Cancer treatment can be incredibly expensive, even if you qualify for Medicare. Still, even with Medicare Parts A, B, and D, cancer patients may still be overwhelmed by the cost of cancer treatment elements not covered by Medicare. To help with some of this burden, purchasing a Medigap plan can provide extra coverage for these gaps.
How Medicare Covers Cancer Treatment
While Original Medicare and Part D can go a long way in covering cancer treatments, the frequency and volume of trips to doctors’ offices and hospitals can mean that even the deductibles for Medicare can add up quickly. In order to alleviate some of the financial stress associated with this kind of ongoing treatment, you may want to consider a Medigap plan.
These supplemental health insurance plans work alongside Original Medicare and Part D to provide additional coverage. Medigap plans can be purchased from a wide number of private insurance companies, and each plan is slightly different when it comes to cost and availability. For many cancer patients, Medigap Plan G is an option that offers good coverage for treatment-related costs that aren’t covered by Original Medicare.
FYI: The Medicare website advises that cancer patients speak with their doctors about the specific kinds of treatments and frequency at which those treatments are recommended before deciding on a supplemental insurance plan.
Why Medigap Plan G Is Ideal for Cancer Patients
Medigap Plan G is usually the best option for those with a cancer diagnosis. As with all Medigap plans, you must be enrolled in Original Medicare (Parts A and B) to apply. Original Medicare offers coverage of in- and outpatient services, but it often requires deductibles and copays before coverage kicks in.
Plan G covers everything associated with hospital stays not covered with Medicare Part A and everything associated with doctor office visits except for the Medicare Part B deductible, which is an annual cost of $203 for the year 2021. This means that as long as you have paid your Original Medicare, Part D, and Medigap Plan G premiums, this $203 deductible is your only other out-of-pocket cost. Cancer treatments, related doctor visits, and hospital stays can easily rack up thousands of dollars in hospital bills, which is why Medigap Plan G is a good way to protect against being responsible for this kind of financial burden.
FYI:Studies show that cancer patients with Medicare but don’t have supplemental insurance end up with high out-of-pocket costs related to cancer treatments.
How We Chose the Best Medigap for Cancer Patients
With Medigap plans being federally regulated, the actual coverage of Plan G will be the same regardless of the insurer. With that said, there are a few things to look for when figuring out which companies are the best choices for cancer patients.
- Transparent pricing: As with many aspects of health care and health insurance, getting a clear understanding of plan costs is important, so we looked for companies that clearly articulated their costs and what you’d get in return.
- Availability: Not every company offers Medigap plans in every state, and the cost of these plans will depend on where you live. All of the insurers listed below offer a wide range of coverage and network options.
- Discounts: Many providers of supplemental health insurance plans will offer discounts when multiple people are enrolled in one household, or they’ll offer trial periods for additional services. Some of the companies on this list even offer discounts for purchasing other types of coverage such as dental or vision insurance.
- Customer Service: Many of the providers we list here are popular options for a variety of health care services, and in our experience, their sales and customer service teams proved courteous and knowledgeable.
The Best Medicare Supplement Plans for Cancer Patients
There are a variety of reputable private health insurance companies that offer Medigap plans. When it comes to cancer-related care, Medigap Plan G tends to provide the most complete coverage for the best price. Available plans will depend on where you live.
Mutual of Omaha is a trusted health insurance provider that has been in the Medicare supplement business since 1966. The company offers Medigap coverage in all 50 states and usually pays out most Medicare claims in 12 hours or less.
Medigap quotes can be accessed online by providing the customer’s date of birth, gender, and zip code. The following page lists the available plans based on that information and walks you step by step through the application process.
For a 70-year-old woman from Kansas, Mutual of Omaha’s Medigap Plan G is offered for $116.11 per month or $1,393.32 per year. There is also a High Deductible Plan G available for $41.22 per month or $494.64 per year. This plan includes a $2,000 deductible that must be met before benefits kick in: this is what keeps the premium so low.
Mutual of Omaha also offers up to a 12 percent discount when both spouses in a household enroll for coverage.
- Prescription-drug and dental options
- No network restrictions
- Dedicated helpline
- High-deductible options
- Not available in Massachusetts
What We Like Most:
- Five plans to choose from
- Additional benefits for plan members
- No network restrictions
- Keep your coverage even if you move
Aetna has also been in the Medicare supplement business since 1966, and has been a name in the insurance industry since 1853. They do not offer coverage for individuals in every state, however, so you will want to visit their website and enter your zip code to find out whether you are eligible. If you are, Aetna’s website will use your zip code information along with your age and gender to compile your options.
While Aetna only lists a handful of states where they do not offer Medigap plans, their zip code finder can make it tricky to see what options are actually available to you. If the website cannot pull up the information for your location, it will provide a phone number to reach Aetna’s customer service for further assistance.
Aetna offers Medigap Plan G for $112.12 per month. There is a High Deductible Plan G through Aetna, but it’s only offered in a limited number of states. Aetna does offer discounts for spouses enrolling in Medigap plans at the same time and also offers a Free-Look period of 30 days in which a customer can change their mind and receive a refund. Aetna Medigap policies are guaranteed-renewable, meaning that policies cannot be canceled for any reason other than non-payment of the premium, making them a great choice for those with preexisting conditions.
- Range of plans available
- Extra perks for members
- No network restrictions
- Stand-alone dental and prescription plans
- Cumbersome website
Humana offers a number of Medigap plans in all 50 states. Founded in 1961, they now serve over 13 million people in the United States. Humana has a wide range of health-care services throughout the country. It can be a bit confusing to find a quote online, as plans vary by location, and the process to find specific availability might be difficult for those that aren’t totally tech-savvy.
With that said, their coverage is both affordable and comprehensive. Humana’s Medigap Plan G is available for $195.73 per month, and they offer a High Deductible Plan G for $60.97 per month. Customers are also provided access to other Humana features such as a 24/7 nurse hotline and the SilverSneakers program for senior physical fitness.
- Quick quoting process
- Easy-to-navigate website
- Plentiful Medicare information and resources
- Vision and dental options
- Higher deductibles
What We Like Most:
- Large range of plans
- Coverage for people with preexisting conditions
- Foreign travel emergency coverage available
- Skilled nursing facility coinsurance available
Cigna was founded in 1792 and today provides coverage for more than 17 million people in over 30 countries. The process for requesting a quote on a Medigap Plan through Cigna is more involved and time-consuming than with most other providers, so you want to make sure you have plenty of time to explore this option. The first step is to enter a zip code, which then directs to a page that asks for the customer’s full name, as well as a valid email address and a phone number.
Cigna offers a Medigap Plan G for $168.40 per month, which is definitely on the more affordable side, but it does not have a High Deductible Plan G option.
Cigna does grant up to a 7 percent household discount in some states. Their plans also include access to additional features, including the Cigna Healthy Rewards program, which offers discounts on other medical services not covered by Medicare or Medigap plans, as well as discounts on fitness and exercise plans.
- 24/7 customer service line
- Household discounts
- Easy-to-understand policies
- Coverage in most states
- Relatively few plan options
#5 AARP Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans - Best Senior Expertise
What We Like Most:
- Household and electronic payment discounts
- Plans A, B, C, F, G, K, L, and N offered
- Helpful online resources
AARP is a senior-focused organization that has been in business since 1958. They offer a range of products and services to those over the age of 65, and while they are not an insurance company, they have partnered with UnitedHealthcare to provide a range of Medigap plans backed by AARP’s trusted name in senior care.
You do have to be a member of AARP to enroll in one of their Medigap plans, which requires a $16 annual membership fee, and includes discounts on items such as car and hotel rentals. To get a quote for the AARP Medigap plans available in your area, you will be asked to include your zip code, date of birth, gender, and whether or not you use tobacco products.
The following page will ask for your Original Medicare enrollment dates, and then you will be redirected to the plans available in your location. AARP does not have a High Deductible Plan G option but does offer a Plan G as well as a Select Plan G.
The Medigap Plan G has a premium of $192.95 per month, while the Select Plan G runs $164.05 per month. The only difference between these two plans is that Plan G covers care at any hospital or doctor’s office, while the Select Plan G requires use of network-specific facilities. AARP offers enrollment discounts for those 65 years of age. This discount decreases each year that an individual chooses to wait to enroll. There is also a 5 percent household discount available in some states.
- Interactive website
- Friendly customer service
- Wide range of plans
- In-person appointments available
- Must be an AARP member to enroll