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Top 10 Highest Ranked Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans in 2019


It’s a challenging activity to do research on insurance products with regards to the coverage offered and corresponding costs for each plan. Medicare, a Medigap supplement policy, and various advantage, prescription drug, dental, and vision plans can be daunting to make sense of. Many seniors decide to opt for Medicare Part A and Part B (combined they are called original Medicare), or Medicare Part C – also known as Medicare Advantage. Parts A and B cover the hospital and medical insurance components. Out of pocket expenses include deductibles and coinsurance, and premiums are a mainstay when it comes to insurance products. Part C combines Part A and Part B together, and in many cases Part D as well and it covers prescription drugs. The original Medicare doesn’t take care of services including dental, vision, and hearing, but fortunately, some Part C plans do. 

 

Taking a look at Medicare Advantage premiums – some seniors do have to pay them while others don’t, but out of pocket charges and coinsurance fees are typically involved for all. Part D is optional for seniors who want original Medicare, and a supplemental insurance plan called Medigap insurance is also not necessary. This policy type doesn’t offer coverage for additional services including dental, a Plan C potentially can, but a positive aspect is that help is offered for out of pocket expenses. 

 

Some Medigap plans cover the majority of medical care costs when traveling outside of the United States – an interesting stat from the Kaiser Family Foundation is that 25% of seniors who enroll in Original Medicare, also pick up Medigap insurance as well. Some individuals rely on employer-sponsored plans and Medicaid, while others avoid supplemental plans completely. Supplemental coverage can be tracked down from a union, or potentially from a former employer as well. 

 

Medigap plans are purchased from private insurance companies, and we rank and outline our top 10 favorites below.

 

  • Cigna Medicare Supplement – Cigna is a huge company that offers Medigap coverage in the majority of states, and comes in at competitive rates.

  • Aetna Medicare Supplement – Getting online quotes from this big-name insurer can be easily done, and you can get prescription drug plans as well.

  • Mutual of Omaha Medicare Supplement – This insurer has a generous household discount of 12% and is owned by its policyholders.

  • AARP Medicare Supplement – AARP offers community-rated Medigap policies through UnitedHealthcare, and the plans are very popular.

  • Colonial Penn – Seniors enjoy that Colonial Penn offers in-person support, and that unique value offsets the higher prices for some individuals.

  • Blue Cross Blue Shield – The process of discovering the ideal Blue Cross Blue Shield insurer in your area can be complex, and even misleading, but its Medigap plans are fairly market competitive.

  • UnitedHealthcare – This company co-brands its plans in collaboration with AARP.

  • Humana – The online process to get Medigap through this insurer is simple to do, and you can also compare prices with Advantage and prescription plans.

  • Anthem Blue Cross  – This insurer provides a wealth of information on its website – even has listed rates for tobacco users according to age and gender, and some of its rates are offered at excellent prices.

  • State Farm – State Farm’s rates can be relatively high in comparison to their competitors, but for some seniors, they are worth the cost to be able to meet with agents in person. 

How We Chose Our Top List

Seniors want a good amount of coverage, but most want it at a good value price. We have done lots of research to help you find the coverage you need, and at a price that you can fit into your budget. Factors we examined were plans and pricing, signup experience, flexibility to configure plans, customer service offered, and other elements. Our top 10 list below is a well put together collection of content, perhaps the best online for this topic so that coverage can be found and purchased both quickly and easily. 

16 Companies Examined

2 Experts Consulted

10 Companies Selected

 

28 Hours of Research

1. Cigna Medicare Supplement

Ease of Use

Excellent

Service & Response

Excellent

Features & Tech

Excellent

Pricing

Excellent

 

Overview

Cigna has the distinction of being in the Fortune 500, and the company provides Medigap insurance at fair prices. For seniors who want coverage for prescription drugs, they can purchase a separate policy from Cigna to accomplish that goal, and to minimize the number of insurers that they work with – always a great idea. 

Pros
    • If more than one person in your household enrolls in Medigap insurance, in most states, a 7% household premium discount is provided

    • Customer service is proudly based in the United States, and agents are available over the phone – Monday through Friday from 8 am to 8 pm Eastern Standard Time

    • Enrollment in the Cigna Healthy Rewards program is complimentary and can produce additional savings in product areas including weight management, massage, and wellness 

Cons
    • Not every plan is available in every state

    • Pricing differs from region to region

    • Offers only Plans A, F, high-deductible F, G and N

    • The process of receiving online quotes can be very challenging, and the experience is different from state to state

Pricing

Depending on each state’s law, it impacts the price points, but for the most part, they are competitive. Taking a look at an example – the state of Washington’s law mandates community-related pricing for all Medigap policies, so everyone on Cigna Medigap Plan F within a certain area or ZIP code, on average, will pay the same monthly premium without age playing a factor, but a smoker will pay more compared to a non-smoker. Looking at another ZIP code, let’s use 24016 (parts of Virginia) for Policy F, Cigna then incorporates age as a factor for pricing – so younger individuals pay less for the plan. 

The Bottom Line 

Cigna has built a respectable reputation, its reach is far and wide across the country, Medigap plans offered are good within many areas, and seniors have the ability to add a prescription drug plan as well if it fits their needs. Specific information isn’t very available on the company’s website, but aside from that fact and for the most part, Cigna is a solid all-round insurer. 

 

2. Aetna Medicare Supplement

Ease of Use

Excellent

Service & Response

Excellent

Features & Tech

Excellent

Pricing

Excellent

Overview

Aetna is a sizable insurer who offers Medigap plans, and they put their customers first by providing simple to get online quotes – always appreciated by potential customers. What they require for information to be entered in their website form is your state, ZIP code, gender, date of birth, and when you want the plan to start. By doing this, quotes for all available plans are listed, so it’s a very open and transparent process. 

Regular and household-discount rates are provided – a nice gesture by Aetna. What each plan covers is briefly outlined, and they do mention that individuals who use tobacco can expect to pay more, and the quotes echo that sentiment. Quotes offered only apply during open-enrollment or guaranteed-issue periods. 

Pros
    • Offers Plans A, B, F, high-deductible F, G, and N – with the Plan C available in the state of Michigan

    • Coverage is available in the majority of states

    • Its chart communicates to seniors for how much their premiums could increase as they age

    • The process of getting online quotes is well thought through by the company, and as a result, boasts a great experience 

    • If your spouse or partner also has a plan, then a 7% household discount is offered in most areas if that’s the case, and if both of you have lived together for at least the past 12 months

Cons
    • Seniors who are getting up there in age may not appreciate the attained-age pricing model

    • Typically doesn’t offer one of the more popular options in Plan C, and it is being discontinued to new enrollees beginning in 2020 

Pricing

As previously articulated, Aetna uses an attained-age pricing model. So for example, page number 2 of this table gives females in certain Virginia ZIP codes a general idea of what they can expect to pay. If individuals enroll during open-enrollment or guaranteed issue times to get the preferred rate, then a 65-year-old female pays $1,439 per year for Plan G, while a 75-year-old female pays $1,797 – a difference of $358 for that 10 year age gap. Male customers pay around $200 to $300 more annually than females who are the same age.

The Bottom Line

A wealth of information is provided by Aetna on its website, and this helps with doing more complete research – saving you phone time with one of their agents. As a senior ages, he or she pays more over time with the attained-age pricing structure in place, but this also holds true with many other insurers as well. Getting a rough idea of what you will need to pay short-term and especially long-term, is something you should be looking to do to adapt your budget accordingly. 

 

3. Mutual of Omaha Medicare Supplement

Ease of Use

Excellent

Service & Response

Excellent

Features & Tech

Excellent

Pricing

Excellent

Overview

Much like Aetna offers, Mutual of Ohama also has put in place an easy to use feature to receive quotes via their website. By providing a few pieces of information you get rates for plan F, high-deductible F, G, and N. The company’s rates are competitive in relation to its competitors, and Mutual of Omaha has done a great job of building a solid reputation for itself. Since 1966, Mutual of Omaha has been offering Medicare supplemental insurance products, and this is when Medicare first got started, so they were pioneers of sorts. 

Pros
    • An easy online process in order to get quotes

    • Offer a household discount of up to 12% if you reside with your spouse or have resided with an adult who’s 60 or older for at least one year, and that person either already has or will get a Medigap plan alongside yours

    • According to the company, within 12 hours 98% of Medicare claims are paid

    • Plans are available in every state except for Massachusetts

Cons
    • Focuses just on plans F, high-deductible F, G, and N

Pricing

Mutual of Omaha adopts the attained-age pricing model. To show how this plays out in terms of pricing let’s use the Virginia ZIP code of 24016 – so a female who’s born in 1954 and doesn’t take advantage of the household discount pays roughly $1,187 annually for Plan G.  A female who’s 10 years older pay around $1,460 per year – a difference of $273 every 12 months. As many price quotes can be obtained as desired, so play around with the birth year value to see how premiums with Mutual of Omaha increase as you move through your life.  

The Bottom Line

If getting the best price possible is your main goal, then Mutual of Omaha should be on your radar – especially if you qualify for the generous 12% household discount. Owned by its policyholders, this insurer has been in the Medicare supplement industry for well over 50 years and has earned respect from customers by looking out for them ahead of their Wall Street investors. 

 

4. AARP Medicare Supplement

Ease of Use

Excellent

Service & Response

Excellent

Features & Tech

Excellent

Pricing

Excellent

Overview

AARP’s plans are offered by UnitedHealthcare, and rate estimates for a Medigap plan can be received by providing your ZIP code. So if you key in ZIP code 24016 you are provided with eight plans and quotes for each – they use the age 65 and don’t factor in tobacco use. In numerous areas, including 24016 as a ZIP code, seniors get access to K and L plans, and those are two that some other insurers don’t have. 

Pros
    • Eight plans (F, G, A, B, C, K, L, and N) are offered in many areas across the country 

    • You can actually apply to join AARP at the same time that you apply for a Medigap supplement plan

    • Assuming you qualify, there’s more flexibility to change to another Medigap plan

    • An enrollment discount is offered in many states of up to 30% starting at age 65 but decreases 3% thereafter

    • Most states have a household discount of 5%

Cons
    • Doesn’t provide the means to get a high-deductible Plan F

    • With the community pricing model in effect, premiums can be a tad more expensive than other insurers provide

Pricing

As just mentioned, pricing can be higher with AARP in relation to its competitors because of its community-related pricing structure – meaning a 65-year-old would pay the same amount as someone who’s 75 years old that lives in the same area. Discounts are provided to many AARP customers when first enrolling, and discounted rates drop over time as the customer ages. 

Looking at a couple of examples starting with a male OR female who lives in ZIP code 24016, either pays $145.76 for Plan F per month, and Plan G costs $113.76 monthly. Heading over to ZIP code 98926 – a monthly plan costs $232.25 for Plan F, and Plan G is offered at $192 per month. Location matters a ton to any insurer, largely because of the cost of living in any given area. 

AARP membership is required, and the annual fee is just $16. An AARP membership offers value including discounts on eyewear, car rental, movie tickets, and on other products. Your spouse or partner can receive complimentary membership through yours. 

The Bottom Line

Seniors count on AARP, and its plans via UnitedHealthcare are quite popular. Pricing can be higher than other insurers offer for younger seniors, but age-related discounts can help with that. 

AARP has plans that are more niche in nature including K and L plans, and if either of those fits your eye, then AARP Medigap may be ideal for you and your needs. Aside from those two plans, AARP is a good option no matter what plan you are seeking out – unless you want the high-deductible Plan F, you will need to go elsewhere as AARP doesn’t offer that specific one. 

5. Colonial Penn

Ease of Use

Excellent

Service & Response

Excellent

Features & Tech

Excellent

Pricing

Excellent

Overview

Colonial Penn offers two main life insurance products for seniors – term life and whole life.

 

Seniors who are up to 75 years of age can purchase term life insurance from Colonial Penn with no medical exam required. Maximum coverage available is only $50,000, and policies can be renewed by seniors who are up to 89 years old. Rates increase as an individual moves through different age groups – for example, 51 to 55 years old, 56 to 60 years old, 61 to 65 years old, and so forth.   

 

Living insurance from the insurer provides policyholders with a 50% payout in the case of a serious illness. 

Products of the whole life insurance type from Colonial Penn offer premium rates which don’t increase over time, unlike its term life insurance. A $20,000 limit comes with guaranteed acceptance for applicants who are up to age 85, while a $50,000 maximum is offered to seniors who are up to 75 years old. 

Pros
  • Guaranteed acceptance for both term and whole life insurance

  • No medical exams are needed

Cons
  • Plans expire when a senior reaches 90 years of age

  • Only a $50,000 maximum is available for coverage

Pricing

How Colonial Penn’s pricing works is insurance comes in the form of units. One to eight units can be purchased for various levels of coverage. Quotes can be instantly received on the company’s website. 

The Bottom Line

Because no medical tests are needed from Colonial Penn, plans are attractive to seniors and can be conveniently purchased online. The drawback is that coverage is quite low, and it’s advised that if you are a healthy individual – to look elsewhere for an increased amount of coverage at roughly the same premium cost. 

 

6. Blue Cross Blue Shield

Ease of Use

Excellent

Service & Response

Excellent

Features & Tech

Excellent

Pricing

Excellent

Overview

Blue Cross Blue Shield is a collective network of a few companies which are smaller in scale. These companies offer Medigap policies that can be purchased, but unfortunately, the process can be challenging. By going to the Blue Cross Blue Shield website, you can find local carriers. However, the results aren’t always what you would expect after providing a ZIP code and some personal information – so this process really only works with certain information when carriers, rate estimates, and plans available are properly displayed. 

Pros
  • Customers in many areas are eligible to receive a 5% household discount

  • Smaller discounts are provided for annual lump-sum payments and automatic bank withdrawal payments

  • You can often purchase extra coverage such as vision or dental through the same company when purchasing a Medigap policy

  • Some areas have a variety of plans available

Cons
  • The online process can be confusing due to the number of local Blue Cross Blue Shield companies – you may even be directed to Medicare Advantage instead of Medigap

  • Some areas may be limited in terms of which plans are available

Pricing

Age-attainment is the most likely approach to pricing, but reach out to your local Blue Cross Blue Shield insurers for more information. The company’s pricing in general though is thought to be market competitive and fair. 

The Bottom Line

There’s a decent chance that you are already a customer of Blue Cross Blue Shield for other insurance needs, and if that’s the case, then going with them for Medigap insurance could be an ideal fit. 

If Blue Cross Blue Shield is a new company on your radar, then finding a local carrier for Medigap could be perplexing, and options may not always be available. Once a local carrier can be identified, then to proceed from there should be a straightforward process. 

7. UnitedHealthcare

Ease of Use

Excellent

Service & Response

Excellent

Features & Tech

Excellent

Pricing

Excellent

Overview

UnitedHealthcare is the provider of AARP plans, and that’s very apparent when going to their website to enter your ZIP code – results open up under the AARP/UnitedHealthcare banner. 

Pros
  • By simply providing your ZIP code you are given rate estimates 

  • Your area will more than likely qualify for a wide selection of plans

  • Enrollment discounts are available in many states of up to 30% starting at age 65, and decreasing 3% thereafter

  • The household discount is 5% in the majority of states

  • Household discounts are quite common amongst customers, as are other money-saving discounts such as Silver Sneakers

Cons
  • The process can be confusing to seniors who don’t grasp the connection to AARP

  • The high-deductible Plan F is not offered by the company 

  • Premium costs may be a tad more pricey, but the community-rated model does offer some level of protection against rate increases 

  • Prices in general, are competitive in some geographical areas, while other areas have higher pricing in effect 

Pricing

UnitedHealthcare’s pricing model is based on a community-rated structure, and rates can be competitive but it depends on where you reside within the country. It’s strongly advised to seek out how pricing compares to other insurers, as premiums from this company can be noticeably higher in some ZIP codes. 

The Bottom Line

UnitedHealthcare Medigap insurance is one and the same as AARP’s, and if you are already an AARP member, you may find it easiest to just get a policy from them. Plans from either company are both popular options for seniors, and getting enrolled is a seamless process. If a primary focus of yours is getting a great price, then be sure to get quotes from other insurers to see if you save money through UnitedHealthcare, or if it’s considerably more, then potentially look elsewhere for your Medigap insurance needs. 

 

8. Humana

Ease of Use

Excellent

Service & Response

Excellent

Features & Tech

Excellent

Pricing

Excellent

Overview

By going to the Humana website, you are given the opportunity to input your ZIP code to discover which Medigap plans are available within your area. In the case where no Medigap plans can be purchased, you are instructed to call a licensed sales agent. 

ZIP code 24016 returns five plans from Humana including A, G, F, high-deductible F, and N. To then get quotes you just provide basic information within a form to receive the preferred rates for a female who is 65 years of age and doesn’t smoke. Prices you may notice are market competitive, and a small online-only discount is provided. The Plan G rate is $97.20 per month or $1,166.40 annually. 

Comparing prices is made easy by Humana where at a glance you can check out Medigap, Medicare Advantage, and Part D. This makes decision making easier when trying to decide on which direction to go. 

Pros
  • The online process is made easy in order to get covered

  • Those who enroll online are given a small discount for the effort 

  • Quotes include preferred and standard rates and rates are also provided according to age and gender

  • Additional coverage is available in many areas for Part D, dental, and vision

Cons
  • Some ZIP codes have either a limited number of plans available or none at all 

  • Some seniors may not benefit from the attained-age pricing structure that’s in place 

Pricing

Humana adopts the attained-age pricing structure – a 65-year-old female who doesn’t smoke and resides in ZIP code 24016 pays $103.40 on a monthly basis for Plan G under the preferred rate, and a 75-year-old female with the same credentials as the 65-year-old above pays $140.54 per month. 

The Bottom Line

Enrollment has been designed to be easy via the company’s website, and the online-only discount is nice if you feel comfortable making a virtual commitment, otherwise call a licensed Humana sales agent to get some assistance if needed. Humana also provides the means to enroll in prescription, dental, and vision plans. If the plan you want is offered by Humana in your area code, then the company is worth a serious look as they have many positive attributes working in your favor. 

 

9. Anthem Blue Cross

Ease of Use

Excellent

Service & Response

Excellent

Features & Tech

Excellent

Pricing

Excellent

Overview

Anthem Blue Cross is very open and honest with you if they don’t provide Medigap plans for your ZIP code – so you know exactly where you stand with them and can move onto another potential insurer. Other companies still want you to call them to explore other ways of making money off of you, wasting your time and leaving you frustrated. 

Comparing rates from Anthem Blue Cross can be done for Medigap supplements, Medicare Advantage, and prescription drug plans. Rates are also made available for vision and dental coverage should you be inclined to incorporate either or both with your plan. 

Medigap rates from Anthem Blue Cross can at times be lower than some other insurers offer, making them an affordable option for some seniors. Taking a look at a 65-year-old female who doesn’t smoke and resides in the 24016 ZIP code – would pay $85 per month for Plan G. Whereas a 75-year-old female with the same profile would pay $141 on a monthly basis. 

Pros
  • A 5% household discount is available 

  • A small discount is offered for a monthly electronic fund transfer, or for paying your premium for the entire year

  • Several other discounts may be available in your area – for example, for those living in Los Angeles can see about an enrollment discount of $240 for the first 12 months of Plan F

  • Downloadable PDFs show rates for tobacco users and rates are broken down by age and gender

Cons
  • Plans are limited in some areas

  • The attained-age pricing structure in place means that older seniors might find better prices through a community-rated pricing structure 

Pricing

Anthem Blue Cross recalculates your age every year, and your premium is adjusted accordingly to reflect that change. Considerations include your ZIP code, gender, tobacco use, and whether it’s your open-enrollment period or not. 

The Bottom Line

Anthem Blue Cross is generous with the amount of information they provide to you to ensure your decision is an educated one should you choose them as your Medigap insurer. The company’s ease of getting enrolled, integrity, and the ability to add additional coverage makes Anthem Blue Cross an intriguing insurer option to pursue. 

 

10. State Farm

Ease of Use

Excellent

Service & Response

Excellent

Features & Tech

Excellent

Pricing

Excellent

Overview

State Farm is a company that most everyone in America has heard of because of the company’s many different insurance products offered. If you’re an existing customer of State Farm who’s looking for Medigap coverage, then you may be inclined to stick with the insurer for your needs. Quotes can be easily received on their website by selecting your state under the “Get a Health Quote” menu bar and then just proceed to fill out the short form. 

As you may know, State Farm isn’t the lowest-cost insurance company out there – for example, a non-smoking female who’s 65 years of age and lives in ZIP code 24016 pays $122.82 per month for Plan G. If you see a quoted rate for a plan you like but want more information or have questions, then just fill out a contact form to hear back from a company representative. Or alternatively, find an agent in your area and call that individual to learn more or to get the process in motion. 

Pros
  • You can get assistance from an agent in person, online, or over the phone

  • Agents genuinely take an interest in most customer’s lives

  • Other insurance products are available from State Farm including life, homeowners, small business, renters, and vehicle

  • Six of the company’s plans are offered in many areas across the nation  – A, D, N, G, C and F

Cons
  • While lots of insurance products are available from State Farm – prescription drugs, vision, and dental plans are not 

  • Price points for its Medigap plans are typically higher than most other insurers 

Pricing

Pricing models can differ from area to area, but the majority use the attained-age methodology. As an example – a 65-year-old female who has a Virginia ZIP code pays $122.82 a month for Plan G, while a 75-year-old forks over $177.22 monthly.

The Bottom Line

 

If you are a current State Farm customer who’s familiar and enjoy dealing with an agent, then a Medigap policy from the company is a natural move, but still, do your due diligence by getting quotes from at least two or three other insurances to understand what your potential savings could be. State Farm is a premium-priced insurance provider, and its rates for Medigap plans are consistent with other policy products.

What is Medigap?

The value of a Medigap plan is to bridge the gap of insurance coverage that isn’t provided by original Medicare. Each Medigap plan applies to just one individual, but household discounts are frequently offered by insurers – often ranging from 5% to 12%. Medigap shouldn’t be confused with Medicare Advantage plans as they are different in nature, and they don’t include other coverage such as vision, hearing, dental, or prescription drugs. 

There are a total of 10 Medigap insurance plans, and each one is designated by a single letter – although the states of Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Wisconsin do things a bit differently than the others. 

Plans have been standardized – meaning that the basic benefits offered by any plan are consistent from state to state. The chart on this Medicare website outlines the various plans and the basic benefits they provide.

A Medigap plan can only be purchased if a Medicare Part A and Part B are had. After getting original Medicare, next decide what Medigap plan makes the most sense for you – the options are A, B, C, D, F, high-deductible F, G, K, L, M or N. Then you can use this Medigap policy search to find the companies selling the plan you want and which exists in your ZIP code. Next up in the process is looking at premium pricing, and the factors that mean the most to you – customer support, in-person agents, and if you already hold a different kind of insurance policy with a company, you can see if they have what you are looking for and determine if going with them is a logical fit for your Medigap needs. 

Plan F tends to be the most popular plan as medical costs are very straight forward, and offer no surprises. A negative aspect about the plan though is that it’s expensive and year over year premium price increases can be an unfortunate reality. Most new enrollees will find it discontinued in 2020, but the positive news is that Plan G is almost identical and more affordable. The most noticeable difference between Plan G and Plan F is that seniors on Plan G need to pay their Part B deductible – in 2019 it’s $185, and the benefits between the plans are the same. Plan C is another plan that is being phased out in 2020 for new enrollees, and this plan doesn’t cover excess Part B charges. 

Be sure to be 100% sure about the Medigap plan you want before enrolling, as changing it to another one can be challenging. Rising premium costs over the course of time needs to be looked at, and understand that analysts in the industry often recommend Plan G over Plan F. 

How much of the cost-sharing you’re open to taking on will help to determine your plan. Every Medigap insurance plan covers 100% of the Medicare Part A coinsurance and hospital expenses for up to one full year after you use Medicare benefits, and also cover Medicare B copayments up to various levels. Every plan fully covers copayments excluding K and L, but K covers 50%, and L covers 75%. 

Other areas which you may want to be covered include: 

  • Skilled nursing facility care coinsurance

  • First three pints of blood

  • Foreign travel emergencies

  • Part A deductible

  • Part B deductible

  • Part B excess charges

  • Out-of-pocket limits

Why Should Seniors Consider Medigap Plans?

 Seniors should take an interest in Medigap plans for the below reasons:

  • Guaranteed to be renewable – as long as you pay your premiums on time and don’t misrepresent information on your application

  • Control of medical expenses with copays, coinsurance, deductibles, and other charges

  • More flexibility to travel outside of the country, and under certain plans have medical costs covered 

  • You can go with any doctor or hospital that accepts Medicare

Fact is, original Medicare pays only about 80% of your hospitalization and medical office costs, but Medigap plans help to keep your costs more predictable.

Medicare Advantage plans can be potential options, with some covering “extras” such as dental and prescription, for example, and some require no monthly premiums but you could be slapped with high out-of-pocket expenses.

How Much Do Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans Cost?

Medigap plan costs boil down to several factors, most notably the following:

  • Whether it is your open-enrollment period

  • Whether you’ve paid premiums on time

  • The particular insurer matters 

  • Your age, gender, tobacco use in the past 12 months, plus your ZIP code

  • The plan itself – the more things a Medigap policy covers, the higher the premium will be, so that’s why F costs more than A

Open enrollment is usually the best time period to get a plan and begins the month you turn 65 years of age and lasts for six months. During this period, you get to take advantage of what insurers call the “preferred” rate regardless of any pre-existing conditions you may have. If you enroll outside of this period though, you may have to pay the “standard” rates. Note that an application can be rejected if you seek out a Medigap plan when outside of the open-enrollment period.

If you’re waiting to enroll in Medicare Part B and Medigap because you have a spouse who has insurance that covers you, you can still get an open-enrollment period for Medigap past your 65th birthday. It will begin when the employer’s coverage ends – usually when retirement occurs.

There’s also something called guaranteed issue in which insurers must give you Medigap coverage even if your open enrollment period has concluded. Essentially open enrollment can affect your plan’s cost, but not necessarily. Protections are stronger in these four states – Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, and New York, and the latter state has continuous enrollment.

Aside from open enrollment – your ZIP code may be the largest contributing factor for how much you pay because of cost-of-living variations, and clusters of senior citizen communities. Looking at an example – if you reside in Miami, Florida, you’ll pay significantly more compared to living in Fort Worth, Texas. If this is the case, you may save money by going with a Medicare Advantage Part C Plan rather than getting Medigap insurance.

Age is also a huge factor and insurers in numerous states use attained-age policies, so the younger you are, the less you pay. Some insurers go in a different direction to deploy a community-based approach where premiums can still increase from year to year due to uncontrollable factors such as inflation, for example. 

In eight states – Arkansas, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Vermont, and Washington, insurers must use community ratings. These state-specific insurers can still charge different rates though depending on tobacco use, ZIP code, and other factors, but they can’t charge more for an individual who is older or less healthy.

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