Which Medigap Plans Are Most Popular?
The most popular Medicare Supplement Insurance plan is Medigap Plan F, according to 2019 statistics from America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP).1
Plan F accounted for 55% of all Medigap policies.
However, Plan F (along with Medigap Plan C) is not available to Medicare beneficiaries who became eligible for Medicare on or after January 1, 2020.
If you became eligible for Medicare before Jan. 1, 2020, you may still be able to enroll in Plan F or Plan C if they are offered where you live.
If you already had Plan F or Plan C, you will be able to keep it after 2020.
Below, Medicare expert John Barkett weighs in on these changes:
Medigap Plan F vs. Plan G vs. Plan N vs. Plan C
According to the 2019 report, in 2017:
13% of Medigap beneficiaries were enrolled in Plan G
10% of Medigap beneficiaries were enrolled in Plan N
6% of Medigap beneficiaries were enrolled in Plan C
The table below ranks the 2017 popularity of the 10 Medigap plan options currently available for purchase in most states.
These plans are standardized everywhere except Minnesota, Massachusetts, and Wisconsin, which have different options.
|Popularity Ranking*||Plan Name||Total Enrollment in 2017||Share of Total**|
|*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.|
Is Medigap Plan F the Best?
There are several reasons why consumers choose certain Medigap plan options over others.
Plan F is the most popular Medicare Supplement insurance plan, and Plan C is also very popular. These are both 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.
What Do the Most Medicare Supplement Plans Cost?
Although first-dollar coverage Medigap plans are the most popular, some beneficiaries may choose other plans based on their premiums and costs that they cover.
The chart below shows the average cost of each Medicare Supplement Insurance plan premium per month in 2018.2
The chart below illustrates the average cost of each type of Medicare Supplement plan in 2019.
* Medigap Plan J was discontinued for new enrollees in 2010. Only beneficiaries who enrolled in the plan prior to that time may be currently enrolled in Plan J.
How Do Medicare Supplement Companies Determine Plan Costs?
Medicare Supplement Insurance companies can charge different premiums for policies depending on a number of factors, including age and location.
Monthly premiums can change over time, especially if you purchase a plan that factors your age into its pricing strategy.
Ask a licensed insurance agent about how the company determines its rates before you purchase a plan. Medigap policies can be priced in one of three ways:
Also called no-age-rated, these policies cost the same amount for everybody on that particular type of Medigap plan, regardless of how old you were when you bought it. Older people are not charged more per month with these plans.
Premiums are lower for younger buyers of these types of Medicare Supplement Insurance plans, as they are priced according to when you purchase the policy (or when the policy was issued to you). Your monthly premium is determined at the start of your policy and does not continue to go up over time due to age.
With these plans, premiums always correspond to your current age (or the age you have “attained”). Premiums increase over time to reflect the increased risk to the insurer as you get older. These may start out relatively inexpensive, but they often become the most expensive Medigap plans over time.
Note: Premiums can always go up over time due to inflation or other factors, regardless of the company’s pricing structure.
Why Should I Compare Medicare Supplement Plans?
Comparison shopping is important because two different insurance companies could charge you a different price for a plan with the same benefits.
For example, every Plan C policy provides the same benefits, but two insurers may charge you very different prices for a Plan C policy.
Comparing plan prices from multiple insurance carriers helps ensure that you get a competitive rate for the plan you want.
Changes in Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan Popularity
Medigap plans fluctuate in popularity from year to year. The AHIP report tracked enrollment changes from 2014 to 2017.
The table below details AHIP statistics regarding the enrollment figures and percent changes during that time period.
|Plan Name||Total Enrollment - 2014||Total Enrollment - 2017|
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.
Enrolling in a Medigap Plan
If you enroll in Medigap during your Medigap open enrollment period (the six months after you are at least age 65 and enrolled in Medicare Part B), insurance companies cannot refuse to sell you a Medigap policy or charge you more for a plan based on your health history.
Some people who are under 65 are also eligible for Medicare and Medigap, such as people with End-Stage Renal Disease or other qualifying disabilities. However, you don’t have the same blanket guaranteed-issue rights that pertain to people over 65.
The easiest way to compare Medigap plans and rates in your area is with the help of a licensed insurance agent. Agents can answer questions and help you find the right plan for your needs.
Find Medigap plans in your area.Compare plans
1 State of Medigap 2019. (May, 2019). AHIP. Retrieved from www.ahip.org/wp-content/uploads/IB_StateofMedigap2019.pdf.
2 TZ Insurance Solutions LLC internal sales data, 2019. This data is based on the Medicare Supplement Insurance policies TZ Insurance Solutions LLC has sold. It is not a comprehensive national average of all available Medicare Supplement Insurance plan premiums.
Christian Worstell is a health care and policy writer for MedicareSupplement.com. He has written hundreds of articles helping people better understand their Medicare coverage options.