The Best Companies for Medigap Plans
The government standardizes Medicare supplement plans. In most states, each supplement is known by a simple letter name that ranges from Plan A to Plan N. At the same time, you purchase these policies from insurance companies. Since each kind of supplement must offer standard benefits, you won’t need to compare coverage for each of the companies. You just need to select a supplement that is likely to cover the kinds of medical services that you are likely to need.
On the other hand, you will want to take the time to compare some aspects of different companies. These factors include financial stability, customer service, and of course, premiums. Each insurance provider is free to set its own rates, so that is the major thing that insurers compete on.
To help you compare Medicare insurers, consider some facts about some of the best and most well-known providers:
- AARP: AARP Medicare supplement plans are actually underwritten by United Healthcare. In turn, United Healthcare ranks first in the number of Medigap plans that it sells with a market share of 34 percent.
- Aetna: Aetna has about four percent of the market for Medicare supplement plans.
- Blue Cross Blue Shield: This is the oldest health insurance company in the country, and it has been providing supplements since the early days of this program. In different states, you may find the company operating under different names. Some examples of these affiliated companies include Anthem and Florida Blue. Nationwide, they have a market share of about five percent.
- Cigna: Cigna offers Medigap in about a dozen states but has plans to expand to several more states in 2018. They also offer Part D in all 50 states. Even though they only have a market share of two percent, they have been growing rapidly.
- Mutual of Omaha: This well-known insurer writes nine percent of the market and ranks second in the entire country for the number of supplement policies that it has sold. In most counties, Mutual of Omaha is known as a quality insurer with competitive premiums.
- Gerber Life Medicare Supplement Plans
Of course, this list of Medicare supplement providers only included some of the large, nationwide health insurers. Smaller and regional insurers collectively hold about one-third of the policies sold. Some of these organizations have great name-recognition in the locations that they serve. At the same time, you should check out any unfamiliar insurers with your state insurance department to make sure they are legitimate and are authorized in your state.
What Else Should You Know About Medigap Plans?
Again, these plans are made to fill in coverage gaps left by Part A and Part B. They are not the same as Medicare Advantage plans, but many of the same insurers market both kinds of plans.
One big distinction is that you won’t get regular prescription insurance with Medigap.
This means you must purchase Part D if you don’t have any prescription insurance. The same insurers that market Medicare supplement plans almost always offer stand-alone prescription plans. At the same time, you are free to shop around for a different company to purchase Part D from. In some cases, you may benefit by selecting your health insurance separately from your Part D. For instance, the insurer with the lowest premiums for a supplement might not be the one that offers the best prescription coverage for your needs.
Who Buys Medigap Plans?
Medigap plans work with Part A and Part B to help pay for the things that aren’t fully covered or in some circumstances, aren’t covered at all. People may choose them because they like the fact that they don’t need to worry about the PPO or HMO networks that are so common with MA plans. Typically, medical providers all over the country accept Medigap policies. Some supplements will even pay charges that exceed the amounts that the government sets and cover urgent medical needs outside the United States.
Most beneficiaries choose to have additional insurance that can supplement their benefits. Industry watchers expect over 20 percent of these seniors and disabled people to chose Medicare supplement plans; however, some people may choose Advantage or have other protection from the government, a job, or a union.