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Best Medicare Supplement Plans in 2019

There are certain things simply not covered by Medicare, such as copays or medical treatment when traveling abroad. That’s where Medigap insurance policies come in. As the name suggests, it covers those gaps in Medicare, for fuller medical coverage. There are lots of organizations out there offering Medigap plans. Here are some of the most popular.

There are certain things simply not covered by Medicare, such as copays or medical treatment when traveling abroad. That’s where Medigap insurance policies come in. As the name suggests, it covers those gaps in Medicare, for fuller medical coverage. There are lots of organizations out there offering Medigap plans. Here are some of the most popular.

Medical bills are a concern as we age. Getting older brings with it greater risks of illness or accidents such as slips and falls. That means it’s more important than ever to make sure your insurance is in order.

Medicare is the Federal insurance option for seniors age 65 and over (and some younger people who qualify due to a disability.) Medicare generally covers inpatient care, skilled nursing facility care, hospice care, at-home care, medical equipment, ambulance services, and mental health care. Exact coverage varies by state and according to your situation, but those are the basics.

However, there are some gaps in Medicare insurance. For example, it doesn’t cover copays or coinsurance, deductibles, or emergency care while traveling abroad. These costs can add up and place a financial strain on seniors, which is why some older adults opt for a Medigap insurance plan in addition to their Medicare plan.

Best Medicare Supplement Plans

  • Cigna Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans – Best Overall Plans
  • Aetna Medicare Supplement Plans – Best Nationwide Options
  • State Farm Medicare Supplement Insurance – Best Insurance Bundling
  • Mutual of Omaha Medigap Plans – Best Customer Service
  • AARP Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans – Best Senior Expertise
  • Colonial Penn Medigap – Best Value
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield Medigap Plans – Best Enrollment Process
  • United Healthcare Medigap Insurance Plans – Best Coverage Options
  • Humana Medigap Insurance – Best Online Experience
  • Anthem Medicare Supplement Coverage – Best App

What Is Medigap?

Medigap, also known as Medicare Supplement Insurance, covers some of the costs that aren’t covered by Medigap. You purchase Medigap through a private insurance company, and unlike Medicare, there is no central body that administers Medigap. Although the basics are the same across the board, costs vary according to the provider you sign up with.

Seniors understandably want to know that if something happens health-wise, they can get the treatment they need without breaking the bank. That’s why so many people are on the hunt for a Medigap insurance plan.

There are certain things simply not covered by Medicare, such as copays or medical treatment when traveling abroad. That’s where Medigap comes in. As the name suggests, it covers those gaps in Medicare, for fuller medical coverage.

Depending on the plan you choose, Medigap could cover: Hospital stays after Medicare cover runs out, copays, deductibles, blood transfusions up to the first three pints, hospice or skilled nursing facility care coinsurance, and foreign travel.

Who Is Medigap For?

Medigap is for anyone who is enrolled in Medicare and is concerned about out of pocket expenses they might incur as a result of hospital stays, doctor visits, in-home care, nursing facility stays, or any other medical situation.

What Does Medigap Cover?

Medigap plans are standardized plans, each with a designated letter. The plans are A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M and N. What is covered by each lettered plan remains the same no matter where you purchase your Medigap insurance from.

  • Medicare part A coinsurance and hospital costs up to 365 days after Medicare coverage insurance is exhausted is covered by all plans.
  • Medicare part A hospice coinsurance or copayment is covered in full by all plans, apart from K (covers 50%) and L (covers 75%.)
  • Medicare part A deductibles are covered in full by plans B, C, D, F, G and N, and in part by K (covers 50%), L (covers 75%), and M (covers 50%).
  • Medicare part B coinsurance or copayment is covered in full by all plans, apart from K (covers 50%) and L (covers 75%.)
  • Medicare part B deductibles are covered in full by plans C and F only.
  • Medicare part B excess charges are covered in full by plans F and G only.
  • Skilled nursing facility coinsurance is covered in full by plans C, D, F, G, M and N, and in part by K (covers 50%) and L (covers 75%.)
  • The first three pints of blood needed in a treatment are covered in full by all plans, apart from K (covers 50%) and L (covers 75%.)
  • Foreign travel emergencies are covered up to 80% by plans C, D, F, G, M and N
  • Plans K and L also come without of pocket spending limits ($5,240 and $2,620 respectively) that mean Medigap covers the rest of your expenses for the calendar year after you’ve reached the spending limit.

Please note that Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Wisconsin have their own standardized plans. If you live in one of those states, your local state’s Department of Insurance can advise you on what’s available (you can find your local Department of Insurance here).

Does Medigap Cover My Partner?

No – your partner will need their own Medigap plan.

Where Can I Use Medigap Insurance?

You can use Medigap in all places that accept Medicare. However, if you sign up for a Medigap Select plan, you will only be able to use doctors and hospitals in a pre-approved network (so do be careful that you’re not signing up for one of those unless you’re sure that won’t be a problem.)

How Do I Buy Medigap Insurance?

You buy Medigap Insurance through a private insurance company, just as you would buy private health, house, or auto insurance. In most cases you enter your state on the website to see what is available in your area, and you can call or apply online for a quote.

Remember, what is covered by each plan remains the same no matter where you buy your Medigap insurance. What varies is the premium you pay to each insurer, any copays or deductibles and, of course, the customer service you receive.

Do I Have To Have Medicare First?

Yes. You can only purchase Medigap insurance if you already have Medicare parts A and B.

Is There A Right Time To Enroll?

Absolutely! Enrollment at the time is important as it can affect your coverage and premiums.

Original Medicare has an initial enrollment period, which is the time during which you’re eligible to enroll in Medicare. The initial enrollment period is seven months and lasts from three months before the month in which you turn 65, till three months after that month.

The best time to start your Medigap policy is during the six months following the month in which you turn 65. Outside of this period, you might find that your coverage options are more limited, and also more costly. Some states do have additional open enrollment periods but we highly recommend purchasing your Medigap policy during the initial period to save yourself worry, and money.

How Is Medigap Different From Medicare Advantage?

Medicare Advantage is a health plan similar to a private health insurance plan. Medicare Advantage is an alternative to Medicare where you enroll through a private insurance company. In most cases, you’re covered for what would have been covered by Medicare parts A and B, plus a range of other benefits, which vary from provider to provider. You will usually pay your Medicare Advantage premium along with your Medicare Part B premium.

You cannot enroll in both Medicare Advantage and a Medigap insurance plan.

How Do I Decide On A Medigap Provider?

Choosing a Medigap provider is much like choosing any other private insurance – it’s best to shop around. Your state’s local Department of Insurance can give you information on what’s available in your area. You can also enter your zip code on the Medicare site to find Medigap policies in your area. The plan you choose depends on your medical needs, both current and projected, and on your income and ability to pay out of pocket expenses.

It’s always a good idea to check out reviews on the web for any insurance company to find out what their customers are saying.

Of course, in all cases, you can search online and / or call to get a quote for your area. As always, we recommend you read the fine print and be sure you know exactly what is covered, what you’re expected to pay, and when.

There are lots of organizations out there offering Medigap plans. Here are some of the most popular.

Please note that not every plan is available in every state – contact the company to find out about coverage in your area.

Best Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans in 2019

  • What We Like Most:

    • Large range of plans to choose from
    • High deductible plans available
    • Foreign travel emergency coverage available
    • Skilled nursing facility coinsurance available
    4.7 / 5
    Learn More

    Overview

    Cigna was formed in 1972 in Philadelphia, as the Insurance Company of North America. These days they serve customers in over 30 countries worldwide. They offer health and dental insurance and, of course, Medigap policies (known as Medicare Supplemental).

    Which plans do they offer? Cigna offers plans F, High Deductible F, G, N and A.
    What else can you tell me about the plans? Plan F helps pay Medicare copayments and deductibles, and also covers the Medicare Part Be calendar year deductible (most plans don’t cover this.) That means the lowest out of pocket costs and greatest coverage for customers. Cigna also offers a High Deductible Plan F. It kicks in only after your out of pocket expenses reach a certain amount per calendar year. The main benefit of this is that the premiums are lower – but it’s best suited to those who don’t have a lot of medical expenses.
    Do I need to use doctors in a specific network? No, your insurance is good for any doctor that accepts Medicare.
    Anything else? Customers can take advantage of Cigna’s savings on a range of health and wellness programs. In many cases, customers can save on their premiums if more than one person in a household enrolls in a Medigap plan. Policies can only be terminated for non-payment of fees or misrepresenting information. Other than that, your policy is guaranteed renewable for life.

    Pros

    • High deductible plan for those looking for lower premiums
    • Savings when more than one person in a household enrolls in a plan
    • Good range of customer benefits

    Cons

    • Doesn’t seem to offer the complete range of plans available
  • What We Like Most:

    • Five different plans to choose from
    • Additional benefits for plan members
    • No network restrictions
    • Keep your coverage even if you move
    4.6 / 5
    Learn More

    Overview

    Aetna offers great coverage nationwide. Their site has an easy search function so you can see for yourself what’s available in your state.

    Aetna’s history dates all the way back to the 1800s when they were Aetna Fire Insurance. These days Aetna offers private health insurance, Medigap plans, dental, and prescription plans to customers across the nation. Their medical network has over 22 million members.

    Which plans do they offer? Aetna offers plans A, B, F, G, and N. F is available as a High Deductible plan only.
    What else can you tell me about the plans? Plan F offers premium coverage, which is why it’s a little more costly. However, it covers everything that regular Medicare doesn’t, and you don’t have to pay copays for office or nursing visits. Plan F is going to be phased out in 2020, so if you think it’s a good choice for you, we suggest contacting Aetna (or another provider) sooner than later.
    Do I need to use doctors in a specific network? No, your plan is good for any provider that accepts Medicare.
    Anything else? Your plan is guaranteed for renewal even if your health changes. Plans are also portable which means if you move state you can take your insurance with you. Your rates are guaranteed for 12 months, which is a good incentive.

    Pros

    • Good range of plans and excellent nationwide coverage
    • Website is easy to navigate
  • #3 State Farm Medicare Supplement Insurance - Best Insurance Bundling

    What We Like Most:

    • Noticeably wide range of options
    • Plans C and D offered
    • Bundle and save
    4.6 / 5

    Overview

    State Farm was founded in 1922 as an auto insurance company. Today they serve over 80 million car, home, and medical insurance plans nationwide.

    Which plans do they offer? State Farm offers plans A, C, D, F, G and N.
    What else can you tell me about the plans? Plan C covers part B deductibles (but not excess charge) which could make it a good choice for those who want decent coverage without the higher premiums of plan F. (However, you might be restricted as to which medical providers you can see.)
    Do I need to use doctors in a specific network? For most plans, no. For Plan C, also known as Medicare Advantage, yes.
    Anything else? State Farm lets you bundle different types of insurance together, and save money. Get in touch with their team and they can advise you on which bundling options are available to you.

    Pros

    • Offers plan C for those that prefer Medicare Advantage
    • Bundle insurance together and save

    Cons

    • Web site is not as informative or intuitive as others
  • What We Like Most:

    • Range of plans
    • High deductible plans available
    • Prescription drug and dental plan options
    • Keep your physicians, no network restrictions
    4.6 / 5
    Learn More

    Overview

    Mutual of Omaha was founded in 1909 as the Mutual Benefit Health & Accident Association. These days they offer insurance, banking, and financial products to individuals and businesses across the nation – including, of course, Medigap plans.

    Which plans do they offer? Mutual Of Omaha offers plans A, F, G, High Deductible G, and N.
    What else can you tell me about the plans? The High Deductible Plan G option kicks in only after you meet your $2000 annual out of pocket limit. This makes it an ideal plan for those who can afford out of pocket costs and are looking for a safety net.
    Do I need to use doctors in a specific network? No, your insurance is good wherever Medicare is accepted.
    Anything else? Your plan is guaranteed so long as you keep your premiums up.

    Pros

    • Excellent range of plans
    • Focus on good customer service
  • #5 AARP Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans - Best Senior Expertise

    What We Like Most:

    • Wide range of plans, including K and L
    • Insured by United Healthcare
    • Easy-to-use plan selector
    • Compare plans by drug cost
    4.6 / 5

    Overview

    AARP is a well-known senior organization. AARP was founded in 1958 and since then has focused on supporting and advocating for senior citizens nationwide. In addition to their many other benefits, AARP offers Medigap supplemental plans.

    Which plans do they offer? AARP offers plans A, B, C, F, G, K, L, and N.
    What else can you tell me about the plans? AARP includes plans K and L in its offerings, which not all providers do. Both of these plans are a low premium option for Medigap coverage. Plan K covers 50 percent of original Part B copays or coinsurance, and 50 percent of original Part A skilled nursing and hospice care copayment or coinsurance. This means premiums are lower. Plan L works the same way but covers 75%.
    Do I need to use doctors in a specific network? No, your coverage is good anywhere that accepts Medicare.
    Anything else? You can search AARP’s site to find out what’s available in your area, and they have plenty of useful info to help you make your choice. Plus of course, their staff are always ready to help.

     

    Pros

    • Wide range of plans
    • Plans L and K available (not offered by all insurers)
    • Website has several useful tools including a drug cost estimator
  • #6 Colonial Penn Medigap - Best Value

    What We Like Most:

    • Good range of plans with reasonable premiums
    • No network restrictions
    • No referrals needed
    • Predictable, reliable coverage
    4.6 / 5

    Overview

    Colonial Penn was founded by AARP co-founder Leonard Davis and has been providing insurance for over 60 years. Although they offer insurance to people of all ages these days, Colonial Penn started off focusing on over 60s, and that dedication to seniors is still part of their ethos today.

    Which plans do they offer? Colonial Penn offers plans A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M, N.
    What else can you tell me about the plans? Plan M offers coverage midway between basic coverage plans such as Plan A and the more comprehensive Plan F. Plan M covers 50% of original Medigap Plan A deductibles which means you have to pay some out of pocket, but premiums are a bit lower as a result.
    Do I need to use doctors in a specific network? No, your plan is good wherever Medicare is accepted.
    Anything else? Colonial Penn is a great option for reasonably priced Medigap plans.

    Pros

    • Wide range of plans with reasonable premiums
    • No in-network referrals needed

    Cons

    • No dedicated website to help explain plans or quote tools
  • #7 Blue Cross Blue Shield Medigap Plans - Best Enrollment Process

    What We Like Most:

    • Some select plans available
    • In-network options
    • Budget-friendly plans available
    • Plans A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M, and N offered
    4.6 / 5

    Overview

    Blue Cross was founded in 1929, and Blue Shield in1939. The two merged in 1982 to become Blue Cross Blue Shield. Blue Cross Blue Shield is a federation of 36 different insurance providers, offers insurance policies to millions of Americans.

    Which plans do they offer? Blue Cross Blue Shield offers plans A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M, N.
    What else can you tell me about the plans? Blue Cross Blue Shield offers Select options for some of its plans. Select options mean you do have to use providers in a specific network, but your premiums are lower.
    Do I need to use doctors in a specific network? In most cases no, your plan is good anywhere Medicare is accepted. However, those on Select plans will need to stick with in-network providers except in emergencies.
    Anything else? When you search on their site, Blue Cross Blue Shield brings up information tables that are super easy to follow and break the plans down by how budget-friendly they are.

    Pros

    • Good range of plans, plus some budget friendly options
    • Some "select plans” for those who need a lower premium

    Cons

    • Some plans are restricted to a set network of providers
  • What We Like Most:

    • Choose from a wide range of plans
    • AARP Medigap partner
    • Plans A, B, C, F, G, K, L and N offered
    • Plans vary by state
    4.6 / 5
    See Pricing

    Overview

    United Healthcare is part of UnitedHealth Group, which was founded in 1974. Today they are one of the largest healthcare insurance companies in the world.

    Which plans do they offer? United Healthcare offers plans A, B, C, F, G, K, L and N.
    What else can you tell me about the plans? The inclusion of F, G, K, and L means that customers can get coverage ranging from inclusive plans with higher rates to lower-cost plans that don’t cover quite so many out of pocket expenses.
    Do I need to use doctors in a specific network? No, your plan is good anywhere that Medicare is accepted.
    Anything else? United Healthcare provides AARP’s Medigap Insurance, but non-AARP members can buy direct from United Healthcare.

    Pros

    • Wide range of plans offered
    • Budget-friendly plans for those looking to save
  • What We Like Most:

    • Wide range of plans offered
    • Customer service available anytime for questions
    • Vision and dental add-ons available
    • High deductible plans available
    4.6 / 5
    See Pricing

    Overview

    Humana was first founded in 1961 as a nursing company. Today it offers Medigap plans to people around the nation.

    Which plans do they offer? Humana offers plans A, F, G, K, and N.
    What else can you tell me about the plans? Some of their plans offer Healthy Living options that include vision and / or dental.
    Do I need to use doctors in a specific network? No, your plan is good wherever Medicare is accepted.
    Anything else? It’s worth noting that The Better Business Bureau gives Humana an A+ rating for providing Medicare plans – so you know their service is top-notch.

    Pros

    • Excellent Better Business Bureau rating
    • Offers vision and dental options

    Cons

    • Plan range isn’t as wide as some competitors
  • #10 Anthem Medicare Supplement Coverage - Best App

    What We Like Most:

    • Easy to use app to manage your account
    • Access to extras like fitness programs
    • Coverage in CA, CO, CT, GA, IN, KY, ME, MO, NH, NV, NY, OH, VA, and WI
    • Add-ons like drug, vision and dental coverage
    4.6 / 5

    Overview

    Anthem is a member of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and is the largest for-profit healthcare company within it. Anthem was founded in 1946 as Mutual Hospital Insurance Inc. and Mutual Medical Insurance Inc. Anthem has its headquarters in Indiana.

    Which plans do they offer? Anthem offers plans A, F, G, and N.
    What else can you tell me about the plans? Some plans offer additional dental and vision benefits (for an extra premium.)
    Do I need to use doctors in a specific network? No, your plan is good anywhere Medicare is accepted.
    Anything else? A household discount is available on some plans, meaning a 5% saving if someone else in your house is enrolled for Anthem Medicare Supplement.

     

    Pros

    • Tech friendly, easy account management
    • Added benefits for members
    • Some plans offer vision and dental

    Cons

    • Smaller range of plans than some other providers
    • Only covers a handful of states