If you’re inching closer to retirement, then one of your biggest concerns is managing future healthcare expenses. Perhaps you have already enrolled in an Original Medicare plan (Part A and B), but this isn’t likely to give you complete coverage. Therefore, It’s time to look in the direction of Medicare Supplement plans, also known as Medigap for short.
Cigna’s Medigap does a really good job of taking care of parts of your bill that are not covered by your Medicare Part A (hospital care) and Part B (medical care). The best part of Cigna is that their Medigap plan premiums start as low as $45.91 per month.
Cigna Company Background
Formed in 1982, Cigna is a global health service company headquartered in Connecticut. In 2015, U.S. health insurer Anthem acquired Cigna. Well-known as a reliable provider of insurance, Cigna has healthcare plans relating to general health, pharmacy, dental, Medigap, and Medicare. With Cigna, you are certain to receive competitive rates on the plan premiums. They also have a well-trained call center team to guide you through any insurance-related queries.
What Is a Medicare Supplement Plan?
Even if you are enrolled in Medicare, you may still end up with certain out-of-pocket expenses. To avoid paying extra at the time of treatment, older adults should definitely enroll in a solid Medigap plan. Medigap is not part of the government’s Medicare program; instead, these plans are retailed by private insurers such as Cigna.
What Does Medigap Cover?
Medigap covers a lot of costs that your Original Medicare doesn’t. Some of the expenses that it’s designed to take care of are annual deductibles, copays, and coinsurance for in-patient care. With this add-on insurance plan, older adults can get completely covered for doctor’s services, home health care, lab costs, hospitalization, and durable medical equipment.
What Does Medigap Not Cover?
It’s important to note that Cigna’s Medigap plans will not pay for prescription drugs or dental expenses. They also don’t cover long-term care (such as the cost of staying at a nursing home), eyeglasses, hearing aids, or private-duty nursing.
Medicare Supplement Plan Features
Depending on your health care needs and budget, you will need to pick from the many plan options available in your state. Here are some of the coverage benefits offered by Cigna’s standard plans:
- Plan A – This is one of the most basic plans that every insurer carries, but it has the lowest coverage. It only covers Medicare Part A and B coinsurance and coverage for hospital benefits, three pints of blood, and Hospice Care Coinsurance or Copayment. On the other hand, you are responsible for Part A and Part B annual deductibles.
- Plan G – While this plan covers Medicare Part A deductible, it doesn’t take care of Part B deductible. So you will have to pay the annual deductible before gaining access to coverage for doctor’s office visits and preventive healthcare.
- Plan N – This plan ensures you don’t need to pay Medicare Part A deductibles or Hospice Care copayments (or coinsurance) and that skilled nursing facility care is covered. You will, however, be responsible for Medicare Part B Deductibles and Medicare Part B excess charges. You will also need to cover co-payments of up to $20 for doctor’s visits.
- Plan F – This plan tends to be the most expensive and offers the highest level of coverage. It’s one of the few plans to cover Medicare Part B (Medical) calendar year deductible. It also covers all the other standard costs from Medicare Part A deductible to Skilled Nursing Facility Care Coinsurance and Medicare Part B Coinsurance or Copayment.
- High Deductible Plan F (HDF) – This plan is similar to plan F, except that it covers out-of-pocket healthcare expenses only after you spend a certain amount every calendar year. This is what keeps the monthly premium at a real low.
Did You Know: Plans F, G, N, and A cover costs of foreign travel emergencies up to the plan limit.
Cigna Medicare Supplement Plans
Typically, Medicare covers only about 66 percent of the healthcare costs of beneficiaries ages 65 and older. It’s no wonder that every year, about 25 percent of Original Medicare users enroll in a Medigap plan. By purchasing one of Cigna’s Medigap plans to supplement your original Medicare plans, you can reduce the pressure on your finances and be better prepared for health emergencies. To that end, Cigna offers five Medigap plans (Plan N, A, G, F, and HDF) to eligible applicants.
If you purchase any of these plans from Cigna, you can also get discounts on the likes of vitamins, vision care, hearing care, health clubs, alternative medicine, and weight management. Cigna also offers 24/7 access to trained nurses who can answer all your health and policy concerns.
Which Medigap Plan Is Right for You?
Medical debt is something that many older adults end up having to deal with. Every out of pocket expense, which comprise about 11 percent of healthcare costs, adds to this burden. This is why it’s really important that you choose a Medigap plan that eliminates these extra costs.
Here is a breakdown of the Medigap options offered by Cigna:
Cigna Medigap Plans
|Plan F||High Deductible Plan F||Plan G||Plan N||Plan A|
|Ideal For||Older adults who have high healthcare costs and are not as worried about spending a little extra on insurance.||Those who have very few health issues and don’t expect to use the policy much.||Older adults who are comfortable paying some amount for doctor’s visits and preventive medicine, but want inpatient procedures to be covered by insurance.||Seniors who are looking for a budget-friendly plan and are comfortable with co-payments.||Those who just want a little extra coverage over their Original Medicare.|
|Medicare Part A (deductible)||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Medicare Part A (Coinsurance and Coverage for Hospital Benefits)||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Skilled Nursing Facility Care (Coinsurance)||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Hospice Care (Coinsurance or Copayment)||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Blood (first 3 pints)||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Medicare Part B (Deductible)||Yes||Yes||No||No||No|
|Medicare Part B (Coinsurance or Copayment)||Yes||Yes||Yes||Co-pay applies||Yes|
|Medicare Part B (Excess Charges)||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|Foreign Travel Emergency||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
**These prices are based on the quote requested from Cigna on behalf of an Ohio-based 65-year-old woman who is a non-smoker.
Remember: If you are newly eligible for Medicare, on or after January 2020, you will not be able to apply for plans C, F, and high-deductible F.
The monthly premium of Cigna’s Medicare Supplement plan varies based on the specific plan you choose, your age, location, and other health factors. An indicative price range for Cigna’s Medigap plans would be between $45.91 and $169.59 per month. In certain states, if any member of your household also holds a Cigna Medicare Supplement insurance policy, you get up to seven percent off on your premium. Meanwhile, applying online ensures that you save five percent on the premium.
How To Enroll in a Cigna Medigap Plan
In my career working with older adults, I’ve seen pensioners struggle to choose and apply for the right health insurance plans. So I decided to see for myself how complicated picking and enrolling into Cigna’s Medigap plan would be.
To that end, I thought to try out the online quote generator on the Cigna website that would guide me through the plans. It took me through a brief questionnaire and then threw up a bunch of plan options and quotes. I had a few questions related to Medicare Part B calendar-year deductible with Plan F, so I quickly called up their customer care team. They were really helpful, and as it turns out, Plan F is one of the only plans that covers this specific deductible. That sealed the deal for me. So, I went on to complete the rest of the application process, which included a full health disclosure and payment.
The whole process should take about 15 minutes, and it’s surprisingly easy and intuitive, really.
Still, for those older adults who prefer good old-fashioned one-on-one sales interactions, it might be best to apply for the plans by calling Cigna’s customer care team.
Did You Know: Once you complete the application, it takes just about a month for your Medigap policy to get activated.
myCigna Mobile App
For older persons, keeping track of Medicare Supplement ID cards, claims, and account balances can get quite tricky. This is why the myCigna mobile app can be just what the doctor ordered! You can use the app as a handy reference to check your Medigap plan coverage details and even research and compare costs of health procedures, doctors’ consultations, and drugs from different providers. It also acts as a vault to store your digital Medigap ID, health information, and contacts.
Alternatives to Cigna Medigap Plans
Benefits of each Medigap plan are set by the government and standardized across all private insurance providers. So, if you are thinking of choosing one provider over the other, it will not be for the basic benefits but for the premium and the perks. Be sure to compare the same plan across different private insurers before making your decision. I have listed below some of the top providers who offer a range of Medigap plans:
- Mutual of Omaha: Well-known for their highly-perceptive customer care service that makes buying and using Medigap easy.
- State Farm: Allows you to bundle different types of insurance with Medigap to save money.
- Blue Cross Blue Shield: Has a very straight-forward Medigap enrollment plan.
- United Healthcare: An AARP Medigap partner with a wide range of Medigap plan options.
Steep healthcare costs can really eat into your retirement savings. This is why it makes sense to enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan that plugs holes in your Original Medicare coverage. Cigna offers Plans N, A, G, F, and HDF. Each of these has different coverage and premiums.
If you are looking for the lowest premium, then go for the HDF plan, which will result in you bearing a higher deductible cost and costly out-of-pocket medical expenses. On the other hand, if you want absolute peace of mind, choose Plan F that covers all healthcare costs, including Medicare Part B deductibles.
Before making a decision, however, try to predict if you will need more medical care beyond preventive measures. If so, go with the traditional plans such as Plans F, A, and G, instead of the high-deductible plans.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Are there any floater Medigap policies for older couples?
Each policy is specific to an individual. If both spouses would like to be covered by Medigap, then you need to invest in two separate policies. The good news is that having a Cigna Medigap policyholder in your household automatically qualifies you for a seven percent discount in some states.
- What does it mean when they say that Medigap is ‘Guaranteed renewable for life’?
Every Medigap policy lets you renew the plan, as long as you regularly pay the premium and have not misrepresented information. The insurer cannot cancel the plan, even if you have a new or worsening medical condition.
- When does the open enrollment period start for Medigap?
The month you turn 65 and are enrolled in Medicare Part B, the 6-month open enrollment period starts. In case you are still covered by a group health insurance through an employer or union, then the minute you retire and your Part B becomes effective, your open enrollment period begins.
- Can I switch between the Medicare supplement plans?
Typically federal law does not allow for switching between Medigap plans unless you are under the 6-month open enrollment period or other special circumstances.
- Do I need to have Medicare before applying for Medigap?
You must subscribe to Medicare parts A and B in order to become eligible for Medigap.