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A Medicare Supplement Plan, also called a Medigap plan, is a plan sold by private companies, separate from Medicare. Medicare Supplement plans pay for the costs, or “gaps,” in coverage not paid for by Original Medicare. These can include prescriptions, doctor visits, vision and dental care, and more.
The best medicare supplement insurance companies offer competitive pricing and modern, easy-to-use website interfaces. They also make it easy to reach customer service agents and offer discounts to their customers.
Best Overall : Mutual of Omaha
The company offers multiple plans, a comprehensive website that is user-friendly, and customer discounts.
Website with easy-to-follow information
Comparison charts for different plans
Customer reviews on the plan information page
Multi-step process to pay online
No app for Medicare Supplement insurance
In business since 1909, Mutual of Omaha offers high-quality, in-depth information through the company website. The website is simple, uncluttered, and includes a comparison checklist showing who each plan is best for, with the option to include further coverage (such as dental or prescription drug coverage). Mutual of Omaha also offers a 7% to 12% discount if your spouse or domestic partner has applied for, or is applying for, coverage with Mutual of Omaha or an affiliate company.
Plan availability differs by location, but you should have around three to five options. To get price estimates, just enter your ZIP code. You can contact them online or over the phone for a personalized quote, but the company does not offer a mobile app for its Medigap customers. Mutual of Omaha is ranked by AM Best at A++ for financial health.
Best User Experience : Humana
Humana has a user-friendly website where you can easily compare plans and find out policy information.
User-friendly website lists quotes by ZIP code
Easy-to-find information and contact numbers
Enough introductory information without being overwhelming
Not available in all 50 states
Humana's website offers easy-to-use, self-explanatory content that makes finding the best Medicare Supplement policy simple and straightforward. Each plan's coverage details are clearly displayed by ZIP code, without needing to enter your personal information into the site. You can also request a phone call with a Humana Medicare agent.
You can compare specific plans if you enter information such as your zip code, birthday, and gender. Also, Humana also provides PDFs with detailed plan information. Humana seems to cover every state except Massachusetts or Minnesota, but check your zip code to confirm availability in your location. They offer plans Part A, B, C, F, G, K, L, and N. Plan F has an additional high-deductible option.
Humana earns an A- with AM Best for financial strength. The MyHumana app is available from both Google Play and Apple's App Store.
Best Set Plans and Coverage : AARP
AARP is a reputable and long standing organization that advocates for retired and older citizens. They offer a wide range of member benefits and have partner insurance companies that offer plans to members such as these medicare plans from UnitedHealthcare. One thing that really stands out about their offerings is that your plan details and coverage will stay the same for life.
Interactive, user-friendly website
Easy access to further contact in-person, online, or by phone
Plans stay the same for life
Must join AARP to enroll
Need to add additional details for more accurate pricing
AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization that helps people who are ages 50-plus with a variety of services and information. One of the most trusted names for retirees and other seniors, the organization boasts 38 million members. The medicare plans it offers and promotes are through UnitedHealthcare, which earns an A+ rating from AM Best for financial strength.
One beneficial aspect of these plans is that they will always stay the same as you age. Your coverage will not change even if your health does.
AARP and UnitedHealthcare offer a wide variety of plans, but your options will be based on your zip code. Remember that plans C and F are only available if you were enrolled in Medicare before January 2020. You can get pricing information easily by entering your ZIP code, but you need to enter more information such as date of birth to get accurate estimates.
Best Medigap Coverage Information : Aetna
Aetna offers numerous supplement plans and provides strong coverage information as well as a Medicare education section on its website so policyholders can better understand their benefits.
Information presented in multiple formats
Contact information clearly listed
Emergency coverage available abroad
Separate coverage transcript
Need to enter a bit of personal information to get pricing
Coverage documents are lengthy
Aetna stands out because it offers several Medicare Supplement plans, including Parts A, B, C, D, F, G, and N, with each plan’s information and coverage clearly laid out on the company website. Consumers are supplied with ample details to understand the options before deciding.
They also provide online information in multiple formats (PDF, online, and by phone) to better help a potential customer understand the details. However, the downloadable document with all the coverage details can be difficult to get through without guidance. Overall, we found Aetna to be very helpful and informative throughout the entire process of deciding upon a Medigap plan.
Aetna, now owned by CVS Health Corporation, has been in business since 1853 and earns an A with AM Best for financial strength. You can contact the company online, over the phone, or by attending a seminar. Information kits can also be mailed to you. Aetna offers two apps through Google Play and the App Store: Aetna Health tracks your account information, and Attain by Aetna encourages healthy habits.
Best Discounts for Multiple Policyholders : Cigna
Cigna offers multiple types of discounts including discounts for households with multiple policies and a discount for new online customers. Furthermore, members can save on health and wellness programs.
Big focus on education and easy-to-understand information
24/7 health Information line staffed by trained nurses
Household discounts for multiple policies with Cigna
Fewer plan options than some other companies
No pricing listed on the site without providing personal information
Cigna offers the best premium discounts, including a 7% household discount (available in some states) and a 5% discount for online sign-up that remains in effect for the life of the policy (available to first-time policyholders in some states).
While Cigna offers fewer plans than some of its competitors (Plans A, F, a high-deductible F, G, and N), its easy-to-use website has information clearly separated into categories, with an itemized breakdown of each plan when you click on "details" in the plan comparison chart. This allows for easy comparisons while avoiding presenting too much information at once. Cigna also offers a short educational video to explain "the basics of Medicare Supplement insurance."
Cigna has been in business since 1792, making it one of the oldest companies we reviewed, and the company's financial strength is currently an A, according to AM Best. If you're willing to answer some detailed health history questions, you can see personalized quotes on the website, or you can contact them by phone.
For digitally inclined people, Cigna offers three different apps through Google Play and the App Store. The Cigna Envoy app helps customers access health benefits and resources specifically, while myCigna stores all your Cigna details, from your ID card information and account balances to cost comparisons for drugs and medical procedures. The Cigna Wellbeing app helps encourage healthy behaviors.
All of the medicare supplement insurance companies that made our list are reputable and have years of insurance experience. Some companies have wide-ranging provider networks and are available in multiple states. Others have low deductibles and multiple plans to choose from. Overall, we recommend checking out Mutual of Omaha. It’s a well-known company that makes it easy to compare plans on its site with comparison charts, and it offers multiple discounts.
Compare the Best Medicare Supplement Insurance Companies
|Company||Plans (#)||Providers In-Network (#)||Deductible||No. States Available|
|Mutual of Omaha Best Overall||5+||Not disclosed||Contact or quote for details||Enter zip code to find out|
|Humana Best User Experience||8||Not disclosed||Contact or quote for details||47|
|AARP Best Set Plans and Coverage||Multiple||Not disclosed||Contact or quote for details||Enter zip code to find out|
|Aetna Best MediGap Coverage Information||7||Contact for details||Contact or quote for details||Select your state to check availability|
|Cigna Best Discounts for Multiple Policyholders||5||1.5 million||Contact or quote for details||48|
It’s important to keep the following in mind when comparing companies:
- Type of plans: Find out what plans the company offers and the plan details. You should be able to choose from multiple plans to find the one best suited to your needs.
- Pricing: To get an accurate comparison, know the pricing of each plan and what that price includes. Consider premiums and when they are due.
- Exclusions: You don’t want to sign up for a plan and find out the procedure you need isn’t covered. Explore the exclusions upfront.
- Deductibles: Know how much the deductible is so you can compare it to deductibles offered by other insurance companies.
Do You Need Medicare Supplement Insurance?
If you’re experiencing a gap in Medicare coverage, you may need to choose supplemental coverage. Explore your options for finding out what coverage you’re lacking and if things like prescriptions, doctor visits, vision, and dental care are covered or if you need help paying for them. If you’re not fully covered, then consider purchasing supplemental insurance.
How Do You Select a Medicare Supplement Insurance Company That Works for You?
After researching and comparing companies, you will select a supplemental insurance company that works best for you. You will want to consider things like the reputation and reviews of the insurance company as well as how easy it is to navigate their website and apply for coverage. Additional factors to consider include types of plans available, pricing, and deductibles. You may also want to select a company that has an app so you can manage your policy on the go.
How Do You Shop and Compare Medicare Supplement Plans?
Researching the right plan for you is key to getting the coverage you need. Each plan offers specific benefits depending on your state, your desired benefits, and the costs.
Step 1: Determine if You Are Eligible to Enroll
In general, if you’re approaching your 65th birthday but you haven’t started taking Social Security benefits yet, you are eligible for Medicare.
The best time to buy a Medicare Supplement policy is during your Initial Medicare Open Enrollment Period. This is a one-time only, six-month span when federal law allows you to sign up for any Medicare Supplement policy you want that is sold in your state. Preexisting conditions are accepted during this time period, and you can’t be denied a Medicare Supplement policy or charged more due to past or present health problems. Make sure you know when your Open Enrollment Period starts.
Step 2: Find a List of Medicare Supplement Plans Available in Your State or ZIP Code
Using the tool available on Medicare’s website, you can search for coverage plans based on your location.
Step 3: Determine Which Aspects of Coverage Are Most Important to You
Perhaps you are concerned about out-of-pocket copays or high deductibles, or you have a preexisting condition and want to know if there is a waiting period for coverage. Check each plan for the details that matter most to you.
Step 4: Compare the Difference in Cost Among Medicare Supplement Plans
The cost of a Medicare Supplement plan is determined by the individual insurance company that sells it. When researching different companies, ask how they price their policies. Learning which factors they base their pricing on will help you determine both the costs for you today and what to expect in the future if your health situation changes.
If you live in Massachusetts, Minnesota, or Wisconsin, Medicare Supplement policies have different rules. You have guaranteed issue rights to buy a Medicare Supplement policy, but the policies are different.
No matter which insurance company offers a particular Medicare Supplement plan, all plans with the same letter cover the same basic benefits. For instance, all Plan C policies have the same basic benefits no matter which company sells the plan. However, the premiums can vary, and each policy may have additional benefits depending on the provider.
Step 5: Consider Talking to a Broker or Consultant
Choosing any type of health insurance can be overwhelming. If you’d like some unbiased help in choosing which plan is right for you, a good option is State Health Insurance Assistance Programs. Also known as SHIP, they provide free local health coverage counseling to people with Medicare.
Step 6: Sign Up
Once you’ve found a plan that works for you, contact that insurance company directly to enroll.
Other special enrollment periods exist if you are still enrolled in your employer’s benefits program or if you have a guaranteed issue right. The Medicare.gov site has more information on when you are eligible to sign up.
What Are the Benefits of Buying a Medicare Supplement Plan?
The benefit of a Medicare Supplement plan is that it pays for the costs not paid for by Original Medicare. These include coverage for prescription medications, hospital stays, hospice care, bloodwork, and emergency room visits. It can drastically limit the out-of-pocket expenses that you may be hit with.
What Is the Difference Between a Medicare Supplement Plan and Medicare Advantage?
Both Medicare Advantage and Medigap plans are supplements to Original Medicare, but they are different. Medicare Advantage is an alternative Medicare plan. Medicare Advantage has a low or $0 monthly charge and covers most prescription medicine, though the choice of doctors and networks may be limited.
A Medicare Supplement plan cannot be used to cover costs from an Advantage plan; in fact, it’s illegal for anyone to try to sell you a Medicare Supplement policy while you're enrolled in an Advantage plan unless you're switching back to Original Medicare. If you’re unhappy with your Advantage plan and switch back to a Medicare Original Plan (which you can do within 12 months of enrolling in the Medicare Advantage plan), you then become eligible for Medicare Supplement insurance.
When Can I Buy a Medicare Supplement Plan?
When it comes to Medicare eligibility, you can buy a Medicare Supplement policy beginning on the first day of the month you turn 65, and for the following six months. Depending on the plan and state, however, people who are under 65 may qualify if they are permanently disabled. You may be subject to a medical underwriting examination, which is a detailed review of your medical history.
What Does a Medicare Supplement Plan Typically Cost?
Without providing detailed personal information, most providers are unable to release estimated costs. However, most plans begin in the range of $100 per month, and many providers offer discounts for a variety of qualifiers (such as being female or a non-smoker, or if you have more than one policy from that provider).
What Do Medicare Supplement Plans Not Cover?
Most Medicare Supplement plans have limits and exclusions to what they cover. For example, Plans C, D, F, G, and N cover 80% of medically necessary emergency care outside the U.S., but each of those four plans has other areas that they don’t cover. Medicare.gov offers a detailed explanation of benefits for each plan.
Most common things not covered by Medicare Supplement plans:
- Part B Deductible (Out-patient & Home Health Services)
- Part B Excess Charge (the difference between what doctor charges and what Medicare covers)
- Foreign Travel Exchange
Is a Medicare Supplement Plan Worth It?
Yes. A Medicare Supplement plan can help cover what Medicare can’t—from prescription medicine to ER visits to extended stays in the hospital. Some even cover nursing care or facility stays. Depending on the plan you choose, you may have copays, for example, or extremely limited doctor visits. Even getting one ER visit covered can be a huge benefit financially.
Who Needs a Medicare Supplement Plan?
If you currently have or are looking into Original Medicare coverage, you might want to check if you need a Medicare Supplement plan. It is important to know that there will be out-of-pocket expenses associated with Original Medicare. If you cannot afford those costs, enrolling in a Medicare Supplement plan will be most beneficial to you.
Not sure if it’s in your best interest or budget? Medicare.gov offers online tools to determine your eligibility and what plans are available in your location.
We researched and reviewed more than a dozen of the most popular medicare supplement insurance companies before narrowing it down to the top contenders. These providers are reputable with positive overall ratings and high markings for financial strength. We considered factors such as geographical coverage areas, how easy it is to use the company’s website, and how many plans are offered.
We do not offer every plan available in your area. Any information we provide is limited to those plans we do offer in your area. Please contact Medicare.gov or 1-800-MEDICARE (TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048) 24 hours a day/7 days a week to get information on all of your options.