There are many ways to receive your Medicare benefits and cover the leftover gaps. Some beneficiaries choose Medicare Advantage plans, and others choose to keep their Original Medicare and enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan.

Medicare Supplement health plans are designed to fill the gaps in Medicare and cover portions of the beneficiary’s cost-sharing.

Top Five Medicare Supplement Plans for 2023

  1. Plan C
  2. Plan D
  3. Plan F
  4. Plan G
  5. Plan N

When deciding on the best Medigap plan for your needs, it’s easy to choose the top plan and call it a day. Now, that would always work. But is it the best plan for you? We’ll detail the programs below and help you understand the plans so you can make the best decision for you.

Below we’ll discuss the top Medicare Supplement plans, the gaps in Original Medicare, and how to enroll in a Medigap plan.

Best Medicare Supplement Plans

Medicare can be confusing with all the different letters thrown around. Still, it’s essential to understand what they mean. First, you must realize that Medicare Supplement insurance or Medigap has “Plan” letters, and Original Medicare has “Parts.” We’re discussing the Plans and what they cover. There are 10 Medigap Plan options.

However, most Medicare beneficiaries enroll in one of the top three Medicare Supplement insurance plans. The top five Medicare Supplement plans are Plan C, Plan D, Plan F, Plan G, and Plan N.

Medicare Supplement Plan F

When it comes to filling in the gaps of Original Medicare’s out-of-pocket costs from Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B, Plan F is the long-reigning champion. It covers all of your portion of the Medicare cost-sharing. Plan F has a high deductible version called Plan HDF.

This is a good option for beneficiaries that don’t go to the doctor often but want a low maximum out-of-pocket. Unfortunately, enrollment in Plan F is only available to Medicare beneficiaries eligible before 2020.

Medicare Supplement Plan C

Medigap Plan C is a popular plan almost identical to Plan F. The only difference in coverage is that it doesn’t cover the Part B Excess Charges. Like Plan F, Plan C isn’t available to beneficiaries that are new to Medicare.

Medicare Supplement Plan G

Beneficiaries that started Medicare on or after January 1, 2020, flock to Plan G. Similar to Plan F, it covers all of your Medicare cost-sharing with only one exception. It doesn’t cover Medicare’s small calendar year Part B deductible.

Once that’s met, the coverage is identical to Plan F. The monthly premiums will usually be lower than Plan F even after you pay the Medicare Part B deductible. Plan G, like Plan F, has a high deductible plan called HDG. It works just like the HDF.

Medicare Supplement Plan D

Medigap Plan D has a similar relationship with Plan G as Plan C does with Plan F. The coverage is the same as Plan G, except the Part B excess charges aren’t covered.

Medicare Supplement Plan N

Plan N is the plan that budget-conscious beneficiaries choose. This option has a similar coverage level to Plan G, with minor differences. When you see a healthcare provider, you’ll pay a small copay of up to $20 and a $50 copay for an emergency room visit.

It doesn’t cover the Medicare Part B excess charges. The lower premiums of Plan N make this plan a desirable offer for savvy seniors.

What are the Gaps in Medicare?

When you hear the term gaps regarding Medicare, it refers to costs for which the beneficiary is responsible. These costs are all related to the cost-sharing under Original Medicare. Medicare Part A and Part B have cost-sharing such as deductibles, copays, and coinsurances. These costs are what are referred to as gaps.

Picking your Medigap policy

When choosing the correct Medicare Supplement insurance, there are a few details to consider. Still, since Medigap plans are standardized, shopping around is more manageable. Every carrier offers the same programs, so you compare the company’s price and quality once you select the plan letter for your situation.

The first thing to consider when you’re enrolling is your situation. You can choose any plan without needing medical underwriting if you’re in your Open Enrollment Period. If you’re in a Guaranteed Issue situation, you can enroll in specific plans without underwriting.

However, suppose you’re not in either of these periods. In that case, you’ll be required to undergo a health qualification process to be approved for coverage.

Once you have determined the enrollment situation, review your budget. Enrolling in a plan that’s more than you can afford doesn’t do any good. Medicare Supplement plan premiums will typically increase annually. If you start at the maximum of your budget, you could quickly find yourself looking to change plans.

Then take an honest look at your health and family health history of what runs in your genetics. If you’re healthy and don’t go to the doctor often, a Plan N is an excellent option with its lower price point. If you aren’t as healthy or have a family history of health issues, perhaps a more comprehensive plan such as Plan G would be more valuable.

What impacts the Medicare Supplement prices?

Several factors can impact your monthly premiums as well as rate increases. The most significant impacts on your monthly premium are where you live, your age, and if you use tobacco. If you need to qualify medically, this could also affect your rates. Some insurance companies will rate you up if you have specific healthcare conditions.

For rate increase, the most significant factors have to do with the financial strength of the company and the claims for the plan you choose. Let’s take a deeper look at these two situations. AM Best is a company that rates the financial strength of insurance companies.

A higher rating indicates stronger financial backing. This is important because if they were to have a bad year, they have the financials to absorb it better and not have to raise rates significantly to offset it.

Claims history is a significant factor as well. Since Plan F and Plan G, depending on when you started, Medicare can be purchased in a Guarantee Issue situation, more sick people can enroll in those plans.

Since more sick people are filing claims, the rate increases more than plans you have to get in Open Enrollment or an underwritten situation.

Plan N is a good example. Plan N can only be issued without underwriting in Open Enrollment. Since there are some small out-of-pocket costs, sick people tend not to enroll in this plan. This lowers the claims and keeps the rates more stable.

FAQs

What is the highest-rated Medicare Supplement company?

We touched on AM Best ratings above. Mutual Of Omaha has an A+ rating making it one of the top Medicare Supplement Companies. AARP Unitedhealthcare, Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and Cigna are great companies with A ratings.

Which Medicare Supplement plan is the most comprehensive?

The most comprehensive plan is Plan F. It covers the beneficiary’s portion of cost-sharing from Original Medicare. For individuals that became Medicare eligible after January 1, 2020, Plan G is the most comprehensive option.

What are the top 3 Medicare plans?

Three plans make up close to 75% of all Medigap enrollments nationwide. Most Medicare Supplement health insurance enrollments are into Plan F, Plan G, and Plan N.

What is the highest-rated Medicare Advantage Plan 2023?

Medicare Advantage plans are different from Medicare Supplement Plans. These plans take over your Original Medicare and have their cost-sharing you’re responsible for. These plans will usually include your drug coverage and additional benefits on top of Medicare’s coverage.

These Medicare Part C plans are rated by a star rating system ranging from 1 to 5 stars. Since these plans are different in every area, the 5-star plan in your area may not be the same in another area. UnitedHealthcare is the largest provider of Medicare Advantage plans nationwide.

What are the most popular Medicare Supplement plans?

The most popular Medicare Supplement plans are the same as the top three plans listed above. Most Medicare beneficiaries enroll in either Plan F, Plan G, or Plan N.

Do Medicare Supplement Plans include coverage for prescription drugs?

No. Medicare Supplement plans only cover healthcare services that are covered by Medicare Parts A and B. You’ll want to enroll in a Medicare Part D plan for prescription drug coverage.

What’s the difference between a Medigap and a Medicare Advantage plan?

Medicare Supplement plans are secondary to your Original Medicare coverage. This allows you to see any healthcare provider nationwide without needing referrals or additional authorizations.

Medicare Advantage plans are Medicare Part C. These plans offer another way to receive your Medicare benefits. These style plans are typically network-based HMO or PPO style plans. They usually include your Part D drug plan and additional benefits not offered by Original Medicare.

How to Purchase a Medicare Supplement Plan for 2023

Enrolling in the right coverage for your healthcare needs is essential, but it can be frustrating to do alone. Let one of our licensed insurance agents that specialize in Medicare help.

They can help you understand what Medicare covers and what you’re responsible for. Then help analyze your situation to ensure you have the best coverage for you.

Give us a call now, or fill out our online rate form. You’ll be connected with the best rates in your area.

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by Lindsay Malzone, Lindsay Malzone is the Medicare editor for Medigap.com. She's been contributing to many well-known publications since 2017. Her passion is educating Medicare beneficiaries on all their supplemental Medicare options so they can make an informed decision on their healthcare coverage.