Top 5 Medicare Supplement Plans

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    As you grow older, elderly health and wellness begin to take precedence above all else. Medicare is often considered the answer to ensuring that older individuals are protected and secure as they age. 

    As a federal health insurance program, you can get coverage in the form of hospital insurance (Medicare Part A), medical insurance (Medicare Part B), and prescription drugs (Medicare Part D), including more specific protections that fall under these main classifications. 

    Both individuals aged 65 and above, as well as those living with disabilities, may be able to qualify for Medicare. Although Medicare can be of great help for obtaining healthcare products and services, there are caveats. 

    With certain gaps in benefits, the absence of out-of-pocket spending limits, and requirements for cost-sharing, supplemental coverage plans are just as important. 

    Here are some options to consider:

    The Best Medicare Supplement Plans in 2021

    Medicare supplement plans, also referred to as Medigap, can give you additional protections where your traditional Medicare coverage falls short. There are a few different plans to choose from, depending on what you are lacking. To choose the best supplement plan, take time assessing costs and the scope of coverage. 

    Best for Affordability: Plan K

    • Cost of premiums: $62-135 
    • Scope of coverage: Does not cover Medicare Part B’s deductible and its extra charges, as well as emergencies during international travel
    • Original Medicare parts covered: Full coverage for Medicare Part A coinsurance, half coverage for Medicare Part B coinsurance, three pints of blood, half coverage for Part A hospice care coinsurance and skilled nursing care, half coverage for Medicare Part A’s deductible

    Plan K is the best for affordability, with premiums being much lower compared to all other plans. At the same time, you can still get coverage for Medicare costs — but only 50% of coverage for Medicare Part B’s coinsurance, Part A’s deductible, skilled nursing, and hospice care. 

    This plan also has an out-of-pocket spending limit of $6,220 annually for services that are covered by Medicare. If you have reached this, Plan K absorbs 100% of the costs for the rest of the year.

    Best for Newcomers: Plan G

    • Cost of premiums: $199-473
    • Scope of coverage: Does not cover Medicare Part B’s deductible
    • Original Medicare parts covered: Full coverage for Medicare Part A and B’s coinsurance, three pints of blood, full coverage for Part A hospice and skilled nursing facility coinsurance, and full coverage for Medicare Part A’s deductible and excess charges incurred from Medicare Part B

    For those who are newcomers or new enrollees in Medicare, Plan G may be one of your best bets as it covers most areas, save for the Part B deductible. As such, you will have to pay for this prior to having benefits pay out. 

    Since monthly premiums for Plan G are some of the highest on this list, make sure that you factor in whatever other medical fees you may have before deciding on the plan.

    Best for A More Affordable Version of Plan G: Plan N

    • Cost of premiums: $146-289
    • Scope of coverage: Does not cover Medicare Part B’s deductible or its extra charges
    • Original Medicare parts covered: Full coverage for both Medicare Part A and B’s coinsurance, three pints of blood, full coverage for Part A hospice and skilled nursing facility coinsurance, full coverage for Medicare’s Part A deductible, 80% of coverage for emergencies during international travel

    Plan N is similar to Plan G in terms of coverage, but for a fraction of the price. Like with Plan G, you will not have a Plan B deductible. There may also be a number of additional fees, so you should definitely have a look at the annual premiums of this plan. 

    You will have coverage for coinsurance, but not for copayments. This means that although certain portions of doctors’ fees may be covered, you may still have to pay a fixed rate to a healthcare provider upon visits.

    Best for Comprehensive Coverage: Plan C

    • Cost of premiums: $239-573
    • Scope of coverage: Does not cover extra charges from Medicare Part B
    • Original Medicare parts covered: Full coverage for both Medicare Part A and B’s coinsurance, three pints of blood, full coverage for Part A hospice and skilled nursing facility coinsurance, full coverage for Medicare’s Part A and B deductible, 80% of coverage for emergencies during international travel

    Plan C can provide you with comprehensive coverage, without the additional charges that come with Medicare Part B. You may incur these charges if a healthcare provider’s fees are more than your original Medicare coverage. If this isn’t the case, however, then Plan C can save you money. 

    It is also an ideal plan as it fully covers many areas, such as Medicare Part A and B’s deductibles and 100% of coinsurance payments in a nursing facility.

    Best for Existing Enrollees: Plan F

    • Cost of premiums: $221-544
    • Scope of coverage: Full coverage for everything except emergencies during international travel (80%)
    • Original Medicare parts covered: Full coverage for both Medicare Part A and B’s coinsurance, three pints of blood, full coverage for Part A hospice and skilled nursing facility coinsurance, full coverage for Medicare’s Part A and B deductible, full coverage for Medicare Part B’s extra charges

    Existing enrollees will benefit from Plan F, as it has some of the most comprehensive coverage options for out-of-pocket expenses, coinsurance, copayments, and deductibles. While premiums are on the higher side, it is worth it for day-to-day expenses as these will be covered. 

    Unfortunately, if you are new to enrolling for a plan, you cannot get Plan F as it is being phased out beginning January 1, 2020. However, if you are an existing enrollee, you can carry on with this plan and still reap its many benefits.

    The Best Medicare Supplement Insurance Companies

    Medicare’s supplement plans are standard across the board, making it easier for you to stack up to different companies against one another. One thing to note, however, is that rates may differ. This is true especially when rates increase as you grow older. 

    Best for the User Experience: Aetna

    • Scope of coverage: Plan A, B, F, G, N
    • User experience: Noteworthy user experience, given their instant and free quotes; Also have two apps for users
    • Available discounts: Available if you purchase several plans

    After centuries in the insurance industry, Aetna is a company you can definitely trust. Medigap plans are included in their types of insurance coverage, which currently serves over 22 million members throughout the United States. As such, you can retain your policy even when you move. 

    You will also be able to use their two apps: Aetna Health and Attain by Aetna. The former allows you to monitor your coverage or account, while the latter assures that you stay at the top of your health game. 

    Best for First-Time Users: Humana

    • Scope of coverage: A, B, C, F, G, K, L, high deductible F
    • User experience: Excellent online user experience and 24/7 customer service

    With Humana, you will have immediate access to information on coverage prices and types depending on your zip code. They extend their cover to most states, excluding Wisconsin, Massachusetts, and Minnesota. 

    They also have their own MyHumana app, so that you always have your insurance information at your fingertips. You will be able to add on coverage for your dental and vision needs as well. 

    Best for the Overall Package: Cigna

    • Scope of coverage: A, F, G, N
    • User experience: Customer service line is 24/7
    • Available discounts: Users will get to save money on their premiums if other family members are enrolled in a Medigap plan; some first time members can get 5% off for online registration, which will be in effect permanently

    You will be able to use your Cigna coverage for as long as your healthcare provider accepts Medicare. You can also obtain coverage if you have pre-existing conditions, and the company’s policies are considered renewable for life. 

    You will be able to comprehend all of their policies on their website, empowering you to make an informed decision especially if you choose Cigna as your provider. 

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What is the average monthly cost of a Medicare supplement plan? 

    Medicare supplement plans have been around to make up for the gaps in coverage that come from traditional Medicare. These plans can cover anything standard healthcare insurance does not, such as dental and vision care. The cost of these monthly premiums will vary anywhere between $70-$570 a month depending on which plan you sign up for and how much your deductible is set at when signing up. 

    Are Medicare supplement premiums based on income?

    Medicare premiums are based on your modified adjusted gross income, or MAGI: this refers to your total adjusted gross income plus tax-exempt interest.  

    What percent of seniors choose Medicare Advantage? 

    Medicare Advantage has seen a sharp increase in enrollment since the early 2000s. In 2020, nearly four out of ten Medicare beneficiaries are enrolled in these plans: this amounts to 24 million people or 39% of 62 million overall.

    Can you go back to Original Medicare from an Advantage plan? 

    You have the opportunity to try Medicare Advantage at no risk with a 1-year trial period. If you decide that this is not for you, just switch back to Original Medicare during your first year and there will be no penalty.  

    Are there copays with Medicare Plan G? 

    The Medicare Supplement Plan G is a comprehensive plan that provides medical coverage to those on the brink of retirement. Unlike many other plans, this one has no co-pays and pays for the remaining balance after your primary insurance company covers its share of costs. 

    While thinking thoroughly about your Medicare coverage is extremely important, don’t forsake the additional benefits of supplement plans. Quite literally bridging the gaps where your Medicare plans fall short, supplement plans offer you whatever other protections you may need. 

    Want to learn more about other ways you can safeguard your health and security, such as supplementing your medical alert systems? Check out some of our previous articles and contact Senior Strong to learn more!

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