UnitedHealthcare is one of many Medicare supplement plan providers in the United States. The types of supplemental coverage can vary by provider, state and county within the state. Plans have letter designations (A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M, N), and each plan offers the same basic benefits with some slight variations. Of the 10 standardized Medigap plans in the U.S., UnitedHealthcare offers eight.
What a Medicare Supplement Plan Isn’t
One of the main difficulties in choosing a Medicare supplement insurance plan is understanding how it differs from other types of coverage. The names of Medicare coverage types are frustratingly similar, so here is a brief description of the types of plans and what they do.
- Original Medicare: This is the coverage offered through the federal government. Every American is eligible to receive this coverage when they turn 65 years of age. Original Medicare consists of Part A and Part B coverage. Part A covers hospitalization while Part B covers outpatient services (doctor visits, emergency medical, etc.).
- Medicare Part D: This is additional coverage through Medicare that helps cover the costs of prescription medications. There are several plans to choose from.
- Medicare Advantage Plans: These are designated as Medicare Part C plans. They combine the coverage of Part A and Part B into a single plan, and they often include prescription drug coverage not included in Original Medicare.
Medicare supplement plans are totally separate from these types of coverage. Supplement plans are available through private insurers and an individual cannot have both a Medicare supplement plan and a Medicare Advantage plan.
Medicare Supplement Plan Features
The purpose of Medicare supplement insurance plans is to bridge the gap between original Medicare coverage and actual healthcare costs, which is why it is sometimes called a Medigap plan. Most Medigap coverage has the following features, depending on the plan option you choose:
- Coverage for certain out-of-pocket costs not covered by original Medicare
- No referrals required to see specialists
- Option for patients to see any doctor they want, provided that doctor accepts Medicare patients
- Coverage when traveling in foreign countries
- Lifetime coverage when premiums get paid on time
Typically, Medigap plans cover expenses like coinsurance, copayments and deductibles. It’s important to remember that Medicare supplement plans are different from the parts of Medicare despite the similarity of names. For example, Medicare Parts A, B, C and D are not the same thing as Medicare supplement plans A through D.
UnitedHealthcare Medicare Supplement Plans
The following table outlines the types of Medigap plans offered by UnitedHealthcare, including benefit summaries for each of the eight plans.
Summary of UnitedHealthcare Medigap Plan Benefits
|Benefits||Plan A||Plan B||Plan C||Plan F||Plan G||Plan K||Plan L||Plan N|
|Part A Coinsurance and an extra 365 hospital days after exhausting Medicare benefits||100%||100%||100%||100%||100%||100%||100%||100%|
|Part A Hospice/Respite Care copay or coinsurance||100%||100%||100%||100%||100%||50%||75%||100%|
|Part A Deductible||——||100%||100%||100%||100%||50%||75%||100%|
|Part B copay or coinsurance||100$||100%||100%||100%||100%||50%||75%||100%|
|Part B annual deductible||——||——||100%||100%||——||——||——||——|
|Part B Excess Charges||——||——||——||100%||100%||——||——||——|
|Skilled Nursing facility care coinsurance||——||——||100%||100%||100%||50%||75%||100%|
|Foreign travel emergency||——||——||80%||80%||80%||——||——||80%|
|Blood (first 3 pints/year)||100%||100%||100%||100%||100%||50%||75%||100%|
|Yearly out-of-pocket limit||——||——||——||——||——||$5,560||$2,780||——|
There are some restrictions and limitations of coverages depending on your state of residence and the plan you choose. Specific details are available on the UnitedHealthcare web page.
UnitedHealthcare Medicare Supplement Plan Costs
All eight UnitedHealthcare Medigap plans are available in most areas. However, the prices for each plan may vary from city to city in each state. For example, plan costs tend to be higher in large metropolitan areas than they are in smaller cities and towns. The pricing in the following table assumes applicants are non-smokers aged 65 years or older.
Summary of Approximate Costs for UnitedHealthcare Medigap Policy Coverages
|Location||Plan A||Plan B||Plan C||Plan F||Plan G||Plan K||Plan L||Plan N|
|New York, NY||$171.25||$246.00||$306.75||$308.25||$270.00||$80.00||$166.00||$200.25|
These are approximate rates and will vary from place to place and person to person. In some areas, UnitedHealthcare also offers plan F1 and plan C1 which offer a lower monthly cost with a higher deductible amount.
UnitedHealthcare Medicare Supplement Review Summary
All insurance companies that sell Medicare Supplement plans receive an A.M. Best rating. This rating is based on an evaluation of the company’s financial soundness, business profile and operation performance. Co-branded with AARP, UnitedHealthcare has an A.M. Best rating of “A.” As a result of this rating, the company consistently ranks among the top 10 Medicare supplement insurance providers in the United States. Another reason the company is so popular is the additional benefits it offers in some areas, such as vision discounts, gym benefits and household discounts.
Choosing a Medicare Supplement Plan
When choosing a Medicare supplement plan, take time to evaluate the options. Remember, all supplement plans offer the same coverage regardless of the company providing it. The only differences are pricing and availability by location. It’s also important to understand the methods used to calculate plan prices (Medicare.gov and AARP both provide clear explanations). While websites are valuable information sources, don’t hesitate to contact an insurance broker for assistance. Brokers can explain the options, answer specific questions and assist in finding a policy that best meets an individual’s needs and lifestyle. Consult a UnitedHealthcare representative for exact pricing and plan coverage for a specific person in a specific area.