How to pick the best Medicare Supplement plan for you

Medicare Supplement plans may help you save money on costs that Original Medicare doesn’t pay.

Here’s some information to help you choose the best plan for your needs.

What is a Medicare Supplement plan?

A Medicare Supplement plan is an extra healthcare insurance policy you can buy from a private company. Also called “Medigap,” a Medicare Supplement plan helps pay some of the costs that Original Medicare doesn’t pay, like coinsurance, copayments and deductibles.

Types of Medicare Supplement plans

In most states, policies are standardized into plans named A-N. All plans cover basic benefits, but each plan covers a set of additional benefits to make it unique.

For example: one plan might cover skilled nursing facilities but not the Part B deductible. Another plan may cover the Part B deductible but not Part B excess charges.

Also, some plans may charge higher premiums with lower out-of-pocket costs. Other plans may offer lower premiums but higher out-of-pocket costs.

Steps to picking a Medicare Supplement plan

There are a number of helpful steps you can take to find the best plan for you.

1. Decide which benefits you want and may need in the future.

Make a list of your current healthcare needs and costs. Next, try to think of any future healthcare needs and costs and add them to the list.

2. Review and compare Medicare Supplement plans.

Explore available Medigap policies to see which 1 best meets your needs. You can review the policies in your area at Medicare.gov, opens new window or search the list of contacts for your state on Medicare.gov, opens new window.

3. Compare insurance companies.

You may find a few companies that offer Medigap plans you like. First, research each company’s history and customer reviews. Then, get an official quote from each company and ask them the same set of questions to compare their answers. Some examples include:1

  • “Do you use medical underwriting for this Medigap policy?”
  • “Do you have a waiting period for pre-existing conditions?”
  • “I’m ___ years old. What would my premium be under this Medigap policy and is the rating community, issue-age or attained-age?”
  • “Has the premium for this policy increased in the last 3 years due to inflation or other reasons?”
  • “Do you offer any discounts or additional benefits?”
  • “Can you tell me if I’m likely to qualify for the Medigap policy?”

Note: Different insurance companies may charge different amounts for exactly the same plan type, and not all insurance companies offer all of the same plans.2

4. Buy your Medicare Supplement plan.

Once you find the best plan and insurance company for your needs, apply. The insurance company must give you a clearly worded summary of your policy before you buy it. If you don’t understand any part of the policy, ask questions.

Sources

  1. “2020 Choosing a Medigap Policy: A Guide to Health Insurance for People with Medicare,” Medicare.gov, last accessed March 25, 2021, https://www.medicare.gov/Pubs/pdf/02110-medicare-medigap-guide.pdf, opens new window.
  2. “2020 Choosing a Medigap Policy: A Guide to Health Insurance for People with Medicare.”

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