The most popular Medicare Supplement Insurance plan is Medigap Plan F, according to 2014 statistics from America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP). Plan F accounts for 56% of all Medigap policies in 2014.

Medigap Plan C is the second most popular Medicare Supplement Insurance plan, accounting for 10% of all Medigap Medigap policies in 2014.

The table below ranks the 2014 popularity of the 10 Medigap plan options currently available for purchase in most states. These options are standardized everywhere except Minnesota, Massachusetts, and Wisconsin, which have different options.

Popularity Ranking* Plan Name Total Enrollment in 2012 Share of Total**
1 F 6,008,216 56%
2 C 1,064,386 10%
3 N 761,495 7%
4 G 697,682 6%
5 B 346,086 3%
6 D 213,572 2%
7 A 165,483 2%
8 K 58,166 1%
9 L 45,571 0.5%
10 M 995 0.5%
*Information is based on AHIP statistics. **The percentages in this column do not add up to 100% because discontinued plans (Plans E, H, I, and J) and waiver states (Massachusetts, Minnesota and Wisconsin) are not included.

The least popular Medigap plans are cost-sharing plans, such as Plan K and Plan L, and newer plans, such as Plan M.

Reasons for Medigap plan popularity

There are several reasons why consumers choose certain Medigap plan options over others.

The most popular Medigap plans — Plan C and Plan F — are the most benefits-rich plans in the Medicare Supplement insurance market. Plans F and C are often called “first-dollar coverage” Medigap plans because each covers all of the Medicare deductibles and co-insurance.

Although first-dollar coverage Medigap plans are the most popular, some beneficiaries choose other plan options with fewer benefits, likely because these plans tend to be cheaper. Plans with limited benefits, such as Plan A and Plan B, can offer lower premium costs than other plans.

Some beneficiaries choose a Medigap plan based on benefits or price, but other times it is a combination of these and other factors. In a 2013 report, the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) said that it is “not entirely clear how beneficiaries choose among Medigap plans, whether they are motivated mainly by low premiums, a comfort level with a brand, or some combination of factors.”

KFF did elaborate that the standardization of benefits helps beneficiaries compare and contrast various Medigap benefits and premiums between different plans.

Another reason why certain plans are more popular than others is due to plan availability. In most states, insurance companies can offer a range of the 10 available Medigap plans. Some insurers offer the bare minimum Plan A, while others offer nearly all Medigap plans. For example, the KFF report found that Plan A was offered by 86% of insurance companies while only 9% offered Plan M.

Changes in Medicare Supplement Insurance plan popularity

Medigap plans fluctuate in popularity from year to year. The AHIP report tracked enrollment changes from 2011 to 2014. The table below details AHIP statistics regarding the enrollment figures and percent changes during that time period.

Plan Name Total Enrollment – 2011 Total Enrollment – 2014
A 186,941 165,483
B 430,173 346,086
C 1,307,991 1,064,386
D 289,196 213,572
F 4,604,164 6,008,216
G 356,444 697,682
K 40,832 58,166
L 69,896 45,571
M 596 995
N 265,854 761,495

Medicare beneficiaries can enroll in any available Medigap plan, regardless of its popularity. Despite this, is it helpful to review the options and reasons why hundreds of thousands or even millions of people choose one plan over another.