Original Medicare plans leave you with some bills to pay, so you may be looking for a way to fill in those gaps in your coverage. Consider these Medicare supplemental insurance comparison tips to help you find a Medigap plan that fits your needs.
Medigap plans are individual policies sold by private insurance companies with names you are probably already familiar with, such as AARP, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Aflac and Mutual of Omaha. They are known by a letter in most states, ranging from A to N, but plans E, H, I and J are no longer sold as new policies. Regardless of the company that sells them, all plans with the same letter have the same benefits even though their prices vary.
Initially, prices increased from plans A through J as benefits increased from basic to comprehensive. This continuum changed eventually. Plans K and L, for example, were added for people who expected to have few health expenses. In exchange for lower premiums, people with these plans pay a percentage of most of the gap charges up to a high out-of-pocket limit. In addition, Plan F has a low-premium, high deductible option. It is not necessarily true anymore that in your locale Plan A will be the cheapest and that as you go through the alphabet of plans the prices will increase.
Of the ten plans available, the most popular are F, G and N. Plan N has more cost sharing in the form of certain copayments in exchange for lower premiums. Plan F is the most comprehensive and is the most popular because it covers all the gaps at 100 percent automatically. With Plan G you will have a lower premium because you are responsible for the Part B deductible.
If you add up the premium savings from choosing Plan G instead of Plan F over a year’s time and subtract the deductible, which is $147 for 2013, you will still save money, in some cases hundreds of dollars. This may be worth the trouble of paying out of pocket until that deductible is satisfied.
Within each plan, prices can vary dramatically from one insurance company to the next by as much as 40 percent. For this reason, you should shop around and make a Medicare supplemental insurance comparison each year. Why pay more for the same benefits?