By Christian Worstell
The most popular Medicare Supplement Insurance plan is Medigap Plan F, according to 2015 statistics from America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP).1 Plan F accounts for 57% of all Medigap policies in 2015.
Medigap Plan C, Plan G and Plan N are the next most popular Medicare Supplement Insurance plans, each respectively accounting for 8% of all Medigap policies in 2015.
The table below ranks the 2015 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**|
|*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.
Why are these plans the most popular?
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.
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.”2
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 2012 to 2015. 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|
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.