The Best Medicare Supplement Plans for 2021

 

For many seniors, Medicare is a valuable health plan that can help them pay for the healthcare services that they need. Unfortunately, it is not enough to cover all healthcare costs that they are likely to face later in life.

Unexpected medical expenses can hurt your finances. For that reason, many seniors choose to obtain supplemental plans to prepare them for any illnesses that lie ahead.

To help them deal with unexpected costs, Medicare designed the Medicare Supplement health plan. This health plan is not sold by Medicare itself. Rather, you can purchase it from private health insurance companies. In this article, we’ll look at the best Medicare supplement plans for 2021.

When you choose one of these plans, you will pay a monthly premium. Any of the Supplement plans can lower your out-of-pocket expenses. They can handle copays, hospital stays, deductibles, as well as doctor’s visits.

Depending on your medical needs, you can find a plan that can handle international healthcare, as well as skilled nursing care. Medicare understands that every senior has different coverage needs. For that reason, it designed different plans.

Unfortunately, with so many options to choose from, it makes it difficult for you to find the right coverage. It can be challenging to determine the best Medicare Supplement that fits your medical needs.

To make it easier for you to decide, we provided a guide here that explains the best Medicare Supplement companies in the US. In this guide, you will find information about the carrier’s plans, customer service practices, models and extra benefits.

You may use this guide to help you narrow down your choices so you can find the best plan. Our buyer’s guide at the bottom of this page will give you more insight into Supplement plans.

 

Medicare Supplement Plans – The Basics

Medicare Supplement plans are a type of health insurance. Thus, there are some terms that you may find confusing. In this section, you will understand what every plan and carrier offers.

Insurance is Private: Medicare is a federal program. However, Medicare Supplement plans are only sold by private companies and not by the government. But Medicare regulates all Supplement plans. Every insurance carrier can decide the list of plans it will offer.

Eligibility: Medicare Supplement plan is only accessible by seniors with Original Medicare. However, if you have Part C or Medicare Advantage plans, then you cannot purchase any of the Supplement plans because of overlapping issues.

Standard Plans: All Supplement plans are standardized. It means that they offer the same basic benefits no matter where you purchase them. However, some carriers can offer you extra benefits. The available Supplement plans are the following: A to D, F to G, K to N. If you are planning to purchase Plan A, for instance, this plan will have the same benefits as Plan A being offered by other carriers. However, if you live in Minnesota, Massachusetts or Wisconsin, the standard plans are different from other parts of the country.

Regarding plans C and F, though, they are only available to current subscribers. They are no longer open to new registrants since January 2020. If you have these plans already, you can still renew them.

 

Medigap: Medicare Supplement is also known as Medigap. Some insurance companies are using either of the terms. Other carriers are using MSI instead of Supplement or Medigap.

 

Plan Types: One plan is available in different variants, like select, high-deductible, and innovative. Medicare designed these plans but insurance companies managed to offer these variants.

  • High Deductible: It is a type of plan with a lower monthly premium and a higher out-of-pocket spending cap.
  • Select Plans: If you have a Medicare plan, you can visit any doctor without a referral. However, the physician should accept Medicare. On the other hand, if you have a Select type of plan, you can visit a smaller network of pre-approved doctors and facilities. The premiums on this type of plan are lower than the regular policy.
  • Innovative: An innovative plan of a certain Medicare Supplement has higher premiums than the standard plan. But it includes extra benefits like vision and dental coverage.

 

Prescription Medicines: Unfortunately, Medicare Supplement plans do not include prescription medication. If you want a plan with drug coverage, you should add Medicare Part D to your Supplement plan.

 

Pricing Structures: Medicare Supplement Plans have three pricing structures. These structures will impact your policy costs. The insurance company that provides your plan will determine the structure based on state laws. These pricing structures would include:

  • Community Rated: This pricing structure means that the monthly premiums are the same for all individuals who live in a certain area, no matter their age. But gender, tobacco use, and other factors can still affect the overall cost of your plan.
  • Attained Age: If the plan is using an attained age pricing, it means that the age when you first sign up for at 65 will determine your plan’s cost. However, as you get older, the premium increases. In that case, as you get older, your premium also becomes more expensive.
  • Issue Age: The age when you first buy the policy will determine your plan’s cost. However, it does not increase every year.

 

 

 

How We Chose the Best Medicare Supplement Insurance Companies? 

In the US, there are a multitude of insurance providers that sell Medicare Supplement plans. To help you narrow down your choices, we assess these factors:

 

Variety of Plans Offered

There is a myriad of private insurance companies that sell Medicare Supplements. However, only a few of them are offering all 10. Our search for the best MSI companies will include those that offer most of the available plans. They are insurers that can offer their subscribers great options so they can find a plan that perfectly fits their needs.

Number of States Served

You can find many insurance companies that only offer MSI in some states. The companies we highlighted here serve most of the states in the US. However, they don’t offer all plans in all places.

Company Integrity

Health insurance is a vital purchase. That’s why you must only choose a carrier that you can trust. For that reason, the featured companies here are reliable with a long history of offering their subscribers with the best health options. As we evaluate the company’s integrity, we look at some factors, such as customer reviews, Better Business Bureau (BBB) and awards won.

 

 

Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose Medicare Supplement Insurance 

Medicare Supplement Insurance is a vital investment. That’s why you need to choose the right option. Unfortunately, sifting through the variety of options can be an overwhelming task. Various insurance companies offer you a wide list of supplement plans plus other policies. But we are here to help you out. We will give you some steps you can follow to determine whether or not you need an MSI. If you do, then you can proceed to other steps that will help you find the right carrier that offers the perfect plan.

 

Are you Eligible? 

medicare supplement insuranceNot all seniors can take advantage of this plan. One of the main requirements is that you need to have active Original Medicare, which consists of Part A and B. Now if you have a traditional Medicare but you own a Medicare Advantage or Part C plan, then you cannot purchase a Medicare Supplement Insurance. You must drop the Part C before you can obtain one of the Medigap plans. Seniors would purchase an Medicare Supplement plan if they want to add coverage to their health plans. With additional coverage, you can protect your finances from unexpected healthcare expenses. Indeed, you will have to pay for an additional monthly premium. Any Supplement plan will cover your copayments and deductibles.

It means lower out-of-pocket expenses should you need to undergo a medical service. Keep in mind that any medical expenses can easily strain your finances, especially if you did not plan for them. With a Supplement plan, you can have peace of mind knowing that most of your out-of-pocket expenses left by Original Medicare are covered.

 

Which Medigap Plan is Best for You?

After determining if you need an Medigap plan, the next step you must take is to evaluate your medical needs. In that way, you can find the right to cover those needs. You should also evaluate your financial situation before you decide on the kind of plan to sign up for. If you are in good health, you don’t need extensive coverage. In that case, plans A, K or L might be the most suitable option. These plans offer basic coverage and the monthly premiums are the lowest compared to Plans C, G, and F.  You may visit Medicare’s official website to help you better understand what each Medicare supplement plan in 2021 covers. If you wish to obtain lower monthly premiums, you may consider Select versions. They are Supplement plans that let you choose providers from a pre-approved list.

 

What other Services are Available in 2021?

Additional services may not affect your decisions. However, they are worth considering. For instance, if you are taking a lot of prescription medicines, then having a Part D plan can be useful as it can take care of your medications. Furthermore, you may consider purchasing a Medigap plan from an insurance provider that offers hearing, dental and vision insurance options. In that way, there is no need for you to go to another carrier just to purchase such coverage. Some insurance providers may provide member benefits. These benefits will depend on the company that offers them. For example, an insurance carrier offers wellness products and gym memberships when you sign up for one of its MSI plans. Other insurance carriers include wellness coaching and telehealth that lets you talk to a nurse for medical advice.

These member benefits are not essentials. However, they make your plan more valuable.

 

Compare Medicare Supplement Rates

After knowing what your coverage needs are, you can now start comparing one company to another. To do that, you need to obtain quotes. We recommend requesting quotes from three different providers before you make a final decision. You can request quotes online.

However, if you want to verify some things, you need to consider calling the provider’s agents. Calling their customer support team will also help you assess whether or not it is responsive. How the team answers your inquiries can also help you resolve whether you want to work with those people.

As you compare quotes, you may also look for discounts. Keep in mind that some providers don’t promote their discounts. The reason for this is that they only give discounts to those eligible people. For instance, you may be qualified to get a discount from your plan if another person in your household is getting coverage through the same company.

You may also get discounts if you don’t smoke or choose to have automatic payments. And if you choose to pay your premiums for the entire year, then discounts may also be given. You should also assess the services of the company. For instance, does it have local agents to process your requests or does the company have an online portal where you can view your policy information or make payments?

It is also ideal that you evaluate the company’s website and assess whether it is comfortable to use it. Keep in mind that if you choose such a company, you will be using its website more often when tracking your claims or paying your premiums.

 

 

medicare supplement plan f

 

 

Don’t Miss Open Enrollment

Once you have chosen the plan that can give you adequate coverage, you should only sign up for it during your open ennoblement period. This period starts three months before your 65th birthday. If you missed it, you will have another three months after the said birthday. You must sign up during open enrollment to get a low cost on the plan. Furthermore, no insurance provider can deny you coverage because of your pre-existing medical condition.

 

Understanding Medicare Supplement Plans in 2021

Medicare Supplement plans are regulated. It means that the carriers offering them must follow the federal and state laws. The laws are provided to protect consumers. And one way to do that is to offer each plan the same basic benefits no matter where you purchase the plan. Although each plan will have the same coverage, carriers can provide additional perks. They allow you to pick a plan that meets your individual coverage needs.

Insurance carriers can decide what Supplement plans to offer. However, the carriers must follow the state laws, which will affect the list of plans being offered in your area. Indeed, insurance providers are not mandated to offer all 10 Supplement plans. However, they are required to offer Plan A.

Medicare Supplement Plans Comparison Chart 2021

 

Medicare supplement plans comparison chart 2021

 

 

Medicare Plan A

All insurance companies that sell Medicare Supplement Insurance plans must offer Plan A. Thus, this plan is the most common and it has the lowest monthly premium. Plan A covers the following medical expenses:

 

Medicare Part A coinsurance, as well as the cost of inpatient hospital care up to 365 days after Medicare has been used up.

Part A copayments and hospice care coinsurance

Medicare Part B copayment

First three pints of blood (Original Medicare will cover the rest.)

Medicre Plan B

It has nearly the same coverage as Part A. However, this plan also covers Part A deductibles, which are not included under Plan A.

 

Medicare Plan C

It is one of the highest coverage plans that can cover several medical expenses. These would include the following

 

Part A deductible and Part B deductible

Part A palliative or hospice medical care copay and coinsurance

Part A coinsurance and inpatient care up to 365 days after Original Medicare benefits stop paying.

Coinsurance for inpatient rehab center

Transport to a foreign country for emergency medical procedures. Plan C covers up to 80% of the overall costs.

Plan C gives you wide coverage. However, it is no longer available to new subscribers as of January 1, 2020. If you don’t have Plan C yet, then you cannot sign up for it. However, if you have this plan already before January 1, 2020, then you can continue renewing it and using this plan.

 

Medicare Plan D

It covers nearly the same items being covered by Plan C. However, it doesn’t include Part B deductibles. Because Plan C is no longer accessible and available to new subscribers, it is a great alternative if you seek the same level of overage as Plan C.

 

Medicare Plan F 

If you are looking for a full-coverage plan, then Plan F is the best option. It covers the following medical expenses:

 

Part A and part B deductibles

Part A coinsurance and inpatient fees of up to extra 365 days when Medicare benefits have been fully consumed.

Part B copay or coinsurance

Part B excess charges (if you go to a medical facility or visit a doctor’s office that doesn’t accept Medicare)

First 3 pints of blood usage

Coinsurance for inpatient rehabilitation facility

Foreign travel cost up to 80% coverage

 

Unfortunately, plan F is no longer available. Medicare discontinued this plan since January 1, 2020. The only seniors who can access it are the ones who had this plan before it has been terminated. That is, if you were a subscriber to Plan F before January 1, 2020, you can still renew this plan.

 

Medicare Supplement Plan G (A great choice for 2021!)

It offers nearly the same coverage as Plan F. However, it doesn’t include Part B deductibles. But the yearly deductibles of Part B can be easily paid using your own money. With that in mind, Plan G is a great alternative to Plan F if you want a full coverage policy. It is cheaper than Plan F.

 

Medicare Plan K 

It is another popular plan with a low premium but high coverage. It covers Part A coinsurance. It also includes the fees in inpatient care after Medicare benefits stop. Furthermore, it offers 50% coverage to the following expenses:

 

Part A palliative care copay and coinsurance

Part A deductible

Part B coinsurance and copay

First 3 pints of blood use during a surgical operation

Coinsurance for inpatient rehab

 

Plan K is also an alternative option if you wish a high-coverage plan that doesn’t cost a lot, unlike Plan F and C. Effective 2020, this plan will have an out-of-pocket spending maximum of $5,880. When you reach that maximum, your plan will give you 100% coverage for those approved expenses.

 

Medicare Plan L

The coverage is similar to Plan K. However, it has more coverage. That is, you get full coverage for Part A coinsurance and hospitalization costs up to 365 days when the Medicare benefits stop. Then, it covers 75% coverage for the following expenses:

First three pints of blood

Coinsurance for inpatient rehab facility

Part B copay or coinsurance

Part A deductible

 

In 2020, Medicare implements maximum out-of-pocket spending of $2940 under this plan. When you satisfy this amount, your plan will start covering those approved expenses 100%.

 

Medicare Plan M

It is not a high-coverage plan. However, It gives coverage to the following expenses:

 

First three pints of blood

Coinsurance for skilled nursing healthcare facility

Part A hospice care copay and coinsurance

Part A coinsurance

Part A inpatient costs up to 365 days when the Original Medicare benefits halt

 

This plan will give you 50% coverage for your yearly Part A deductibles while covering you 80% for healthcare expenses when you need to undergo medical treatment in a foreign country.

 

Medicare Plan N

This plan is similar to Plan M. But there are some minor differences. For instance, it covers Part A coinsurance and hospitalization costs of up to another 365 days after Medicare benefits stop. For Part B coinsurance, though, the coverage is not 100%. Rather, you will pay between $20 and $50 copays.

 

But it gives you 100% coverage for the first three pints of blood, as well as Part A hospice care copayments and coinsurance. It also handles Part A deductibles and skilled nursing coinsurance.

 

It also pays 80% of the healthcare expenses accumulated when you need to go to a foreign country for medical treatment.

 

Coverage in States with Special Rules in 2021

Medicare Supplements are standard in almost all states. But there are special states that the standardization is quite different.

These special states would include Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Massachusetts. Every state has requirements that can differ from the plans commonly used in the country. It has its list of Basic coverage that every plan must provide.

 

Massachusettes 

The basic benefits in this state would include:

 

Medicare Part A coinsurance payments for inpatient care up to another 365 years after the traditional Medicare benefits have been fully used.

Medicare Part B copay and coinsurance

First 3 pints of blood per year

Part A palliative copay and coinsurance

 

In this state, you will find two Supplement plans.

 

Core Plan 

It is the most straightforward Medigap plan in this state. It includes coverage for all basic expenses. The core plan includes coverage for inpatient care for up to 60 days in mental health institutions. It also includes state-mandated benefits, like mammograms and yearly Pap tests.

 

Supplement 1 Plan 

If you want additional Supplement coverage, you may take this plan that covers the following expenses:

 

Basic Benefits 

Part A hospital deductible for inpatient

Part A inpatient rehab or nursing facility coinsurance

Part B yearly deductibles

120 days of hospital care in mental health institutions per calendar year

Medical costs during foreign travel

 

Wisconsin 

These are the basic benefits:

 

Part A coinsurance for hospitalization and Part B coinsurance for healthcare expenses

First 3 pints of blood

Part A hospice care copay

 

The Basic Plan would include the Basic benefits, skilled nursing facility coinsurance, 40 extra home healthcare visits, and 175 days of inpatient mental health coverage on top of Medicare’s benefits. It also includes all benefits mandated by other states.

 

 

medicare supplement plans 2019

 

 

Medicare Cost-Sharing Plans 

To get more coverage, you may choose a cost-sharing plan. It is similar to Plans K and L. The cost-sharing plans will cover 25% or 50% of some Medicare-approved expenses. You can also find a high-deductible plan.

 

Some Optional Riders

Some carriers in Wisconsin allow you to add riders to further customize your plan. They would include the following:

 

Part A and B deductibles, Part B excess charges, copay and coinsurance

50% Part A yearly deductible

Extra home health care

Foreign travel medical expenses

 

Minnesota 

The Basic Benefits will include the following expenses:

 

Part A coinsurance if you are hospitalized

Part B coinsurance for your healthcare expenses

First 3 pints of blood per year

Part A hospice or palliative healthcare

Parts A and B home health care services with supplies cost-sharing

 

Basic Plan 

It includes all basic benefits, with 100 days of healthcare in a skilled nursing facility.

Up to 80% of foreign medical travel costs

50% outpatient costs for mental health care

20% for physical therapy costs

All preventive care services approved by Medicare.

All benefits mandated by all states, like routine cancer screening, diabetic equipment, as well as immunizations.

 

Extended Plan

This plan includes all basic benefits, Part A deductible for inpatient hospital deductible and Part B yearly deductibles. Other expenses being covered are the following:

 

120 days in a nursing care facility

50% outpatient care in a mental healthcare facility

80% of foreign travel costs with out-of-pocket limits of $1,000

Preventive care services

20% for PT costs

80% of medical coverage in a different country with a $1,000 out-of-pocket limit.

All state-required benefits, like routine cancer screening, immunization, and many others

 

Riders 

In Minnesota, there are high-deductible versions for F, K, L, M, and N. Some insurance providers will offer riders that you can add to your basic plan. They would include the following:

 

Part B yearly deductibles

Part A inpatient deductibles

Customary fees

Non-Medicare preventative medical care costs

 

Frequently Asked Questions about Medicare Supplement Plans

 

When is the Best Time to Purchase Medicare Supplement Insurance? 

The best time to purchase a Medicare supplement plan is during the open enrollment period. This will be a six-month period within your 65th birthday. During this period, you can enroll in any plan. No insurance providers can deny you coverage for your pre-existing condition. They also can’t charge you more because of your medical disease.

 

That’s why you must take advantage of this period to get lower monthly premiums and guaranteed approval. If you purchase a Medicare supplement plan after this period, you will face higher monthly premiums and your coverage might be denied.

 

What is the Cost for Medicare Supplement Plans in 2021?

It varies depending on your location. But the overall cost will also depend on the coverage level, age, gender and whether or not you use tobacco. Of course, if you are a smoker, your monthly premium will be higher than the premiums of individuals who don’t smoke.

 

Because of several factors that can affect Medicare supplement plan’s coverall cost, it can be difficult to give you an accurate number. But you can find a plan that will only cost less than $100 a month. However, this type of plan is basic. It means that it has high out-of-pocket expenses.

 

You may also subscribe to plans that can have $1,000 monthly premiums. These plans can give you maximum coverage. For that reason, you must obtain quotes from various health insurance companies before you make a final pick.

 

medicare supplement plans 2019

 

 

Is Medicare Supplement Insurance Mandatory? 

Medicare Supplement Insurance is an optional health plan. However, Original Medicare does not cover 100% of your medical expenses. If you are in good health, then the traditional Medicare may be enough. But you can’t be sure of your future. Keep in mind that any unexpected medical costs can easily cause financial strain. That’s why many seniors, even though they are healthy, are getting more coverage.

 

Can I Get Savings from Obtaining Medicare Supplement Insurance? 

Some health insurance companies offer discounts for their Medicare Supplement Insurance plans. For instance, if you are a non-smoker, you can get small discounts. If you live with another senior with coverage from the same company, then you can get discounts as well. You should perform comparison shopping to know which companies are offering discounts to their Medicare supplement plans in 2021.