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.
We evaluated 12 of the top Medigap providers 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 three picks. We also investigated if the provider website offered easy access to plan costs and availability.
Before we take a deep dive into the specifics of our top providers, 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 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.
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.
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 review.
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 provider.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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 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.
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 providers dictate their pricing (premiums), discounts offered, and annual increases.
Medigap pricing can be affected by factors such as:
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!
Let’s compare policy prices for one Medigap plan from various providers 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, 1956) electing Medicare Part A and B, along with Medigap Part N coverage beginning June 2021.
|Medigap Insurance Company||Plan Type||Mercer, NJ (08690)||Polk, IA (50317)||San Francisco, CA (94111)|
|Mutual of Omaha||Plan N||$101.38||$94.84||$134.02|
|AARP UnitedHealthcare||Plan N||$110.76||$105.53||$113.92|
It’s important to note the websites for all three insurance companies 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.
Always remember, a quote is an estimate, and pricing can change once you complete the actual Medigap application.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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