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Best Medigap Plans for Low-Income Seniors

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Best Value
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Best Member Support
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Best Nationwide Availability
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Proper health care should never be a luxury. Unfortunately, some older adults struggle to pay for medical costs. Medicare supplement plans, also known as Medigap, are designed to fill in the gaps Original Medicare doesn’t cover. You may experience sticker shock, as some Medigap plans cost hundreds of dollars each month. The good news is not all plans will break the bank! There are budget-friendly options, as well as federal and state cost assistance programs, to help ensure your health and wellbeing remain a priority.

Which Medigap Plans Are the Most Affordable for Low-Income Seniors?

Before we take a deep dive into the specifics of our top carriers, below is a highlight of some of the most popular Medigap plans for older adults on a limited income.

High-deductible and cost-sharing Medigap plans are popular with low-income older adults, as these options have lower monthly premiums. Keep in mind, while these Medigap plans cost less each month, the deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance not paid by Medicare can add up, especially if you have a chronic illness or other medical condition.

As you research the best Medigap plan to meet your health care needs (without putting a strain on your finances), take time to explore these plans with lower premiums:

  • High-Deductible Plan G
  • Plan K
  • Plan L
  • Plan N

*High-Deductible Plan F is another plan with a low premium. However, it is not available to new beneficiaries who became eligible for Medicare on or after January 1, 2020.

  • 1. Humana - Best Value

    Overview

    Founded in 1959, Humana established its foundation in the nursing home business. Fast-forward to the present day, and Humana has skyrocketed into a health care industry frontrunner. Humana offers several budget-friendly options for low-income seniors, including Medigap plans K, L, and N, along with High-Deductible Plan G. For those needing an affordable Medicare Part D prescription drug plan, Humana’s value plan delivers.

    Humana Medigap Plans*

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

    *Plan C, Plan F and High-Deductible Plan F also have low premiums. However, they are not available to new beneficiaries who became eligible for Medicare on or after January 1, 2020.

    Humana Prescription Drug Plan

    Humana offers one lower-cost prescription drug plan:

    • The Humana Walmart Value Rx Plan has an affordable monthly plan premium ($23 on average). It covers 3,600 different prescriptions at more than 9,000 preferred cost-sharing pharmacies nationwide.
    Ease of use Service & Response Features & Tech Pricing
    Excellent Excellent Excellent
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    Pros
    • Carries lower premium Medigap plans
    • Instant quote provided
    • Plan-comparison tool makes it easy to view plan details, including premiums, deductibles, and limits for covered services
    • Online enrollment discount
    • Offers dental, prescription, and vision plans
    • The MyHumana mobile app makes it simple to access ID cards, claims, in-network providers, and drug pricing right from your cell phone
    Cons
    • Plan options vary depending on your ZIP code

    The Bottom Line

    We were impressed with Humana’s competitive rates and wide range of wallet-friendly health coverage options. In addition to Medigap and Medicare Part D prescription drug plans, Humana offers dental and vision plans, making it a one-stop shop for your health care needs. The website was easy to navigate, and comparing plans and pricing was straightforward. We loved that customer service was a phone call away.

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

  • 2. Anthem - Best Member Support

    Overview

    Since 1929, Anthem has been a champion of quality health care at an affordable price. Part of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, Anthem’s Medigap plan offerings include Plan N, which may be ideal for those with limited financial resources. In addition to Anthem’s Medigap plans, policy discounts, and add-on benefits, we found this carrier’s member support to go above and beyond.

    Anthem Medigap Plans*

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

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

    Anthem Prescription Drug Plan

    Anthem offers one lower-cost prescription drug plan:

    • Anthem Blue Cross MediBlue Rx Standard offers copays as low as $1 at preferred in-network pharmacies. While Anthem’s Part D plan premiums tend to be higher than other carriers ($55 on average), your monthly costs may be reduced if you qualify for Medicare’s Extra Help program. Anthem’s user-friendly website makes it easy to confirm if a prescription drug is covered by the plan and if preapproval is needed for new medications.
    Ease of use Service & Response Features & Tech Pricing
    Excellent Excellent Excellent
    Please scroll to the right for more info.
    Pros
    • Virtual and in-person Medicare educational seminars
    • Customer support available through phone, email, chat, and health app
    • Household and automatic bank withdrawal discounts
    • Instant plan pricing provided
    • SilverSneakers fitness membership
    • Medicare Part D, vision, and dental plans
    Cons
    • Coverage only available in 14 states
    • Discounts and plan perks depend on ZIP code

    The Bottom Line

    Anthem offers quality health care at an affordable price. Their Medigap plans and optional prescription, dental, and vision coverage help optimize member health and wellness. Anthem’s app, available for both iOS and Android, makes finding care, managing prescriptions, checking benefits, and tracking claims a breeze. For individuals with dual Medicare and Medicaid enrollment, Anthem serves state-sponsored programs across seven states.

    Curious about how Medicare Advantage compares to Medigap plans? Head over to our Anthem Medicare Advantage review for more details.

  • 3. Cigna - Best Nationwide Availability

    Overview

    As a leader in the health insurance industry, Cigna has been in business for more than 225 years. With over 180 million customers, Cigna’s vast coverage area reaches across the United States. Older adults on a limited income may struggle to find an economical Medigap plan in their area. With Cigna, individuals in 48 states and Washington, D.C. have access to Medicare supplement insurance. Eligible enrollees may receive deep discounts on premiums.

    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.

    Cigna Prescription Drug Plan

    Cigna offers two lower-cost prescription drug plans:

    • Cigna Essential Rx offers valuable coverage on generic drugs, a low monthly premium ($35 to $45 on average), and moderate Part D coverage. Cigna contracts with about 64,000 network pharmacies.
    • Cigna Secure Rx offers basic coverage, low premiums ($30 to $40 on average), and low copays. This plan may be a solid choice if you receive financial assistance through Medicare Part D Extra Help. Cigna’s Part D plans are offered in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.
    Ease of use Service & Response Features & Tech Pricing
    Excellent Excellent Excellent
    Please scroll to the right for more info.
    Pros
    • Low-premium Medigap and Part D plans
    • Up to 25 percent in enrollment discounts
    • Hearing, vision care, and fitness discounts
    • 24/7 health advocate hotline
    • Add-on dental plans
    • PDP copays as low as $0 at preferred retail pharmacies
    Cons
    • Discounts not available in all states
    • Limited plan options

    The Bottom Line

    With an expansive coverage area and low-cost Medigap and Part D plans, Cigna may be an outstanding carrier to explore. Eligible individuals can take advantage of Cigna’s generous enrollment and household discounts. Cigna might be an attractive option for low-income seniors across the U.S. Read our Cigna Medigap review for an in-depth look at all Cigna offers.

  • 4. Mutual of Omaha - Best Insurance Bundles

    Overview

    Mutual of Omaha was founded in 1909 as the Mutual Benefit Health & Accident Association. They’ve grown considerably over the last century and now offer an extensive range of services, from financial and medical solutions to life and long-term care insurance, across the nation. Mutual of Omaha has been providing Medigap insurance since Medicare started in 1966. Offering Plan N and High-Deductible Plan G makes this Medicare insurance company popular with low-income older adults.

    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.

    Mutual of Omaha Prescription Drug Plan

    Mutual of Omaha offers one lower-cost prescription drug plan:

    • Mutual of Omaha Rx Premier offers low premiums for cost-conscious enrollees ($30 on average). Coverage includes access to more than 65,000 pharmacies and major chains, including local grocery stores.
    Ease of use Service & Response Features & Tech Pricing
    Excellent Excellent Excellent
    Please scroll to the right for more info.
    Pros
    • Offers lower premium Medigap plans
    • Instant quote provided
    • Pays 98 percent of Medicare claims within 12 hours
    • Up to a 12 percent household discount in most states when more than one person in your home enrolls in Medigap insurance
    • Prescription, dental, life insurance, and long-term care insurance plans
    • Fitness, hearing, and vision care discounts
    Cons
    • High-Deductible Plan G not offered in all states

    The Bottom Line

    Mutual of Omaha provides an impressive number of educational resources for Medigap enrollees. Their user-friendly website, transparent pricing and plan details, and uncomplicated online application process stood out. We loved that all Mutual of Omaha Medigap plans, including the lower premium options, promoted nutrition, fitness, and well-being. For a closer look at Mutual of Omaha’s Medigap plans, head to our latest Mutual of Omaha Medigap review.

  • 5. AARP Medigap Plans from UnitedHealthcare - Best Plan Perks and Discounts

    Overview

    Two decades ago, AARP joined forces with UnitedHealthcare. Part of UnitedHealth Group, UnitedHealthcare is one of the largest health care insurance companies in the world. AARP’s partnership with UnitedHealthcare delivers an impressive range of benefits, including lower-cost plan options.
    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.

    AARP Part D Prescription Drug Plans Offered through UnitedHealthcare

    AARP offers two lower-cost prescription drug plans:

    • AARP MedicareRx Walgreens has a low monthly plan premium ($35 on average). It’s an excellent option for customers who fill their prescriptions at Walgreens.
    • AARP MedicareRx Saver Plus has low monthly premiums ($40 on average) and a wide range of pharmacy network options. It is geared toward older adults who don’t currently take many prescriptions.
    Ease of use Service & Response Features & Tech Pricing
    Excellent Excellent Excellent
    Please scroll to the right for more info.
    Pros
    • Wide range of Medigap plans offered
    • Enrollment discount up to 39 percent
    • Instant plan pricing available
    • UnitedHealthcare has the only Medicare Supplement plans endorsed by AARP
    • Discounts for dental, vision, and hearing
    • Preventative benefits, including Renew Active fitness membership
    • Website is jam-packed with health, financial, and housing resources for older adults
    Cons
    • Does not offer Medigap High-Deductible Plan G
    • AARP membership is required. The $16 annual membership fee may not be feasible for low-income older adults.

    The Bottom Line

    Since 1958, AARP has been dedicated to empowering people to choose how they live as they age. In addition to offering lower premiums, their top-notch discounts, rewards, and dedication to health and wellness make AARP Medigap plans from UnitedHealthcare a strong contender for lower-income individuals.

    Visit our UnitedHealthcare Medigap review to get the inside scoop on this insurance carrier.

How We Chose the Best Medigap Plans for Low-Income Seniors

We evaluated 12 of the top Medigap carriers using the following criteria: Medigap plans offered with a low monthly premium, budget-saving discounts, perks, and insurance company expertise in the Medicare arena. From our research, we narrowed the list to our top picks. We also investigated if the insurer’s website offered easy access to plan costs and availability.

How Much Does Medigap Cost?

While Medigap plan coverage is federally mandated to be the same across all insurance companies, policy pricing is not. This is because your Medigap policy is purchased through a private insurance company. The bottom line? There can be a big difference in insurance company plan premiums for identical coverage.

How Are Medigap Plans Priced?

Insurance companies can price Medigap policies in three different ways (known as the plan This is essential to keep in mind as you review Medigap insurance carriers. What appears to be the most cost-effective plan could end up putting a major financial strain on your wallet. As you shop for a budget-friendly Medigap plan, ask each insurance company how they rate their policies.

Pro Tip: You don’t have to take on the Medigap process alone! We’re here to answer your questions in our guide to Medigap insurance.

Attained-Age Rated

With attained-age Medigap policies, your age at the time of enrollment determines your premium. Premiums are lower for “younger” older adults and increase as you age. In addition to age increase, inflation will affect attained-age policies.

Community-Rated

Your age isn’t a factor for community-rated Medigap policies. At this time, eight states require premiums to be community-rated among policyholders ages 65 and older:

  • Arkansas
  • Connecticut
  • Massachusetts
  • Maine
  • New York
  • Vermont
  • Washington

This means that Medigap insurers cannot charge higher premiums to people because they are older or have more health conditions. Therefore, they must charge an 80-year-old policyholder the same as a 70-year-old policyholder regardless of health The remaining 38 states and the District of Columbia have the option to offer community-rated premiums, but most don’t.

Did You Know: Every Medigap policy must follow federal and state laws designed to protect you, and it must be clearly identified as “Medicare Supplement Insurance.” Insurance companies can sell you only a standardized policy identified in most states by

Issue-Age Rated

Issue-age Medigap policies are unique, as the premium is locked in at the time you purchase the policy. As with attained-age and community-rated Medigap policies, the younger your age during enrollment, the lower your premium. However, the difference with issue-age Medigap plans is the premium won’t change as you age.

Seven Factors That Affect Medigap Pricing

It’s federally mandated that what’s included in each Medigap plan is the same across all insurance companies. For example, Plan N at one company is identical to Plan N at another. However, since Medigap is sold through private insurance companies, the carriers dictate their pricing (premiums), discounts offered, and annual increases.

Medigap pricing can be affected by factors such as:

  • How the policy is rated (attained-age, community-rated, or issue-age rated)
  • Your age at enrollment
  • Your gender
  • The state/ZIP code where you reside
  • Marital status
  • If you are a smoker
  • If you are enrolling after your six-month Medigap open enrollment window has passed

Tip from the Experts: It’s important to remember if you enroll after your six-month open enrollment period, insurance companies can charge you a late penalty, higher rates, or deny coverage. If you’re planning on enrolling in a Medigap policy, don’t wait!

Medigap Plan Pricing Comparison

Let’s compare policy prices for one Medigap plan from various carriers to give you a better idea of how pricing varies. The prices below are based on a 65-year-old nonsmoking female (born January 1, 1957) electing Medicare Part A and B, along with Medigap Part N coverage beginning August 2022.

Medigap insurance company Plan type Mercer, NJ (08690) Polk, IA (50317) San Francisco, CA (94111)
Mutual of Omaha Plan N $104.65 $77.24 $123.55
Humana Plan N $130.28 $142.59 $124.35
Cigna Plan N $103.18 $70.46 $89.25
AARP UnitedHealthcare Plan N $122.88 $108.58 $119.68

It’s important to note the websites for the insurance carriers listed in the above table provided quotes that included discounts. This can be misleading, as not everyone will be eligible for discounts, so make sure you are indeed eligible for the discount and can take advantage of it.

For example:

  • Mutual of Omaha provides quotes factoring in a household discount up to 12 percent, which varies by state. For example, the discount in New Jersey is seven percent.
  • AARP offers a significant enrollment discount of up to 39 percent.
  • Humana’s pricing is at a preferred rate, with an online application discount included.
  • Cigna offers premium discounts of up to 25 percent for qualified applicants. However, the premium discount is not available in Hawaii, Idaho, Minnesota, and Vermont.

Always remember, a quote is an estimate, and pricing can change once you complete the actual Medigap application.

Other Ways to Save on Health Care for Low-Income Seniors

Medicaid

Many older adults struggle to pay for adequate health coverage. Medicaid is a federal-state assistance program that provides health coverage to 7.2 million low-income seniors enrolled in Medicare. Medicaid covers medical costs that Medicare does not (such as hospice or long-term care). It also covers your out-of-pocket Medicare costs.

Qualification for Medicaid is based on several factors, such as:

  • Income and assets
  • Age
  • Household size
  • Disability
  • Family status

Medicaid guidelines, qualifying factors such as income limits, and coverage vary by state. To determine if you are eligible for your state’s Medicaid program, submit the enrollment application directly to your state Medicaid agency or through Healthcare.gov’s Health Insurance Marketplace.

Medicare Cost Assistance Programs

Medicaid isn’t the only option for individuals on a limited income. There are several federal and state programs in place to help lower or eliminate your out-of-pocket Medicare costs.

Keep in mind, the Medicare assistance programs listed below all vary by state. For more information, contact your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) for guidance.

  • Medicare Savings Programs (MSPs): Low-income individuals may qualify for a Medicare Savings Program. The type of Medicare assistance you may receive depends on income and asset limits. For example, if you fall under the Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB) guidelines, the Medicare Savings Program will pay Part A and B premiums and eliminate cost-sharing for Medicare-covered services.
  • Extra Help: Extra Help is a federal program that helps pay the out-of-pocket costs of your Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage. This includes paying for your Part D plan premium and reducing the cost of your prescription drugs. To receive Extra Help, you must be enrolled in a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan.
  • State Pharmaceutical Assistance Programs (SPAPs): SPAPs are state-run programs to help residents pay for prescription drugs. Benefits may include paying for your Part D premium, copayments, or deductibles.
  • Government-Funded Health Centers: Government-Funded Health Centers, also known as HRSA Health Centers or Federally Qualified Health Centers, offer reduced-cost medical care across the United States to those in need.

Did You Know: Less than half the people eligible for Extra Help actually sign up. Don’t automatically rule out this option; apply to find out if you qualify.

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