Medicare is a U.S. federal health insurance plan for those who are 65 and older. It also benefits younger people with disabilities and permanent kidney failure who may need dialysis. Medicare supplement plans, or Medigap, are insurance plans for individuals with Original Medicare. Original Medicare usually includes Medicare Part A, which covers hospital insurance, and Medicare Part B, which covers Medical insurance.
Original Medicare has some gaps that can be filled by standard Medicare supplement plans. These Medicare insurance plans are sold as individual insurance policies that the insurance department regulates. Below we lay down the best Medicare Supplement plans in 2024 according to coverage options, plan availability and other important ranking criteria.
Best rated Medicare Supplement plans: shortlist
- Humana — best supplemental health insurance options
- UnitedHealthcare — best Medicare supplement policy with nationwide availability
- Cigna — best rated Medicare supplement plans with great customer satisfaction
- Aetna — best medigap Plan G carrier
- Allstate — best for financial strength
Best supplemental insurance for Medicare: provider reviews
Various carriers offer Medigap insurance coverage, and we have carefully selected these five carriers as our best Medicare Supplement plans.
Humana — best for Medigap options
Available in all 50 states, Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico, with variations based on plan types
May cover transportation, meal delivery service, and lifestyle expenses
Rated 4.3 out of 5 by CMS
Humana offers the best Medicare supplement plans, according to our criteria. It is a Medicare supplement plan carrier that has Medigap plans in almost all the states (covers 49 states). Although its premium plan is higher than other competitors, it also covers more perks. Perks like a 24/7 nurse line, vision discounts, a meal delivery program for those who stay overnight in a hospital or a nursing home, and Silver Sneakers fitness program. It also offers a discount on monthly premium plans if you enroll for the coverage online.
Although some states may cover lesser Medigap plans, Humana offers most Medicare supplement plans. It offers an electronic payment discount, household discounts between 5% - 12%. It has a low premium rate for Plan G. The average monthly cost of a high-deductible plan G is $53, Plan K costs $103, Plan N costs $146 and Plan C costs $245 monthly on average.
UnitedHealthcare — best for nationwide availability
Available in all 50 states, with variations based on plan types
Provides dental, vision, hearing, and lifestyle benefits
Rated 5 out of 5 by CMS
UnitedHealthcare is a well-known insurance carrier in the US. It has Medicare supplement plan coverage in 50 states and offers many Medigap plans. This carrier offers a chance for any person in any of the states to have access to supplemental health insurance. It offers an additional online brain health program for its customers.
Most Medigap plans offered by UnitedHealthcare average $135 monthly. It offers electronic transfer discounts and provides Part D plans. With UnitedHealthcare, you do not need a referral to see a specialist, and the offer covers any medical emergency you may have while you travel across the US. It also offers fitness programs that offer discounted access to the gym.
Cigna — best Medicare company for customer satisfaction
Available in 26 states and Washington, DC, with variations based on plan types
Includes dental, hearing, vision, lifestyle, and transportation benefits
Rated 4.17 out of 5 by CMS
Cigna is a top Medicare supplement plan carrier known for delivering the best service. It offers coverage in 48 states and offers six supplemental plans. The rate of the policies is very competitive. It offers free online quotes to customers. Cigna Medigap plans cost around $226 monthly on average.
It offers premium discounts to customers who live in the same household. Cigna premium is neither the lowest nor the highest, making it suitable for people working with a budget that is not too low. Cigna offers exceptional customer service. You can easily access customer support or representatives when needed and ensure a smooth and fast response.
Aetna — best for Medigap Plan G provider
Available in 49 states and Washington, DC, with variations based on plan types
Along dental, vision, and hearing coverage, it also offers lifestyle benefits
Rated 4.06 out of 5 by CMS
Aetna provides supplemental health insurance plans for people who have original Medicare. Aetna offers all ten Medicare supplement plans, providing a variety to choose from, although Plan N requires a $20 copayment or coinsurance for office visits and a $50 copayment for emergency visits.
Also, these copayments do not count toward the annual Part B deductibles. You should also know that while the insurance only covers 27 states, you will get a 7% household discount if it covers your state. With Aetna, Plan A costs $1,492, Plan B costs $1723, Plan G costs $1709, Plan N costs $1,099 and Plan F costs $1,972 annually on average. The offer also covers you when you travel for medical emergencies.
Allstate — best for financial strength
Allstate is a Medigap insurance carrier that is known for its financial strength. It also offers discount programs that vary by state. It has limited state coverage, and the average cost for Allstate supplement plans ranges between $85 and $180 monthly on average. It offers a competitive premium rate.
You also get a 7% household premium discount if you lived with 1-3 other adults over 50 in the past year, although this varies by state. The perks do not end here with Allstate, you also get to enjoy annual pay discounts among others.
Comparison of the best Medigap companies
This table compares the best Medigap carriers, paying attention to the benefits, ratings, and discounts.
|3.5 NCQA star rating
|5% -12% household discount
|3.5 NCQA star rating
|Offers electronic transfer discount
|3.5 NCQA star rating
|Offers low-cost programs, offers discounted fitness programs
|3 NCQA star rating
|7% household discount
|3 NCQA star rating
|7% household discount
How we ranked the best Medicare Supplement companies?
The factors and methodology we used to rank the best Medigap companies include:
- Availability. Each company's number of states was factored in when selecting the best Medigap companies. Most Medigap plans availability varies in different states. The carriers who are available to a large extent were selected.
- Coverage. The number of plans that these companies offer was also put into consideration. We have 12 standard Medigap plans that include the high-deductible G and F plans.
- Quality Rating. We considered the NCQA and CMS star ratings when selecting the best companies. Usually, quality service is rated by NCQA and CMS.
- Financial strength. We factored in the financial strength ratings of these companies, assessing their ability to honor their financial obligation.
- Customer satisfaction. We considered the customer satisfaction ratings while selecting the best company. We used the National Association of Insurance Commission and Better Business Bureau's overall customer satisfaction ratings as a guide.
What are Medicare Supplement plans?
Medicare supplement plans, also known as Medigap plans, are insurance policies that cover out-of-pocket medical expenses that Original Medicare does not cover. The table below explains what different Medigap plans cover.
|Basic coverage (plans A - N)
|Plan A covers basic benefits, Plans B and M offer the basic benefits and some extra benefits, Plans D and G have the highest benefit coverage and plan N covers lower premiums and higher copayment.
|Broad coverage (plans F,C)
|Are only available for old Medicare members and not new members. It also has broad coverage. Both plans cover 80% of the emergency care during the first two months of each trip outside the US, after a $250 deductible, for a lifetime maximum of $50,000. Plan F covers part B excess charge. A percentage of the charge is covered either 80% or 100%.
|Lower premiums (plans K,L)
|Has the lowest premium coverage. Both plans cover the basic benefits, but only cover 50% (K) or 75% (L). They also cover the part B coinsurance, hospice cost share and the first 3 pints of blood for each year. Plan K covers $6940, and plan L covers $3470 out-of-pocket limit. It covers most that the other plans cover but not in it entirety.
What are the best supplemental plans for seniors?
We cannot choose the best supplemental plan for seniors for sure, this is because individual needs and preferences differ. However, there are common Medigap plans that are usually recommended for seniors due to their broad and comprehensive coverage. You should however note that the plan availability and benefits may vary depending on your location.
One supplemental plan that is often recommended to seniors is the Medigap Plan G. It is recognized as a top-rated plan for seniors because it fills the most gaps in the Original Medicare, including Part A and Part B deductibles, copayments, and coinsurances. The only out-of-pocket cost you will be paying when you apply for Medicare supplement Plan G is the Plan B deductible annual fee. With Plan G, your Medicare-approved expenses are covered.
Another supplement plan seniors should consider is Plan N. This plan covers the same benefits as Plan G, although you will be required to pay some copayments and coinsurances for doctor and emergency room visits. It also offers a lower premium than Plan G offers and can help save on monthly costs. The best supplemental plan for seniors depends on the senior’s needs, budget, and preferences.
How much do Medicare supplement plans cost?
The cost of Medicare supplemental plans is not definite and depends on certain factors such as age, gender, health status, state, and specific plans. An average Medicare supplement plan however costs $50 - $400. The best way to be sure of the cost of a Medigap plan that suits you is to talk to the insurance carrier you want to purchase the policy from.
The plan type of your Medigap determines the benefits you will be offered and the type of plan can cause the cost of Medigap plans to vary. Also, the age at which you enroll for the plan can affect the cost of the plan. Normally the cost of the plan increases as your age increases, but some carriers allow you to lock the cost of your plan when you enroll at a certain age.
Some states also allow insurance companies to use underwritings to determine the cost of your Medigap plan; your health status can sometimes play a role in the amount you pay for your premium. Although your health status will not be taken into consideration if you enrolled during the enrollment period, the enrollment period is during your 65th birthday and the six months that follow. Some carriers also offer discounts such as household or non-smoker discounts - this may impact the amount your Medigap plan costs.
Lastly, your gender may affect the cost of your plan and also the ratings of your plan may determine the cost of your plan. Some Medigap plans are community-rated while some are issue-age-rated. Community-rated means everyone pays the same amount while issue-age-rated plan cost is determined by the age you enrolled for the plan.
How to pick Medicare insurance suitable for you?
Choosing a Medicare insurance plan that best suits will involve several steps that will ensure that you are getting coverage at a price you can afford. Below are some steps that will be helpful.
- Evaluate your needs. You need to know what your needs are; what will you like the plan to cover. Answering this will help you select the right Medigap plan for you.
- Research the Medicare supplemental plans options you have. Each of the Plans covers different benefits and it is important that you choose the one that best suits your needs.
- Compare the coverage options of each of these plans. coverage for services such as coinsurance, copayments, deductibles, and foreign travel emergencies should be compared before making a final decision.
- Factor in the cost of the premium. You should try to balance coverage with the cost of the premium. A plan with broad coverage may have a high premium rate, you should compare the cost of the plan you have chosen from other insurance carriers.
- Do a thorough search on the reputation of the carrier. the financial stability of the carrier is key and its ability to honor financial obligation.
- Know the enrollment period. The typical period for enrollment is usually when you clock 65 and when you are enrolled in Medicare Plan B. You can not get rejected during this period.
- Research your state regulations and seek advice when necessary. Most carriers have customer care representatives who can help you whenever the need arises.
Medicare Supplement vs. Medicare Advantage
Medicare Supplement also known as Medigap is different from Medicare Advantage also known as Part C - both are two different types of insurance options that work alongside Original Medicare(Part A and B). Medigap plans help to cover the gaps in the original Medicare by covering out-of-the-pocket costs like deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments, while Medicare Advantage also includes the Original Medicare, which covers Part D, eye, dental, and ear care but not all plans do.
Medigap plans allow you to see any doctor or use any hospital of your choice who accepts Medicare while Medicare Advantage has carrier networks. You may have to pay a higher cost if you go out of the network.
Medigap has standard plans that are labeled with letters, every plan with the same letter offers the same coverage regardless of which carrier you bought it from, while Medicare Advantage plans have lower premium rates than Medigap. Although you may pay more in the form of copayments and coinsurance.
How to get Medicare supplement insurance
In order to get Medicare supplement insurance, you should follow the following steps:
- Research and find which carrier offers a suitable Medicare supplemental plan for you: Medicare's official website is a good place to find these carriers and compare.
- Compare the costs of your choice plan with various insurance carriers: reach out to various carriers; you can do this via call or online, then compare the quotes with each other.
- Wait for the enrollment window. This is usually between the time you clock 65 and when you are enrolled for a Medicare Plan B.
- Complete your application. You can fill out the application form for the carrier that best suits your needs. Please ensure all the information you provided is accurate.
- Review the documents properly and sign them.
Discover other Medicare insurance policies
What is the best supplemental health insurance?
The best supplemental health insurance will vary depending on various individual preferences, needs, and budget. There is not a one-size-fits-all answer, this is because what is best for a person may not be the best for another person. Your health needs, coverage options, and the reputation of the carrier are all you should consider when deciding the best option.
Can I get cheap Medicare Supplemental insurance?
Yes, you may be able to get cheap Medicare supplemental insurance if you shop around. Try to compare quotes from different companies and choose the cheapest option. You should also enroll during the enrollment period, companies cannot charge you higher premiums during this time.
What is the difference between Plan G and N?
Plan G’s coverage is very broad, from deductibles to copayments and coinsurances. The only out-of-the-pocket cost you will be paying for, is the annual Medicare Plan B deductible while Plan N’s coverage is also broad, you will have to pay up to $20 for doctor visits and $50 for emergency visits. Plan N does not cover excess charges like Plan G but it has lower premium rates unlike Plan G.
Do all doctors accept Medigap insurance?
No, not all doctors accept Medigap insurance but a large number of doctors accept Medigap.
Do all Medicare plans cover prescription drugs?
No, not all Medicare plans cover prescription drugs, you may have to enroll in Medicare part D plan if you need it to be covered.