, its potential as a Medicare Supplement insurance provider has yet to reach its maximum but is still very promising.
7. Mutual of Omaha Insurance Company
Mutual of Omaha – Mutual of Omaha has grown into one of the nation’s largest Medicare Supplemental insurance providers. Dating back to the 1960s when the company introduced its first Medigap plans, the company has been recognized as a provider in the Medigap plan market for the past several decades. Today, the company’s Supplemental plans have received a A+ (Superior) rating from A.M. Best and garnered over $2 billion in revenue. While the company holds second place in the national Medicare Supplement market, they have an outstanding reputation for offering competitive rates for new enrolless up front, but many have received rate increases larger than others over the following years due to the lower upfront rates.
8. Gerber Life Medicare Supplement Insurance Company
Gerber Life Insurance Company – While many people know Gerber for its iconic baby food producer and operate financially independent from the main Gerber company. Over the last many years, the Gerber Life Insurance Company has expanded upon its children’s life insurance services to include Medicare Supplement plans. Many do not know, but Mutual of Omaha manages the medicare supplement for Gerber Life, so you do receive quality service, however they have struggled to stay competitive in recient years. Holding an A A.M. Best Rating and a BBB S & P Rating, the company insures over 30,000 lives nationwide and offers health insurance plan options for seniors who have Medicare coverage, too.
Medicare Supplement FAQ
How much does Medicare supplemental insurance cost?
We find policies ranging in price from less than $100 per month for basic coverage to thousands for maximum protection. There’s no average cost for Medigap insurance because of many factors, such as your location, age and needs.
A ballpark figure for Medicare supplement insurance premiums is around $165 – 200 per month depending on the state you live in.
Can I get a discount on a Medicare Supplement Insurance?
Yes. Some plans offer discounts if you’re married or if you live with a partner. You may be able to cut your rate if you’re a nonsmoker. Some companies give price breaks if you pay annually or via electronic funds transfer. Even if the website or brochure you’re studying doesn’t mention anything about discounts – ask your insurance agent at Beacon Point Insurance for help finding a plan for you.
Do All Doctors Accept Medicare Supplement (Medigap) Plans?
One concern that comes up when thinking about Medicare supplement plans is whether you’ll be able to use your current doctor with your plan. All you need to do is ask your doctor if they accept Medicare. If they accept Medicare, then they will also accept your Medicare Supplement, no matter what company you get it from.
Is Medigap the same as Medicare Supplement insurance?
Is Medigap the same as Medicare Supplement insurance?
Yes, Medigap and Medicare Supplement Insurance are exactly the same. Government websites tend to use the term Medigap and private companies more commonly use the term Medicare Supplement insurance. In the end, they are both referring to the same product.
Do I have to purchase Medicare supplement insurance?
You are not required to buy Medicare supplement insurance. However without a Medicare supplement plan, you’re responsible for out-of-pocket costs that can cost thousands of dollars. Keep in mind there is not an Out Of Pocket Maximum limit with Original Medicare, so don’t let those health care expenses can eat into your retirement savings. There are many high deductible options that can also protect your retirement, so buying coverage is probably a smart financial move.
When should I buy Medicare Supplement Insurance?
Put the first day of your Medigap open enrollment period on your calendar. This six-month window kicks off the month you turn 65. You must also enroll in Medicare Part B to be eligible to buy a Medigap policy. You can sign up for any Medicare supplemental insurance during the six months, even if you have a preexisting condition.
You may be able to buy Medicare supplemental insurance after the six-month window. However, insurers may increase premiums or deny coverage.
How to Get Help Choosing the Top Medicare Supplement Company in Your Area
For Help finding a Medicare Supplement Plan Contact the Independent Insurance Agents at Beacon Point Insurance – 816-254-6100
or visit them on the web at www.beaconpoint.co