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Best Medigap Insurance for Seniors in 2020

Our experts have researched 16 medicare supplement insurance plans and recommend 10 of the best options for seniors.

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Top 10 Highest Ranked Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans in 2020

It can be a headache to figure out various insurance costs and coverage levels. For example, what’s covered under original Medicare, a Medigap supplement policy, a Medicare Advantage plan, a Plan D prescription drug plan, a dental plan and a vision plan? In the end, many seniors opt for Medicare Part A and Part B (together, called original Medicare) or Medicare Part C (also called Medicare Advantage). A and B cover hospital and medical insurance. Seniors pay premiums in addition to out-of-pocket expenses such as deductibles and coinsurance. Meanwhile, Part C packages A and B together, and in most cases, Part D, which covers prescription drugs. Some Part C plans also cover services such as dental, vision and hearing that original Medicare does not. Seniors may or may not have to pay Medicare Advantage premiums, but they do generally pay coinsurance and out-of-pocket charges. For seniors choosing original Medicare, enrolling in Part D is optional. Also optional is whether to find a supplemental insurance plan, called Medigap insurance. This type of policy does not cover additional services such as dental like a Part C plan might, but it does help with out-of-pocket expenses. Moreover, some Medigap plans cover most medical care costs when you travel outside of the United States. About 25 percent of seniors enrolled in original Medicare get Medigap insurance, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Others forego supplemental plans altogether, while some turn to employer-sponsored plans and Medicaid. You buy Medigap plans through private insurance companies such as these listed below. It’s also possible to find supplemental coverage from a union or a former employer.
  • Cigna - Cigna is a huge company that offers Medigap coverage in most states at competitive rates.
  • Aetna - It is fairly easy to get quotes online from this big-name insurer, and you can get prescription drug plans as well.
  • Mutual of Omaha - This insurer has a huge household discount of 12 percent and is owned by its policyholders.
  • AARP - AARP offers community-rated Medigap policies through UnitedHealthcare, and the plans are extremely popular.
  • Colonial Penn - Colonial Penn offers in-person support, which can be attractive to some seniors and make up for the higher prices.
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield - The process of finding the right Blue Cross Blue Shield insurer in your area can be confusing, even misleading, but its Medigap plans tend to be competitive.
  • UnitedHealthcare - This is the company that brands its plans with AARP.
  • Humana - The online process to get Medigap through this company is quite easy, and you can compare prices with Advantage and prescription plans.
  • Anthem - This insurer gives you a lot of information online, even listing rates for tobacco users by age and gender, and some of its rates are at great prices.
  • State Farm - State Farm’s rates can be somewhat high but possibly worth the cost to be able to meet with agents in person.

How We Chose Our Top List

Coverage matters. A lot. Unfortunately, finding the right coverage level that doesn’t break the bank can frustrate even the most patient senior. So we did the homework for you — looking at important factors like plans and pricing, signup process, customer service, flexibility, and more. Our top 10 list is the result of our in-depth research. We think you’ll agree that it’s the best online resource for finding the coverage you need.

16
Plans considered
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Experts consulted
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Plans selected
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Hours of research
  • 1. Cigna
    Ease of use Excellent
    Service & Response Excellent
    Features & Tech Excellent
    Pricing

    Overview

    Cigna is a Fortune 500 company that offers competitive Medigap insurance rates. If seniors would like coverage for prescription drugs, they can purchase a separate Cigna policy for that and streamline the number of insurers they work with.

    Pros
      • Seven percent household premium discount in most states when more than one person in your household enrolls in Medigap insurance
      • Customer service based in the United States, available via phone Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern time
      • Enrollment in Cigna Healthy Rewards program is free and can result in additional savings in areas such as weight management, massage and wellness products
    Cons
      • Not all plans are available in all states
      • Pricing methods differ from region to region
      • Offers only Plans A, F, high-deductible F, G and N
      • Process of getting online quotes can be cumbersome or impossible, depending on your state

    Pricing

    Cigna’s rates are competitive, but its pricing approach depends on state law. For example, Washington state law mandates community-rated pricing for all Medigap policies. In other words, everyone on Cigna Medigap Plan F in a certain area or ZIP code generally pays the same monthly premium regardless of their age (differences do occur due to factors such as tobacco use).

    Meanwhile, in ZIP code 24016 (parts of Virginia) for Policy F, Cigna uses attained age-related pricing. The younger you are, the less you pay for your plan.

    The Bottom Line 

    Cigna has a good reputation and an extensive reach. It offers a decent choice of Medigap plans in many areas, and seniors can pair their plan with a prescription drug plan if they want. Seniors can’t really go wrong with this company, although the process of getting specific information online isn’t too friendly.

  • 2. Aetna
    Ease of use Excellent
    Service & Response Excellent
    Features & Tech Excellent
    Pricing

    Overview

    Aetna is another big insurer offering Medigap plans, and the process of getting quotes online is a breeze. You fill out a simple form with your state, ZIP code, date of birth, gender and plan start date. You submit it, and, presto, the quotes for all available plans are listed.

    Aetna makes things even easier by including both regular rates and household-discount rates. You can also see at a glance what each plan covers. However, tobacco users should expect to pay more than these quotes, as the fine print states. The quotes also apply only during open-enrollment or guaranteed-issue periods.

    Pros
      • Offers Plans A, B, F, high-deductible F, G and N (Plan C available in Michigan)
      • Available in most states
      • Chart shows seniors how much their premiums could go up as they age
      • Process of getting online quotes is a delight
      • Seven percent household discount in most areas if your spouse or partner also has a plan, and the both of you have lived together for the past 12 months
    Cons
      • Older seniors may not like the attained-age pricing model
      • Generally does not offer one of the more popular options, Plan C (although it is being discontinued to new enrollees starting in 2020)

    Pricing

    Aetna typically uses attained-age pricing. For example, page 2 of this table gives females in certain Virginia ZIP codes an idea of what they might pay. If they enroll during open-enrollment or guaranteed issue times to get the preferred rate, a 65-year-old female pays $ 1,439 a year for Plan G while a 75-year-old pays $ 1,797. Males pay about $200 to $300 more a year than same-age females.

    The Bottom Line

    Aetna gives consumers a lot of information online, reducing the time they must spend on the phone with company personnel. Its attained-age pricing may mean that seniors end up paying significantly more as they age, but this practice is comparable with many insurers. The takeaway is to get an idea of what you’ll pay not just for the next year but for 10 or even 20 years from now.

  • 3. Mutual of Omaha
    Ease of use Excellent
    Service & Response Excellent
    Features & Tech Excellent
    Pricing

    Overview

    Mutual of Omaha, like Aetna, has an extremely easy process for getting quotes online. You fill out your information and immediately get the rates for plans F, high-deductible F, G and N. Rates are competitive, and Mutual of Omaha has a good reputation. It has offered Medicare supplemental insurance since 1966—when Medicare started.

    Pros
      • Easy online process to get quotes
      • Household discount of up to 12 percent if you reside with your spouse or have resided with an adult 60 or older for at least one year, and that person has Medigap/will get a Medigap plan along with yours
      • Ninety-eight percent of Medicare claims paid within 12 hours, according to company
      • Plans offered in all states except Massachusetts
    Cons
      • Focuses on plans F, high-deductible F, G and N

    Pricing

    Mutual of Omaha generally uses attained-age rated pricing. For example, in Virginia ZIP code 24016, a female born in 1954 would pay about $1,187 per year for Plan G without the household discount. Conversely, a female born in 1944 would pay about $1,460. It’s a difference of about $23 a month. You can do price quotes online with varying birth years to get some idea of how much your premiums could go up with Mutual of Omaha as you age.

    The Bottom Line

    Mutual of Omaha could be where you find the best price, especially if you qualify for the 12 percent household discount. This insurer has been in the Medicare supplement business since 1966 and made a name for itself as a company that looks out for its customers rather than Wall Street. It is owned by its policyholders.

  • 4. AARP
    Ease of use Excellent
    Service & Response Excellent
    Features & Tech Excellent
    Pricing Excellent

    Overview

    To get rate estimates for an AARP Medigap plan, all you have to do is key in your ZIP code. For example, eight plans show up for ZIP code 24016, and the rates assume you are turning 65 in the month shown and do not use tobacco products. In many areas such as 24016, seniors can get plans such as K and L that other insurers may not offer.

    AARP’s plans are offered by UnitedHealthcare.

    Pros
      • Eight plans offered in many areas: F, G, A, B, C, K, L and N
      • You can apply to join AARP at the same time you apply for a Medigap supplement plan
      • More flexibility to change to another Medigap plan if you qualify
      • Enrollment discount in many states of up to 30 percent starting at age 65 and decreasing 3 percent thereafter
      • Five percent household discount in most states
    Cons
      • Does not offer high-deductible Plan F
      • Premiums may be a bit more pricey than at other insurers due to the community-pricing model

    Pricing

    AARP plans can be a bit pricier than other plans. The company uses a community-rated pricing model, meaning that a 65-year-old would theoretically pay the same as a 75-year-old for the same plan in the same area. However, many AARP customers get discounts when they enroll, and the amount of the discount decreases as they age. In this respect, the pricing model is similar to age attainment.

    The monthly rates given for someone, male or female, in ZIP code 24016 in southwest Virginia include $145.76 for Plan F and $113.76 for Plan G. Meanwhile, for ZIP code 98926 in central Washington state, it’s $232.25 for Plan F and $192 for plan G. Where you live matters a lot, as is true with any insurer (the cost of living in your area, for example).

    You must be an AARP member, and the yearly fee is $16. Your spouse or partner can receive free membership with yours, and AARP membership gets you a wide variety of discounts on movie tickets, car rentals, eyewear and much more.

    The Bottom Line

    Many seniors trust AARP, and its UnitedHealthcare plans are very popular. The community pricing model means that premiums for some younger seniors may be a bit more than what they’d pay with another company, but age-related discounts help offset that.

    Furthermore, many insurers do not offer less-popular plans such as K or L while these AARP plans do. If such a plan is what you want, then AARP Medigap is a good choice. Really, it’s a good choice no matter which plan you’re thinking about. One note: High-deductible Plan F is not available.

  • 5. Colonial Penn
    Ease of use Excellent
    Service & Response Excellent
    Features & Tech Excellent
    Pricing

    Overview

    Colonial Penn focuses on life insurance for seniors. Main products are:

    • Term life insurance
    • Whole life insurance

    Term life insurance from Colonial Penn is available to applicants up to 75 years old. No medical exam is needed but maximum coverage is just $50,000.

    Colonial Penn rates increase when you reach a different age band (e.g., 51 to 55 years, or 56 to 60 years). Policies are renewable but not beyond age 89.

    Living insurance from Colonial Penn gives a 50% payout in case of serious illness.

    Whole life insurance products from Colonial Penn have flat premiums; rates will not increase. Guaranteed acceptance with a $20K limit is for applicants up to age 85. A $50K maximum is offered up to age 75.

    Pros
    • Guaranteed acceptance for term and whole-life insurance
    • No medical exams
    Cons
    • Plans expire at age 90
    • Maximum $50,000 coverage

    Pricing

    Colonial Penn issues insurance as units. You can purchase one to eight units for different levels of coverage. Instant quotes are given online.

    The Bottom Line

    Colonial Penn makes it easy for seniors to buy insurance online without medical tests. However, the coverage is low. Healthy adults could likely find more coverage for the same cost elsewhere.

  • 6. Blue Cross Blue Shield
    Ease of use Excellent
    Service & Response Excellent
    Features & Tech Excellent
    Pricing

    Overview

    Blue Cross Blue Shield is in reality a network of many smaller companies. You purchase Medigap policies from these smaller companies, and the process is not always easy. In fact, it can be misleading sometimes. For example, if you input ZIP code 98926 (central Washington) on the main Blue Cross Blue Shield page to find local carriers, you’re given one result, Premera Blue Cross. Click on that link, and you’re taken to a Medicare Advantage website. Advantage isn’t at all what you were looking for!

    For ZIP code 24016, however, the process works fine. You’re given the option of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Virginia. On its website, you re-enter the 24016 ZIP code and follow a few more steps, including filling out demographic information. Finally, you get rate estimates for the four plans available in the area: N, A, G and F.

    Pros
    • Five percent household discount in many places
    • Smaller discounts for annual lump-sum payments and automatic bank withdrawal payments
    • Many times, you can buy extra coverage such as vision or dental through the same company at the same time you purchase Medigap
    • Variety of plans available in some areas
    Cons
    • Online process can be confusing due to the number of local Blue Cross Blue Shield companies (you may even be directed to Medicare Advantage instead of to Medigap)
    • Variety of plans may be limited in some areas

    Pricing

    Ask your local Blue Cross Blue Shield insurers how they approach pricing (it’ll probably be age attainment). In general, this company is competitive enough on pricing.

    The Bottom Line

    If you’ve had good experiences with your local Blue Cross Blue Shield company and use it for other types of insurance, then enrolling with the company again for Medigap insurance may make sense.

    If you’re new to Blue Cross Blue Shield, finding a local company for Medigap may be confusing and not always possible. If you do find a company, the process of exploring your options online should be straightforward.

  • 7. UnitedHealthcare
    Ease of use Excellent
    Service & Response Excellent
    Features & Tech Excellent
    Pricing

    Overview

    UnitedHealthcare is the same company that offers the AARP plans. In fact, when you go to the UnitedHealthcare Medicare plan website and input your ZIP code, the results open under the AARP/UnitedHealthcare banner.

    Pros
    • Rate estimates are easy to get—just key in your ZIP code
    • Variety of plans should be available in your area
    • Enrollment discount in many states of up to 30 percent starting at age 65 and decreasing 3 percent thereafter
    • Five percent household discount in most states
    • Household discounts are common, as are other discounts such as Silver Sneakers
    Cons
    • Process may be confusing for seniors who don’t realize the AARP connection
    • High-deductible Plan F not offered
    • Premiums may be a bit more pricey, but the community-rated model does offer a measure of protection against rate hikes
    • Prices are competitive in some geographical areas, not competitive in others

    Pricing

    UnitedHealthcare uses a community-rated pricing model. Its prices can be competitive, depending on where you live. Compare quotes from other insurers to see just how comparable they are because in some ZIP codes, UnitedHealthcare/AARP premiums may be significantly higher.

    The Bottom Line

    UnitedHealthcare Medigap insurance is the same as AARP Medigap insurance. These plans are popular, and enrollment is easy. The insurer gets high marks for a hassle-free process, but if price is your main consideration, compare quotes from other insurers to see how competitive UnitedHealthcare’s premiums are in your area.

  • 8. Humana
    Ease of use Excellent
    Service & Response Excellent
    Features & Tech Excellent
    Pricing

    Overview

    On the Humana website, you key in your ZIP code and see what plans, including Medicare Advantage and prescription drug, are available in your area. If there are no Medigap plans, you see a note to call a licensed sales agent.

    Hopefully, though, there will be Medigap plans. For example, in ZIP code 24016, Humana offers five: A, G, F, high-deductible F and N. To get quotes, you fill out a basic form and receive the preferred rates for a nonsmoking 65-year-old female. The prices are competitive, and there is a small online-only discount. In general, the Plan G rate is $97.20 a month, or $1,166.40 a year.

    What makes the online process with Humana especially stand out is that you can compare prices at a glance for Medigap, Medicare Advantage and Part D. This is useful if you’re undecided which way to go.

    Pros
    • Easy online process to get covered
    • Small discount for online-only enrollments
    • Quotes include preferred and standard rates and rates by age and gender
    • Additional coverage in many areas available for Part D, dental and vision
    Cons
    • Some ZIP codes have limited plan choices or no choices
    • Attained-age pricing may not appeal to some seniors

    Pricing

    Humana uses attained-age pricing. For example, a 65-year-old nonsmoking female in ZIP code 24016 would pay $103.40 a month for Plan G under the preferred rate. Her 75-year-old counterpart pays $140.54.

    The Bottom Line

     Humana makes enrolling online very easy, even offering a small discount for online-only enrollments. Fortunately, additional help is stress-free to get if you need it. You can call a licensed Humana sales agent seven days a week through an 866 toll-free number. Humana also gives you the great option to enroll in prescription, dental and vision plans under the same insurer. If Humana offers the plan you want in your ZIP code, it’s worth serious consideration.

  • 9. Anthem
    Ease of use Excellent
    Service & Response Excellent
    Features & Tech Excellent
    Pricing Excellent

    Overview

    One nice thing about Anthem Blue Cross is that it doesn’t beat around the bush if it does not offer Medigap plans in your ZIP code. It’ll give you a straightforward, “We do not provide coverage in your area.” Meanwhile, many other insurers ask you to call a sales agent or to contact the company. That can be a big time waster when you’re simply trying to figure out if an insurer offers Medigap in your area.

    That aside, Anthem is great in that it lets you compare the rates for Medigap supplements in addition to Medicare Advantage and prescription drug plans. You can also view the rates for dental and vision coverage and decide if you want either or both with your plan.

    Medigap rates may be slightly lower here than at some insurers. For example, a 65-year-old female nonsmoker in the 24016 ZIP code would pay $85 a month for Plan G. A 75-year-old would pay $141.

    Pros
    • Five percent household discount
    • Small discount for electronic fund transfer monthly or paying your premium for the entire year
    • Various other discounts may be available in your area (for example, Los Angeles residents can look into a discount of $240 for the first 12 months of Plan F enrollment)
    • Downloadable PDFs show rates for tobacco users and rates broken down by age and gender
    Cons
    • Plan choices limited in some areas
    • Attained-age pricing means older seniors might find better prices with community-rated plans

    Pricing

    Anthem recalculates your age each year and adjusts your premium accordingly. Like typical insurers, it also considers factors such as ZIP code, gender, tobacco use and whether it is your open-enrollment period.

    The Bottom Line

     Anthem Blue Cross gives you a wealth of information upfront to guide your decision as to whether this should be your Medigap insurer. This level of ease and transparency is great, as is the ability to add coverage such as Plan D or vision.

  • 10. State Farm
    Ease of use Excellent
    Service & Response Excellent
    Features & Tech Excellent
    Pricing Excellent

    Overview

    If you already have a relationship with a State Farm agent for other insurance policies, you may prefer to stay with this insurer. Fortunately, you can get Medigap quotes online even if you’re not a current customer. Select your state under the State Farm “Get a Health Quote” bar, and fill out the small form.

    The rates can be a bit pricey. For example, a 65-year-old nonsmoking female in ZIP code 24016 would pay $122.82 a month for Plan G. If you’re OK with paying your quoted rate and want more information, you fill out a contact form. A State Farm agent gets in touch with you shortly. You can also find an agent in your area and call that person to initiate the process.

    Pros
    • Agents can assist you in person, online and via phone
    • Your agent may get to know you well
    • Other insurance policies available such as life insurance, homeowners, small business, renters and vehicle
    • Six plans offered in many areas: A, D, N, G, C and F
    Cons
    • No prescription drug, vision or dental plans available
    • Medigap plan prices can be somewhat higher

    Pricing

    Ask your agent which pricing method the local office uses. In many areas, if not all, attained-age pricing is used. For example, a 65-year-old female in Virginia ZIP code pays $122.82 a month for Plan G while a 75-year-old pays $177.22 a month.

    The Bottom Line

    If you already have a State Farm agent you enjoy working with, then it could be a good idea to get your Medigap policy from this insurer. Do still get quotes from at least two other insurers to ensure you’re satisfied with the premium prices you’ll pay. State Farm Medigap rates tend to be a bit pricier than those from many other insurers, so you must decide whether having history and in-person support is worth it.

What is Medigap?

 The purpose of Medigap plans is to help with costs original Medicare does not cover, and each Medigap plan applies to only one person. That said, spouses may be able to get household discounts of five to 12 percent with many insurers. Medigap plans are not Medicare Advantage plans, and they do not include dental, vision or hearing insurance nor prescription drug coverage.

In 2019, there are 10 Medigap insurance plans, each designated by a letter (Wisconsin, Minnesota and Massachusetts do things slightly differently).

Each plan is standardized. For example, the basic benefits you receive under Medigap Plan G are the same in Kentucky as in California. The chart on this Medicare website shows the various plans and the basic benefits they cover.

You must have Medicare Part A and Part B before getting a Medigap plan. After getting original Medicare, decide which Medigap plan you want (A, B, C, D, F, high-deductible F, G, K, L, M or N). Then you can use this Medigap policy search to find the companies selling the plan of your choice in your ZIP code. From there, compare the premium prices and other factors important to you, for example, customer support, in-person agents, whether you already have policies with the company or whether you can purchase additional policies such as Part D or dental insurance.

Plan F is the most popular because there are no surprises whatsoever with your medical costs. However, it’s pricey and can lead to big premium increases from year to year. It is being discontinued in 2020 for most new enrollees. Fortunately, Plan G is nearly identical and is more affordable. The big difference is that seniors on Plan G must pay their Part B deductible, which is $185 in 2019. That’s it. All the other benefits of Plan F versus Plan G are the same. Plan C is the other plan that will be discontinued in 2020 for new enrollees. Plan C does not cover excess Part B charges.

It can be tricky to change your Medigap plan once you enroll, so choose carefully. Think about potential rising premium costs down the road. Experts tend to recommend Plan G over Plan F.

The plan you pick depends on how much of the cost-sharing you’re willing to take on. All of the Medigap insurance plans 100 percent cover Medicare Part A coinsurance and hospital costs for up to 365 days after you use Medicare benefits. They cover Medicare B copayments up to varying levels. For example, all of the plans except K and L cover copayments 100 percent, with K covering 50 percent and L covering 75 percent. Other areas you may want covered include:

  • Skilled nursing facility care coinsurance
  • First three pints of blood
  • Foreign travel emergencies
  • Part A deductible
  • Part B deductible
  • Part B excess charges
  • Out-of-pocket limits

Why Should Seniors Consider Medigap Plans?

 Seniors should consider Medigap plans for these reasons:

  • Guaranteed renewable (as long as you pay your premiums on time and don’t misrepresent information on your application)
  • Medical expenses control with copays, coinsurance, deductibles and other charges
  • More flexibility to travel out of the country and have medical costs covered (under certain plans)
  • Choose any doctor or hospital that accepts Medicare

The reality is that original Medicare pays only about 80 percent of your hospitalization and medical office costs. Medigap plans help keep your costs predictable.

Medicare Advantage plans can be an option, with some covering “extras” such as dental and prescription and some requiring no monthly premiums. However, you could be hit with high out-of-pocket expenses.

How Much Do Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans Cost?

Medigap plan costs come down to several factors, notably the following:

  • Whether it is your open-enrollment period
  • Whether you’ve paid premiums on time
  • The particular insurer
  • Your age, gender, tobacco use in the past 12 months and ZIP code
  • The plan itself (generally, the more things a Medigap policy covers, the higher the premium is—so F costs more than A)

Open enrollment is typically the best time to get a plan. It starts the month you turn 65 and lasts six months. During this period, you get what insurers call the “preferred” rate regardless of any pre-existing conditions you may have. Enroll outside of this period, and you may have to pay “standard” rates. It’s also possible for your application to be rejected if you seek Medigap outside of open enrollment.

Now, if you’re waiting to enroll in Medicare Part B and Medigap because you have a spouse whose insurance covers you, you can still have an open-enrollment period for Medigap past your 65th birthday. It begins when the employer’s coverage ends (for example, if your spouse retires).

There’s also something called guaranteed issue in which insurers must give you Medigap coverage even if your open enrollment period has ended. In short, open enrollment can affect your plan’s cost but does not necessarily do so.

Your protections are stronger in these four states: Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine and New York. For example, New York has continuous enrollment.

Open enrollment aside, your ZIP code may be the biggest factor in how much you pay because of cost-of-living variations and clusters of senior citizen communities. For example, if you live in Miami, Florida, you’ll pay significantly more than you do if you live in Fort Worth, Texas. In such cases, you may save money by going with a Medicare Advantage (Part C) Plan instead of getting Medigap insurance.

As for your age, it really is a big factor. Insurers in many states use attained-age policies. The younger you are, the less you pay. However, some insurers such as AARP/UnitedHealthcare use a community-based approach. Premiums under such plans can still increase from year to year due to factors such as inflation.

In eight states (Arkansas, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Vermont and Washington) insurers must use community ratings. These insurers can still charge different rates depending on tobacco use, ZIP code and other factors. They cannot charge more for someone who is older or sicker.

With Mutual of Omaha’s attained-age rated pricing in Virginia ZIP code 24016, a female born in 1954 would pay about $1,187 per year for Plan G without the household discount. Conversely, a female born in 1944 would pay about $1,460.