Best Medicare Supplement Insurance

Best Medicare Supplement

Best Medicare Supplement Insurance? It Depends on Your Situation and Needs

The best Medicare supplement insurance plan for you may not be the best for others. It depends on your situation and needs. Read below to learn more about finding the best plan.

What’s the BEST Medicare supplement insurance plan? We get asked that question every single day, multiple times a day, from people either looking for Medigap insurance for the first time, or from people who already have a plan but are experiencing rate increases. So then…

“What IS the best Medicare supplement insurance plan?”

The short answer is…

“It depends.”

It all depends on your unique situation, your tolerance for out of pocket costs and several other factors which we will highlight in this article. Although there are popular plans, the best Medicare supplement insurance plan for you may not be the best nor most popular plan for others.

Here’s how to determine what the best Medicare supplement insurance plan is for YOU

First, let’s cover a few very important background points about Medicare and why Medicare supplement insurance plans were created. Knowing this background information will make it easier for you to understand what plans may be the best Medicare supplement insurance plans for you and why.

5 Important Medicare Background Points

1. Medicare part A is already paid for if you’ve worked 40 quarters in your lifetime and have contributed to Medicare.  Medicare Part A covers your hospitalization or what you might call in-patient coverage. If you stay the night in a hospital your Medicare part A is covering those bills.  You have a deductible for part A and then are responsible for 20% of your hospitalization medical bills.  So, although this is good coverage just one hospitalization can get pretty expensive in terms of your out of pocket costs.

2. Medicare part B is an optional benefit, but most people who have Medicare Part A also take Part B.  Medicare part B covers your outpatient medical bills such as your doctor visits, lab work, x-rays, outpatient surgery, some preventive care and more. It pays for the medical services that you receive when you don’t have to be confined overnight in a medical facility. Part B also has an annual deductible and you’re responsible for 20% of most of your medical expenses.

3. Regular Medicare parts A & B (also known as Original Medicare) are pretty good coverage on their own.  However, that 20% that you are responsible for can add up, and that’s why Medicare supplement insurance was created. It covers that 20% you are responsible for, and a few other Medicare-eligible expenses not covered under Parts A and B.

4. Medicare Supplement is NOT Medicare Advantage.

A very common question and point of confusion we hear every day is…

“Is Medicare supplement the same as Medicare advantage?”

The answer is no, they are completely different.

Medicare Advantage (also known as Medicare Part C) is essentially outsourced, or privatized Medicare, which means if you elect to go with one of these plans, you are no longer getting your benefits directly from Medicare.  Instead, your plan is administered by the private insurance company you sign up with.  If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, then you will not need nor be able to sign up for a Medicare Supplement plan.

We won’t go into the details of whether you should consider going with Original Medicare or Medicare Advantage plans, but you can watch this video on Medicare Advantage versus Medicare supplement insurance for more information on the pros and cons of choosing one or another.

5. Prescription Drug coverage is required if you enroll in Medicare Parts A and B. This drug coverage is known as Medicare Part D. Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage can be purchased from insurance companies. More information about how to obtain Part D coverage and how it works can found on the Medicare.gov How to Get Drug Coverage page.

Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans A to N

Now that you have that background, let’s focus on Medicare supplement insurance plans. The best Medicare supplement insurance for you will depend on several factors, one of the major ones being which plan you choose.

Standardized Medicare Supplement Plans: Back in 1990, the Federal government wanted to make it easier for Medicare shoppers to be able to find and obtain Medicare supplement plans, so they standardized the plans.  Here’s what that means: whether you buy a supplement plan from one insurance company or the same plan from a different insurance company, it doesn’t matter! All of those plan benefits must be exactly alike no matter which company offers it.

The Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans

This chart is a helpful reference for the various Medicare supplement plans, and how they vary:

medigap-plan-comparison-2017

Medicare supplement plans are offered with plan letter designations from Plan A through Plan N.  Each of these plans are made up of different, specific benefits.

There really isn’t a need to understand all of the plans in great detail because some of these plans, like Plan A, are for very specific and niche needs. The majority of people typically go with one of three popular Medicare supplement insurance plans that represent the bulk of plans purchased – Plan F, Plan G and Plan N.

Most Popular Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans

Plan F: The most popular plan, by far, is Plan F.  Just over half of the people that own a Medicare supplement have Plan F.  This plan is popular because it is the most comprehensive and covers all of the gaps in Medicare.  If you go in for covered medical treatment and have this plan, you should not have to pay anything out of your own pocket for Medicare eligible expenses.  As long as you see a doctor who takes Medicare and the treatment is a Medicare-approved expense, you should be able to walk in, show your cards, receive treatment and go home.  You won’t have to pay a co-pay and you should never get a bill. There is a cost for this relatively rich benefit plan, of course, and our agents can shop this plan to find the best quotes for you based on your health situation, location, age and more.

Plan G: Plan G is almost identical to Plan F, with the exception that you will be required to cover the cost of your Medicare Part B deductible. In certain circumstances related to finances, this plan may be the best supplement plan for you if you want minimal out of pocket expenses but at a reduced insurance premium cost compared to the Plan F. That’s because the cost for this plan is less than that for Plan F, but with the trade-off of having more out of pocket costs for you. For certain financial and health care situations, this plan could be the best Medicare supplement insurance plan for you.

Plan N: Plan N is somewhat similar to the other two plans, with the exceptions of not covering your Medicare Part B deductible, Medicare Part B excess charges and requiring some co-payments from you for office visits and some emergency room visits. This plan may be the best plan for you if there are certain financial situations that favor your ability to cover those additional charges, should they occur. Plan N costs less than the other two plans, but with the trade-off of higher out of pocket costs for you in the event you need Medicare-covered services. In some cases, however, this could work to your advantage and actually be the best plan for you.

Exact Same Medicare Supplement Plan – Different Pricing

The ONLY thing that varies from insurance company to insurance company in offering identical plans is the pricing! The main reason for this is because each company has different financial needs, and thus prices their plans differently compared to what other companies charge for the exact same plan.

Standardized plans, not pricing: Remember, the plans are standardized, so a Plan F from one company is identical to the same Plan F from another company. The only difference is the price!

Best Medicare Supplement Insurance Factors

Health: Finding the best Medicare supplement insurance plan for you is very dependent on your health. Depending on your health and recent health history, certain companies and plans may or may not be available for you. Some plans may be better options for you than others based on how much and how often you use health care services. And in certain situations, if you are relatively healthy, your health history may actually benefit you by opening up multiple choices for plans and prices that may not be available for other people who have a different health history.

Timing: Timing also impacts your Medicare supplement insurance plan choices. At certain times of the year, such as open enrollment or your initial enrollment eligibility period, your health history won’t impact your ability to choose between companies and plans. With Medigap plans, you can choose or change plans at other times of the year, but health history may play a role in which plans are best options for you.

Guarantee Issue: In some states, your health history may not impact your ability to choose a plan, if this state has Guarantee Issue policies in place. Guarantee Issue means the state requires that insurance companies allow you to obtain a Medicare supplement insurance plan at certain times regardless of your health history. In this situation, the best Medicare supplement insurance plan for you may change whether you are in a state that has Guarantee Issue or not.

Age: Your age, of course, will impact your health and health coverage. As you age and your health coverage needs change, your Medicare supplement plan may need to change as well. The plan that was best for you at 65 years old may not be the best plan for you at 68 or 70 years old. The “best Medicare supplement insurance plan” for you will change as you age and your health care needs change. The good news is the ability to change plans is possible.

Location: Your location will also impact which plan is the best Medicare supplement insurance plan for you. Not all insurance companies have plans in all states. Because the availability and pricing vary by insurance company, your ability to have the best plan at the best price is somewhat dependent on the state in which you reside and the companies that participate in Medicare supplement coverage in that state. For example, what you pay for a Plan F with an insurance company in your state may be different than what your sibling pays for the exact same Plan F with the exact same insurance company in a different state.

There are other factors as well, such as whether you use tobacco products, whether you are able to take advantage of certain house-hold discounts and more. However, the above factors will weigh in heavily in terms of which plans may be best for you and your needs.

Best Medicare Supplement Insurance for You? It Depends

So what’s the best Medicare supplement insurance for you? Now that you have more information about Medicare, Medicare supplement insurance plans and how it all works, you’ll see how difficult a question that is to answer.

The fact is that there are multiple factors that impact which plan or plans may be best for you. It really depends on a variety of factors including: which plan best fits your financial situation, whether you choose to take Original Medicare or not, your health history, your timing for obtaining coverage, whether Guarantee Issue is available to you, your current age, your location and more. So now that you have more information…

Confused? Worried that this is harder than it looks? Need help?

We truly believe that our educated and friendly agents, who do nothing but evaluate and help our clients find the best Medicare supplement insurance plans 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, 52 weeks a year are a great source for helping you identify which plans may be best for you. We can take your information, factor in all the above variables plus more, and help identify the top 2 or 3 choices that may be the best Medicare supplement insurance plans for you.

And the best news is our agents do NOT push you toward a plan. Instead, they offer you choices and education so that YOU pick the plan based on a much more complete understanding of how all the above factors influence you. For more information on GoMedigap and what your free consultation will look like, check out this video.

Give us a call if you have any questions or need more information about your options for finding the best Medicare supplement insurance plan for you. Our toll-free number is (866) 894-3258 and we are available from 9am to 5pm Central time Monday through Friday.

Comments

    • Craig Tomlin says

      Great question that we receive from people who have experienced rate increases with the Medicare supplement insurance. Here’s a brief explanation that may help answer your question.

      First, remember that we are not the insurance company, we don’t control your rates, your insurance company does. However what we can do is use our GoMedigap Rate Watch service to identify any rate increases that may impact our clients, and help our clients shop for a better plan or the same plan but with a better price.

      Second, insurance companies typically raise their rates for a variety of reasons including; the age of the insured, the medical costs associated with pool of insured that are covered by that plan, the financial situation of the insurance company, and many more reasons. Most insurance companies will limit their risk to possible negative financial situations by making sure their premiums are helping to keep their revenue aligned with expenses.

      Third, not all plans and not all insurance companies raise their rates. Some insurance companies experience lower rate increases, and some experience higher increases. Some only raise rates occasionally, and some raise them more frequently.

      Finally, our GoMedigap Rate Watch service specifically helps our clients by checking their rates annually, and acting as a ‘concierge’ to help our clients shop for alternatives to help them save money if they are experiencing a rate increase.

      • Maylene Wilkerson says

        I have an existing policy with a company I have used for years. The cost of the coverage is getting a bit out of my financial range. A friend of mine recommended that I contact you re; available coverage hopefully at a more affordable cost.. I would appreciate info and assistance from you.

        Maylene W

        • Craig Tomlin says

          Hi Maylene,

          Sorry to hear that your policy is increasing in cost. This is very common as most insurance companies increase their Medicare supplement insurance rates as time goes by. We will contact you at your email to see if we can help you shop for a more affordable solution. Thanks for contacting us!

  1. Celestine L Gramlich says

    I need info on how to apply for part D, precription drug plan. Retiring from work as of Sept.30,2015. Have Part A, B will take in to effect 10/01/2015 and already of supplemental with Mutual of Omaha. Everytime I try to enroll online, I’m told I can’t enroll that way. Need to know what I need to do. Interested in Human/Walmart supplemental. Thanks

  2. Rashmi says

    I am amazed to see that when 2017 is coming the website is not providing information for 2017 benefits will be offred under the various Plans. This displays Inefficient administration.
    AARP Plan F has ZERO out of Pocket for whole year as compared to $ 2180 in your plan.

    Plan premiums are not displayed for comparison. Why? this should be put under each category to decide and know what is best available.

    Vision, Dental and Fitness Coverage for each Category is not displayed, hence to be presumed no coverage.

    In order to be compatible and good comparison other competitor coverages must be displayed.

    This is very poor display of available benefits.

    • Madeline Struve says

      Thank you for your comment and concern about the webpage still displaying the 2016 version of the Medicare supplement plans chart. We do intend to change the chart to an updated 2017 version shortly but we do have some clients that are starting their coverage for the first time in December. You should see this change within the next week.

      I understand your concern on the $2180 deductible (going to $2200 deductible in 2017) for Medicare supplement plan F displayed on that chart. That chart is the standardized government-provided Medicare supplement plan comparison chart and is notorious for causing some confusion.

      If you’ll notice in the “Plan F” column there is an asterisk to refer to the note at the bottom indicating that plan F also has a high deductible version in some states. So, there is a standard plan F (which is what you have with AARP) and a high-deductible plan F. If you chose a high deductible plan F you would have the deductible to meet but you would pay a considerably lower premium for it than a standard plan F.

      The chart is also a general chart showing the array of possible options. We represent several companies, including AARP. All of them offer the standard plan F and only very few of them offer a high-deductible plan F.

      It might be in your best interest to work with one of our Medicare supplement agents to review plans and pricing from the various companies we offer to ensure you’re not overpaying for your coverage. Our agents are friendly, knowledgeable and great at helping you understand and review your options and get the best savings possible. You can reach them at (866) 894-3258.

      Thank you again for your comment and I hope this answered your question!

  3. JOAN R Swallow says

    Have been told that some Ins. Co. give a lower price then raising it. How does one find out the co. that have the best rating as far as increasing there rates. I have looked and every co. says the don’t and others do. WHO DO YOU BELIEVE.

    • Richard Cantu says

      Joan,

      Thank you for your question.

      Unfortunately, what you’re hearing from these agents is an unethical and illegal sales tactic. This approach is sometimes used by agents that have limited offerings or want to sell a higher commission company and plan or work for one insurance company. We feel it’s generally better to work with a broker representing several companies.

      As you probably know by now, Medicare supplement plans are completely standardized. Once you know which plan you want you can feel comfortable shopping the market to find the company that offers the best rate for your selected plan. It doesn’t matter which company you get the plan from, you’ll have the same doctors network, the same benefits and the same automated claims-paying process for your selected plan.

      Every Medicare supplement insurance company will tend to have rate increases each year and it’s hard to predict how much that rate increase will be from year-to-year. A bit of good news, though, is no Medicare supplement insurance company can single you out for a rate increase. If they take a rate increase then every person on that plan and in your state will take the same percentage rate increase that year. That makes it impossible to selectively give individuals lower rates and then single them out for individual rates increases shortly after.

      Our recommendation is to go with the lowest rate you can find for your selected plan and re-evaluate each year. GoMedigap is the only agency in the country that offers each of our clients a free RateWatch service in which we proactively reach out to our clients each year to help them reevaluate plans and rates to ensure they always have access to the best rates from year-to-year. We estimate we save an average client thousands of dollars each year by ensuring they don’t unnecessarily overpay for their coverage. With options from over 30 insurance companies, including AARP/UnitedHeathcare, Aetna Blue Cross Blue Shield companies, Cigna, Mutual of Omaha, and many others nationwide we’re confident we can help every client find the best rate available to them.

      Our clients appreciate our services so much they have made recommendations that have caused us to be listed as the most trusted insurance company in the country according to http://www.trustpilot.com. You can find our reviews here: https://www.trustpilot.com/categories/insurance.

      We encourage you to call and speak with one of our award-winning agents to receive honest information and review your options at (866) 894-3258. We’re confident you’ll notice a difference and be happy you made the call.

      Thanks again for your question and we look forward to the opportunity to help you with selecting your best option.

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