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Best Medicare Supplemental Insurance

AUTHORIZED PARTNER
by Cyril Tuohy Insurance Contributing Editor

Medicare Supplement Insurance, also called Medigap, helps individuals who have Medicare Parts A and B manage the costs of medical treatment by covering additional services, including deductibles, coinsurance and copayments. Our research team vetted 11 providers that are rated by more than 832 customers. Read our guide to choose the best supplemental insurance plan by comparing cost and coverage.

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Our top picks for Medicare supplemental insurance companies

Read more about our top picks to find the best Medicare supplemental insurance policy for your needs:

Methodology

To come up with our top picks, we looked at the reviews and ratings submitted by customers on ConsumerAffairs. To make our list, a provider needed to have at least an overall 4-star rating and a minimum of 50 ratings total. From there, we compared each provider's plans, premiums, terms and conditions and overall customer satisfaction to generate our reviews below.

United American Insurance

United American Insurance offers plans A, B, D, G, K, L, M and N to Medicare-eligible applicants and plans C and F for anyone who was Medicare-eligible prior to Jan. 1, 2020. High-deductible versions of plan F and G are also available with a deductible of $2,340.

Its agents can help you pick a plan that’s right for you. You can request agent assistance online or by calling United American directly. At this time, there is not a way to sign up for a policy independently online.

Coverage follows you no matter where you move or travel within the U.S., and you can select any doctor, provided they accept Medicare patients. Medicare supplemental insurance from United American is guaranteed renewable, meaning the company won’t cancel your plan for any reason as long as you continue paying the premium.

United American also sells life insurance, cancer insurance, critical illness insurance and accident insurance.

United American InsuranceAUTHORIZED PARTNER
  • No network restrictions
  • Guaranteed renewable
  • AM Best rating: A+ (Superior)

AARP by UnitedHealthcare

AARP does not directly provide Medigap plans, but it does endorse the AARP Medicare supplement insurance plans insured by UnitedHealthcare.

UnitedHealthcare’s AARP Medicare supplement insurance plans feature predictable out-of-pocket costs, the ability to choose any doctor or hospital that accepts Medicare, coverage for travel and guaranteed coverage for life as long as you make on-time payments.

Signing up is easy. Simply enter your ZIP code on AARP’s website and find the plans available in your area. You can then fill out a form with your birthday, gender, Medicare effective date and when you want your plan to start to further narrow down your options and get price quotes for each plan.

We submitted a quote for a 68-year-old female living in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and received quotes ranging from $49.56/month for Plan K to $335.19/month for Plan A. Once you’re happy with your plan and quote, you can fill out an official application online.

AARP Medicare Supplemental Insurance
  • Choose any doctor who accepts Medicare patients
  • Guaranteed coverage for life
  • AM Best rating: A (Excellent)

Mutual of Omaha

Availability of Medicare supplemental insurance plans from Mutual of Omaha may vary slightly depending on your location, though it services customers throughout the U.S. It cites Plan F, Plan G and Plan N as the company’s most popular plans. Plan G and Plan N both had a deductible of $198 in 2020, and Plan N had a $20 copay for doctors' visits and a $50 copay for ER visits.

To see which plans you’re eligible for, enter your gender, birthdate and ZIP code on Mutual of Omaha’s website, and you’ll get plan availability and quotes instantly without having to provide contact information.

We submitted a quote for a 68-year-old woman in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and received quotes ranging from $81.84/month for Plan N to $112.73/month for Plan A. You can also qualify for a household discount if your spouse or civil union partner has or gets Medicare supplemental coverage from Mutual of Omaha. We were quoted a 7% discount.

Those who enroll in a Medicare supplement plan from Mutual of Omaha also get access to the Mutually Well program, which provides discounts on fitness programs, massage therapy and meal programs. Enrollees can also receive hearing aid and vision care discounts.

Mutual of Omaha also offers prescription drug plans, dental insurance and dental savings plans.

Mutual of Omaha Medicare Supplemental Insurance
  • Keep your doctors and hospitals
  • Keep your coverage as long as you want
  • AM Best rating: A (Excellent)

Get extra help with education and advisors

If you’re still not sure which plan is best for you, or if you'd like someone to walk you through all the plan options and the somewhat complicated nature of Medicare and insurance policies, there are special advisors and resources that can help you make sense of the process. Medicare provides a good tool to find the best plan for your needs, or you can partner with an advisor at a company like United Medicare Advisors to compare offerings from various insurers. Some people prefer working with a third-party advisor over an insurance agent because they can more easily provide unbiased information and walk you through plans from a variety of providers.

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Medicare supplemental insurance FAQ

Do I really need supplemental insurance with Medicare?
If there are gaps in your Medicare coverage, supplemental insurance may help cover the cost of the deductibles, coinsurance and copayments. Although each individual has different needs with their insurance, you should consider supplemental insurance if:
  • You plan to visit the doctor/hospital multiple times a year.
  • You get numerous medical treatments throughout the year.
  • You plan on regularly traveling outside the country.
What does supplemental Medicare insurance cover?
Medicare supplemental insurance (Medigap) covers health care costs not included with your Medicare plan. There are up to 10 plans to choose from, and some plans feature coverage for skilled nursing care or Medicare Part B "excess charges."

Medigap plans have the same standardized benefits and do not cover:

  • Dental care
  • Hearing aids
  • Glasses
  • Vision care
  • Private-duty nursing
  • Long-term care
How much does Medicare supplemental insurance cost?
The average monthly premium cost for Medicare supplemental insurance ranges from $50 to $300. The cost of supplemental insurance with Medicare is difficult to calculate because several factors go into calculating the price. For starters, insurers have three ways to price their plans:
  • Attained age: A price based on your current age that increases as you age
  • Community rated: A set price for everyone enrolled in a specific supplemental plan
  • Issue age: A price based on the age when you enroll

Then insurers take into account personal information, like your age, location and gender. There are 10 individual Medigap plans — labeled Medigap Plans A through N — that have different coverages. The cost of a plan also depends on available discounts.

Can you have more than one supplemental insurance with Medicare?
You cannot have more than one Medigap plan at a time. It is illegal for insurers to sell more than one Medigap plan to the same person.

If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, you can enroll in a Medicare supplemental plan. However, your Advantage plan must end for any supplemental plan to go into effect.

Can you have more than one supplemental insurance with Medicare?
You cannot have more than one Medigap plan at a time. It is illegal for insurers to sell more than one Medigap plan to the same person.

If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, you can enroll in a Medicare supplemental plan. However, your Advantage plan must end for any supplemental plan to go into effect.

Can I buy a Medicare supplement at any time?
No, there are very specific requirements to enroll in a Medicare supplemental plan:
  • You must be 65 or older.
  • You must have Medicare Part A and Part B.
  • You must purchase during your open enrollment period, which starts the first day of the month when you turn 65 and are enrolled in Part B. If you try to purchase Medigap coverage outside this enrollment period, your options may be limited, and there may be extra costs.
What is Medicare Advantage?
Medicare Advantage is an alternative to Original Medicare that is offered by private health insurance companies. Medicare Advantage plans, also called “Part C” plans, bundle Part A, Part B and usually Part D, or prescription drug coverage. Most plans offer coverage that goes beyond Original Medicare. Medigap plans do not work with Medicare Advantage plans.
Is a Medicare supplement plan worth it?
Yes, a Medicare supplemental plan is generally worth it if you want more coverage for costs Original Medicare doesn’t cover, including copayments, coinsurance and deductibles.

Understanding Medicare supplement plans

Medicare supplement insurance is also known as “Medigap” because it covers gaps in Original Medicare coverage. This supplemental insurance, offered by private companies, covers costs including deductibles, copayments and coinsurance. You pay a monthly premium for this added coverage.

There are 10 plans, each designated by a different letter, and each one covers different things. (Medigap plans are not labeled with letters in Massachusetts, Minnesota and Wisconsin, so-called waiver states.)

As of Jan. 1, 2020, Medicare supplement plans are no longer allowed to cover the Medicare Part B deductible, so Plan C and Plan F are no longer available to newly eligible consumers. Anyone enrolled in either of these plans prior to Jan. 1, 2020, can keep their plans, and anyone eligible for a plan before Jan. 1, 2020 but not yet enrolled may be able to purchase one of these plans.

Plan A

Plan A covers additional days in the hospital after Medicare benefits are exceeded, copayments and coinsurance, hospice care and up to three pints of blood.

Plan B

Plan B covers everything that Plan A does and also covers the Part A deductible.

Plan C

Plan C covers everything that Plan B covers, as well as the deductible required by Medicare Part B, 80% of medical care costs incurred when traveling abroad and the coinsurance for stays in skilled nursing facilities. As of Jan. 1, 2020, Plan C is no longer available for new Medicare recipients.

Plan D

Plan D is the same as Plan C, but it does not cover the Part B deductible.

Plan F

Plan F covers everything covered by Plan C and also covers any excess charge by a doctor or hospital that Medicare does not cover. Due to the changes regarding the Part B deductible, newly eligible consumers can no longer enroll in Plan F.

Plan F — high-deductible

This version of Plan F has the same coverage as the standard Plan F, but individuals must pay a high deductible — $2,370 in 2021 — before the policy pays anything.

Plan G

Plan G covers everything the standard Plan F covers except that it does not cover the Medicare Part B excess charge.

Plan K

Plan K covers additional days in the hospital after Medicare benefits are exceeded and 50% of the following (up to a yearly out-of-pocket limit): Part B coinsurance, up to three pints of blood, hospice care coinsurance or copayments, coinsurance for skilled nursing facilities and the deductible for Part A.

Plan L

Plan L covers the same things as Plan K, but it pays 75% instead of 50%. It also has a yearly out-of-pocket limit.

Plan M

Plan M covers additional days in the hospital after Medicare benefits are exceeded, Part B copayments and coinsurance, hospice care coinsurance and copayments, skilled nursing facility care coinsurance and up to three pints of blood. It also covers 50% of the Part A deductible and 80% of charges for care abroad.

Plan N

Plan N is identical to Plan M, except it fully covers the deductible for Part A and requires a small copay for some office visits and trips to the emergency room that don’t result in inpatient admission.

Medicare SELECT

Medicare SELECT is a type of Medigap policy that requires policyholders to use hospitals and doctors within its network to get coverage. The premiums are typically lower than those offered by other Medigap providers, which don’t enforce network restrictions. Medicare SELECT can provide the same Plan A through N coverage as other Medigap policies, just with added network and geographical restrictions.

Medigap enrollment periods

To purchase Medicare supplemental health insurance coverage, you must be at least 65, have Medicare Part A and B and purchase coverage during your Medigap open enrollment period. Medigap open enrollment starts on the first day of the month you are 65 or older and enrolled in Medicare Part B and lasts six months.

Because you can enroll in Medicare Part B starting three months before you turn 65, you may have enrolled in Part B but may not yet be able to purchase a Medigap plan.

Also, be aware that if you have a preexisting condition, Medigap coverage may not cover costs for the condition for up to six months. For this reason, experts agree you should enroll in a Medigap plan as soon as you can.

The best time to buy a Medigap policy is during the Medigap open enrollment period. Buying within the enrollment window means:

  • More choices and lower costs: You generally have more policy options and get better prices.
  • No higher costs for preexisting conditions: Even if you have a preexisting health condition, you pay the same price as someone who doesn’t have health problems.
  • Guaranteed right to buy: During the open enrollment period, you are guaranteed the ability to purchase a Medigap policy.

What if you buy outside of the enrollment period?

If you apply for Medigap coverage outside your open enrollment period, there's no guarantee that an insurance company will sell you a Medigap policy if you don’t meet the medical underwriting requirements, unless you're eligible due to one of the situations below:

  • Disability: You’re under 65 and eligible for Medicare because of a disability or end-stage renal disease, and you live in a state that requires insurance companies to offer Medigap policies to people with Medicare under 65.
  • Other insurance: If you have group health insurance through an employer or union, your Medigap open enrollment period will start when you sign up for Medicare Part B.
  • Guaranteed issue right: In some situations, insurers must offer you Medigap policies that cover all your preexisting conditions and can’t charge you more because of health problems. You usually have a guaranteed issue right when you have an existing health plan that somehow changes — like you lose coverage.

How to compare Medicare Supplement plans

1. Check plan availability

Medicare supplement insurance plans are standardized by law and are named with letters. The standardization means that every company’s Plan A offers the same coverage, but not all companies sell every plan. And sometimes companies offer different plans in different states.

  • Plans by company: If you want to purchase coverage from a specific company, start by looking at the plans that company sells in your area.
  • Plans by type: If you are more concerned with the coverage provided than the company selling it, start by looking at plans and then determine which companies offer those plans in your area.
  • Plans by geography: Medigap policies are standardized in a different way in the so-called waiver states of Massachusetts, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

2. Compare Medigap plan costs

Deductible, coinsurance and copayment coverages are standardized between companies. However, the monthly price may vary greatly between companies depending on your age, where you live and discounts. To make sure a plan is financially beneficial, multiply the monthly premium by 12 and add any out-of-pocket cost you may need to spend. Weigh that cost against the chance you’ll spend more than that amount on health care if you do not have supplement insurance.

  • Monthly premium: Monthly premiums for the same types of policies vary from insurer to insurer, so you should get multiple quotes before choosing a policy.
  • Discounts: Some companies offer discounts for paying your premium in full annually, paying electronically, being married or being a nonsmoker. Consider getting quotes from companies you already have policies with, and ask the agent if discounts exist for current customers.

3. Consider customer service

Because coverage is mainly the same regardless of which provider you select, a company’s customer service is an important factor to consider when you’re choosing a Medigap provider.

  • Available hours: Look at the hours when you can reach customer service representatives by phone. Make sure the contact information and hours for customer service representatives or agents, not just sales representatives, are listed.
  • In-person availability: If you would prefer to work with someone in person, ask about local agents. Some companies let you place a request for a local agent to contact you, so you only have to submit your information and then wait to be called.
  • Existing relationships: If you already have a policy with a company you like, you may wish to talk to the agent who manages your current insurance. They may be able to tell you about special discounts.

4. Verify the provider’s reputation

A company’s reputation may help you choose between insurers with similarly priced plans.

  • Financial strength: Working with a financially stable company ensures that it will be able to pay for services long into the future, even if costs rise substantially or a disaster requires the company to pay for care for hundreds or thousands of policyholders. AM Best, Moody’s, Fitch, and Standard & Poor’s are independent agencies that rate insurance companies’ financial stability. You can visit these agencies’ websites to see how they rate the financial stability of a specific company. Although many insurance companies list ratings on their websites, you can see the most reliable and recent rating on the independent agencies’ websites.
  • Years in business: The amount of time a company has been in business can indicate that they have reliable business practices and good customer service. You may also wish to compare how long a company has offered Medicare supplement insurance.
  • Recommendations: Ask friends and family members to tell you about their experiences with different insurance companies. Read online reviews to determine how the company deals with customers.

5. Consider extra features

Some companies offer additional features and benefits for policyholders. Be aware that these extra features could be changed or eliminated at any time during the policy term.

  • Informational seminars: Some companies offer regular meetings and seminars to help customers understand Medicare and insurance options. These seminars can help you make informed choices that best fit your situation.
  • Informational guides: Some companies send customers free pamphlets and other informational materials. These guides give you some guidance so you can ask agents specific questions.
  • Health care perks: Some companies give customers free access to some health care services, like medical hotlines or preventive care discounts.
  • Bundle discounts: Some companies offer discounts for individuals who have multiple policies with them, so you may want to choose a company that sells several types of policies that interest you. Many companies that sell Medicare Supplement Insurance also offer life insurance policies. These companies might offer multiple-policy discounts or be accustomed to working with recent retirees.
Guide sources
ConsumerAffairs uses information only from trustworthy, reliable sources to inform the content published on its pages. Among these sources are government websites and official company websites, including published contracts, terms and conditions, interviews with industry experts and other primary sources.
  1. Medicare.gov. What’s Medicare Supplemental Insurance (Medigap)?. Accessed Dec. 19, 2020.
  2. Medicare.gov. How to compare Medigap policies. Accessed Dec. 19, 2020.
  3. Medicare.gov. When can I buy Medigap?. Accessed Dec. 19, 2020.
  4. Medicare.gov. Your Medicare coverage choices. Accessed Dec. 19, 2020.
  5. Medicare.gov. Medigap & Medicare Advantage Plans. Accessed Dec. 19, 2020.

Not sure how to choose?

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    Compare Reviews for Medicare Supplemental Insurance Plans

    by Cyril Tuohy Insurance Contributing Editor

    Cyril Tuohy, has covered the insurance industry for more than 15 years. He is an expert at writing about personal and commercial property-casualty insurance and covers life, annuities and retirement as a staff writer for a top insurance trade magazine aimed at insurance agents and financial advisors.

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