A Medicare Supplement Plan, or Medigap, is essentially “extra” health insurance offered through private insurance companies that helps pay costs not covered by the Original Medicare benefits plan (Medicare Part A and Part B). A variety of Medigap plans are available to people who have Medicare but need support covering extra associated costs. Labeled A-N, there are ten standardized plans that cover different sets of gaps in Medicare. We hope this Medicare supplement plans comparison guide helps you find the right policy for you.
What Are Medicare Supplements?
All Medigap plans cover Medicare Part A coinsurance and hospital costs up to one year after Medicare benefits are used up. Beyond that, the plans differ in gaps covered and percentage of those gaps covered. Medigap coverage includes copays, coinsurance, annual deductibles and health care costs outside of the U.S.
Medigap Availability & Premium Rates
Medicare supplement plans are available in most states. It’s important to note that the plan benefits remain the same across states and insurance companies, but premiums will often vary. For example, Plan G benefits are the same in Rhode Island as in New Mexico—but premiums for these plans will vary by state and insurance company.
To ensure you’re not paying more than you need to for the same level of coverage, you can fill out a quick survey to see a price comparison of the companies offering Medigap policies in your area:
Medigap Policy Comparison Chart
The chart from Medicare.gov below shows basic information about the different benefits Medigap policies cover.
Yes = the plan covers 100% of this benefit
No = the policy doesn’t cover that benefit
% = the plan covers that percentage of this benefit
N/A = not applicable
|Medigap Benefits||Medigap Plans|
|Part A coinsurance and hospital costs up to an additional 365 days after Medicare benefits are used up||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Part B coinsurance or copayment||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||50%||75%||Yes||Yes|
|Blood (first 3 pints)||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||50%||75%||Yes||Yes|
|Part A hospice care coinsurance or copayment||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||50%||75%||Yes||Yes|
|Skilled nursing facility care coinsurance||No||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||50%||75%||Yes||Yes|
|Part A deductible||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||50%||75%||50%||Yes|
|Part B deductible||No||No||Yes||No||Yes||No||No||No||No||No|
|Foreign travel exchange (up to plan limits)||No||No||80%||80%||80%||80%||No||No||80%||80%|
How To Compare Medicare Supplement Plans
If you’re considering a Medigap plan, be sure you understand your policy options. You’ll want to know the out-of-pocket costs that come with each and how each plan covers your own health care and financial priorities.
It’s important to think about what you need covered now as well as what you may need covered in the future. To help you compare Medicare supplement plans, ask yourself the following questions:
Do you have or anticipate extensive health care needs? (Choose Plan F or G)
If you want to be completely covered, Plan F is likely the best option for you. Plan F is the most comprehensive policy, covering all gaps in Medicare—including coinsurance, blood, deductibles, Part B excess charges, skilled nursing/facility care, and 80% of foreign emergency care. For this reason, Plan F is also the most commonly used plan, with 66% of Medicare users choosing it.
Plan F also offers a high-deductible option (F+), which comes with lower premium payments but no coverage availability until after the annual deductible is met. If you select this option, you’re looking at around $2,400 for the year, with about a $68 monthly premium.
Plan G is also a very popular option for Medigap purchasers, as it’s very similar in its coverage to Plan F with the exception of the Medicare Part B deductible. If your Plan G annual premiums are less than you pay for the Part B deductible, this plan may make more sense for you.
Do you want to save on out-of-pocket costs and premiums? (Choose Plan G)
Plan G might also be a good option here. It has a moderate monthly premium and covers all Medigap benefits besides Part B deductible costs.
Do you want to protect how much you spend? (Choose Plan K or L)
Plans K or L both have out-of-pocket limits, which kick in to guarantee that you only spend a certain amount out of your own pocket (and change annually with inflation). In 2019 Plan K covers 100% after you spend around $6,300 and Plan L does the same after you spend around $3,200. Note, however, that they both offer the least amount of coverage before reaching the out-of-pocket limit.
Do you just want the basics? (Choose Plan A)
Plan A is considered the most basic coverage plan. It pays Medicare part A and B coinsurance along with up to three pints of transfused blood. This may be a good option if you’re in good health and don’t foresee that changing in the near future.
Do you travel often? (Choose Plan C, D, F, G, M or N)
You’ll want a Medigap plan that covers foreign emergency care, which plans C, D, F, G, M, and N each pay 80% of. Weigh this in relation to the other questions you’re asking yourself, along with your health and financial priorities to determine the best Medicare supplement plan for you.
Other Important Information
Keep these general facts in mind when comparing Medigap plans:
- To be eligible for Medigap, you must already have Medicare Part A and B or be enrolled in Medicare Advantage (see next point)
- Those with Medicare Advantage also have the opportunity to switch to a Medicare supplement plan. If it is your first time in a Medicare Advantage plan you have 12 months to change back to original Medicare and purchase a supplement. You can always change during the AEP (annual enrollment period) Oct 15 – Dec 7th.
- If you have a Medicare Supplement, you can change policies ANY time of year—not just during the AEP
- Medigap policies cover one individual. If you and a spouse are both considering Medigap, you will need to purchase two policies
- Enroll in Medigap within six months from the first day of the month of your 65th birthday OR within six months of signing up for Medicare Part B. In this window, you’re eligible for any Medigap policy at the price of a healthy person, regardless of your condition.
Note that Medigap does NOT cover:
- Prescription drugs
- Long-term care
- Dental care
- Vision care or eyeglasses
- Hearing aids
- Private nursing
Don’t Overpay – Get A Free Premium Comparison
We hope this guide has helped you to find the best Medigap plan for your needs. As a reminder, plan coverage is the same for the policy you choose across insurance companies, though the premiums may vary by state and insurance provider. To ensure you don’t overpay, be sure you compare the offerings from various providers. We make it easy to compare premiums through a quick survey. Get your free Medigap policy price comparison today!
I’d Rather Speak To An Agent First
If you still need assistance finding the right policy for your needs or want help signing up, we have agents on standby. Simply provide some basic contact information, and an agent will reach out to you soon.