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The Best Medigap Plans for Cancer Patients

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Best Overall
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Best Insurance Bundles
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Best Customer Service
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If you’re living with cancer, it’s important to remember that you’re not alone in this battle. More than two-thirds of all new cancers are diagnosed among individuals aged 60 years and older, making it a common health condition for seniors.1 Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) covers a portion of some cancer treatments. Unfortunately, without a Medigap plan, patients can be weighed down with exorbitant out-of-pocket medical expenses. It’s essential to understand your health care coverage and Medigap options. We have conducted extensive research on the best Medigap providers for seniors with cancer.

Medigap Plans for Cancer Patients

Cancer is one of the most expensive medical conditions in the U.S. This may cause older adults with cancer to face significant financial hardship. Researchers found that cancer patients on Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) without supplemental health coverage spent one-quarter of their income on out-of-pocket medical costs.2

Medigap (also known as Medicare Supplement Insurance) may be used to help offset the out-of-pocket costs associated with cancer treatment. New enrollees can choose from eight of the 10 standardized Medigap plans: A, B, D, G, K, L, M, and N.

Two Medigap plans offering comprehensive coverage to fill in the gaps, such as copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles, of Original Medicare stand out: Medigap Plan G and Plan N.

Medigap Plan G: Except for your Medicare Part B deductible, Medigap Plan G covers 100 percent of the costs for outpatient services, including doctor visits, medical supplies, and lab work. Medigap Plan G also covers blood transfusions, inpatient hospital fees, skilled nursing facility care, ambulance transportation, and hospice.

Medigap Plan N: Plan N is remarkably similar to Plan G’s coverage. However, with Plan N, you’ll be responsible for copayments up to $20 for office visits and $50 for emergency room visits that don’t result in inpatient admission. Because of these copayments, Plan N’s premiums are lower than Plan G.

Did You Know: If you live in Massachusetts, Minnesota, or Wisconsin, your state offers different Medigap standardized plans.3 Your State Health Insurance Assistance Programs (SHIPs) can assist with plan comparison.

A key difference between Plan G and N is that Plan N does not cover the Medicare Part B excess charge. The excess charge is the amount a provider can charge over the Medicare-approved amount. All of the providers that made our list offer Plans G and N, along with prescription drug plans.

Prescription Drug Plans for Cancer Patients

In addition to a Medigap plan, it’s common for people with cancer to enroll in a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan (PDP). PDPs cover most prescription medications and some chemotherapy treatments and drugs. As with Medigap plans, Part D plans are sold by private insurance companies. As a cancer patient, your annual drug costs may be high, so it is imperative that you look at all of the available plans to find the one that best meets your needs.4

Quick Tip: For a closer look at our top picks for prescription drug plans, visit our list of the best Medicare Part D plans.

Our five best Medigap plans for seniors with cancer all offer the option to add a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan. Insurance bundling helps streamline communication with your insurance provider, make premium payments, and track coverage and claims.

  • 1. Humana: Best Overall

    Overview

    Humana began in 1959 in the nursing home industry and has transformed over the past 60 years into a health care powerhouse. Humana offers nine out of the 10 Medigap plans, including Plans G and N, along with an impressive Medicare Part D prescription drug plan.

    Humana Medigap Plans*

    • Plan A
    • Plan B
    • Plan D
    • Plan G
    • High-Deductible Plan G
    • Plan K
    • Plan L
    • Plan N

    *For individuals first eligible for Medicare before 2020, Plan C, Plan F, and High-Deductible Plan F are also available.

    Ease of use Service & Response Features & Tech Pricing
    Excellent Excellent Excellent
    Please scroll to the right for more info.
    Pros
    • Instant quote provided
    • Plan-comparison tool makes it easy to view plan premiums and details
    • Prescription drug plan with copays and deductibles as low as $0 on over 900 Tier 1 and Tier 2 drugs
    • Online enrollment discount
    • Dental and vision plans
    • ID cards, claims, in-network providers, and drug pricing are available on the MyHumana app from your cell phone
    Cons
    • Plan options vary depending on your ZIP code
    • Customer service is only available Monday through Friday

    The Bottom Line

    We were impressed with Humana’s health coverage options. From Medigap and Medicare Part D prescription drug plans to dental and vision insurance, Humana offers it all. We found Humana’s website easy to navigate, and comparing plans and pricing was simple.

    Ready to learn more about Humana Medicare supplement plans and coverage? Read our in-depth review of Humana Medigap plans.

  • 2. Anthem: Best Insurance Bundles

    Overview

    Founded over 75 years ago, Anthem has a long history in the health and wellness sector. This industry leader is part of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and serves over 40 million subscribers. Anthem’s broad range of bundling options provides cancer patients with whole- body health care. In addition to offering benefit-rich Medigap Plans G and N, Anthem members have the opportunity to add on prescription drug coverage, vision, and dental plans.

    Anthem Medigap Plans*

    • Plan A
    • Plan B
    • Plan G
    • Plan N

    *For individuals first eligible for Medicare before 2020, Plan F is also available.

    Ease of use Service & Response Features & Tech Pricing
    Excellent Excellent Excellent
    Please scroll to the right for more info.
    Pros
    • They offer Medicare Part D, vision, and dental coverage.
    • Instant plan pricing is available.
    • Enrollment is easy; you can sign up online, by phone, mail, or directly with your insurance agent.
    • Their prescription search tool is user-friendly.
    • They offer a 5 percent household discount and an automatic bank withdrawal discount in some areas.
    • A SilverSneakers fitness membership is included at no additional cost.
    Cons
    • Their coverage is only available in 14 states.
    • Their plan options vary depending on your ZIP code.

    The Bottom Line

    Anthem has Medicare recipients covered with Medigap, Medicare Part D, vision, and dental plans. And, if you’re weighing Medigap vs. Medicare Advantage plans, Anthem also offers Part C coverage (explore our Anthem Medicare Advantage review for comparison). Anthem’s Part D prescription search tool makes researching cancer medication coverage and costs stress-free. If you live in an area where Anthem is offered, this provider is a solid contender for your health care needs.

  • 3. Cigna: Best Customer Service

    Overview

    In business for 225-plus years, Cigna is one of the nation’s oldest health care providers. Over 165 million customers rely on Cigna for their health insurance needs. Cigna takes service to the next level offering 24/7 year-round support. In addition to real-time assistance for Medicare supplement plans, Cigna’s Health Information Line provides valuable phone access to health advocates. Cigna’s Part D plans are offered in all 50 states, giving cancer patients access to over 63,000 pharmacies and a drug formulary that covers over 3,000 medications.

    Cigna Medigap Plans

    • Plan A
    • Plan G
    • Plan N

    *For individuals first eligible for Medicare before 2020, Plan F and High-Deductible Plan F are also available.

    Ease of use Service & Response Features & Tech Pricing
    Excellent Excellent Excellent
    Please scroll to the right for more info.
    Pros
    • Their Health Information Line provides 24/7 phone access to a health advocate.
    • Their Wellness Library has extensive information on the types of cancer, treatment options, and medical tests.
    • They have 22 U.S. service centers available 24/7 year-round for customer assistance.
    • They offer up to a 25 percent enrollment discount.
    • They offer multiple Part D prescription drug plans.
    Cons
    • The plan premium and online enrollment discounts are not available in all states.
    • Their Medicare supplement plans are not available in all ZIP codes.

    The Bottom Line

    With over two centuries in the industry, Cigna is a health care trailblazer. In addition to their Medigap plans with extensive coverage, Cigna provides outstanding customer and health advocate support. Cancer patients have access to Cigna’s Wellness Library, filled with information on cancer diagnosis and treatments. Visit our review of Cigna’s Medigap plans for an in-depth look at plan offerings, cost, and how to enroll.

  • 4. Mutual of Omaha: Best Online Experience

    Overview

    For more than a century, Mutual of Omaha has delivered health and financial solutions to customers across the United States, and they certainly aren’t new to the Medicare arena. Since Medicare’s launch in 1966, Mutual of Omaha has been providing Medigap insurance to older adults. This well-known provider offers comprehensive options for individuals with cancer, including Medigap Plans G and N, along with Medicare Part D prescription drug plans.

    Mutual of Omaha Medigap Plans*

    • Plan A
    • Plan D
    • Plan G
    • High-Deductible Plan G
    • Plan N

    *For individuals first eligible for Medicare before 2020, Plan C, Plan F, and High-Deductible Plan F are also available.

    Ease of use Service & Response Features & Tech Pricing
    Excellent Excellent Excellent
    Please scroll to the right for more info.
    Pros
    • User-friendly website, with instant plan pricing available
    • Pays 98 percent of Medicare claims within 12 hours
    • Prescription drug plan, with comprehensive coverage and a robust drug list
    • Dental, life insurance, and long-term care insurance plans
    • Up to a 12 percent household discount in most states when more than one person in your home enrolls in Medigap insurance
    • Discounts for vision and hearing
    Cons
    • Offers a limited number of plans
    • Without the household discount, rates can be pricier than other insurance providers

    The Bottom Line

    Mutual of Omaha is a trusted Medigap provider that consistently earns high marks. We were impressed with their dedication to client care and swift payment of Medicare claims. As a “mutual company,” Mutual of Omaha is owned by its policyholders, not Wall Street. For a closer look at Mutual of Omaha’s Medigap plans, head to our Mutual of Omaha review.

  • 5. AARP Medigap Plans from UnitedHealthcare: Best Coverage Options

    Overview

    Since 1958, AARP has been committed to ensuring older adults have control over how they live as they age. Two decades ago, they formed a partnership with UnitedHealthcare, one of the largest health care insurance companies in the United States, to deliver an impressive range of benefits. Like Mutual of Omaha, AARP from UnitedHealthcare offers comprehensive options for individuals with cancer, including Medigap Plans G and N, along with Medicare Part D prescription drug plans.

    AARP Medigap Plans from UnitedHealthcare*

    • Plan A
    • Plan B
    • Plan D
    • Plan G
    • Plan K
    • Plan L
    • Plan N

    *For individuals first eligible for Medicare before 2020, Plan C and Plan F are also available.

    Ease of use Service & Response Features & Tech Pricing
    Excellent Excellent Excellent
    Please scroll to the right for more info.
    Pros
    • Instant plan pricing available
    • Wide range of Medigap plans offered
    • Impressive enrollment discount of up to 39 percent
    • Prescription drug plan includes most generic and commonly used brand name drugs covered by Medicare Part D
    • UnitedHealthcare has the only Medicare Supplement plans backed by AARP
    • Discounts for vision, dental, and hearing
    • AARP website is filled with housing, health, and financial resources
    Cons
    • AARP membership is required ($16 annual membership fee)

    The Bottom Line

    With nearly 38 million members, older adults trust AARP for good reason.5 Their wide range of plans, deep discount, and experience serving adults make AARP Medigap plans from UnitedHealthcare a strong contender. We were pleased with the transparency of prescription pricing. With their prescription cost estimator, pricing common cancer drugs was straightforward. Visit our UnitedHealthcare Medigap review to learn more about this provider.

    Quick Tip: Not an AARP member? Visit our guide to AARP membership for all the details on benefits and signing up.

How We Chose the Best Medigap Providers for Cancer Patients

We evaluated 12 of the top Medigap providers using the following criteria: Medigap plans offered, availability of adding a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan, and the insurance company’s longevity in the Medicare arena. From our research, we narrowed the list to five picks. We also investigated if the provider’s website offered straightforward and easy access to plan availability and costs.

When Is the Best Time to Sign Up for a Medigap Plan?

The month you turn 65, your Medigap six-month open enrollment period begins. During this time, you cannot be charged a higher premium or denied coverage due to a pre-existing health condition (including cancer).

Did You Know: The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services provide an in-depth guide on Medicare coverage of cancer treatment services.

Unfortunately, choosing to enroll after your six-month open enrollment period has ended may be a risk as your cancer diagnosis may negatively affect your Medigap application. You may face a late-enrollment penalty, a higher monthly premium, or be denied Medigap coverage altogether.

Do Cancer Patients Need a Medigap Plan?

A recent study reported that cancer patients with only Medicare coverage face hefty out-of-pocket costs for treatment, spending nearly one-quarter of their household incomes on average.6

While Medigap plans won’t completely eliminate treatment costs, they can ease the burden, covering out-of-pocket medical expenses not covered by Original Medicare. Before any cancer treatments, it’s crucial to verify that the doctor, clinician, or group accepts Medicare. This ensures your Medicare and Medicare supplemental insurance will be properly applied.

Pro Tip: Looking to compare other top Medigap providers? Visit our list of the best Medigap providers for older adults.

Sadly, unexpected medical expenses are one of the leading causes of personal bankruptcy. Research published in the American Journal of Public Health found that over 66 percent of personal bankruptcy is due to medical debt.7 If you’re worried about paying off debts, including mounting medical debt during your retirement years, watch the video featuring our editor-in-chief, Jeff Hoyt.

Common Cancer-Related Expenses

Cancer treatment comes with a range of medical expenses. It’s essential to have a firm understanding of how your Medicare, Medigap, and Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan work together to cover the costs of your cancer treatment. Knowing what is (and what is not) covered can help you avoid unexpected financial hardships.

Cancer-related medical expenses may include:

  • Primary care and specialist office visits
  • Laboratory testing
  • Radiology imaging such as X-rays, ultrasounds, mammography, MRI, CT, and nuclear medicine scans
  • Diagnosis-based procedures, such as biopsies
  • Prescription medications
  • Hospital and surgical costs
  • Blood transfusions
  • Radiation treatment
  • Chemotherapy
  • Physical therapy
  • Transportation and lodging costs depending on where treatments are administered
  • Home care, including home health care and durable medical equipment
  • Operating room, anesthesia, and equipment expenses
Written By

Maureen Stanley

Writer & Editor

Maureen joined SeniorLiving.org with more than 10 years of experience writing in health, lifestyle, and nutrition for premium brands like General Mills, Westinghouse, and Bristol Myers Squibb. Her passion for empowering older adults is evident in coverage of topics like retirement, health… Learn More About Maureen Stanley