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The federal government provides basic health care coverage for older Americans through Original Medicare (Part A and Part B). But as you've probably realized, it doesn't cover everything. Thankfully, Medicare supplement plans, or Medigap plans, can keep money in your wallet by covering some of the out-of-pocket expenses that Part A and B don't cover, like deductibles and copays.
UnitedHealthcare offers the only Medicare supplement plans endorsed by AARP, and their plans cover more than 4 million older adults nationwide.1 Below, we'll take a deep dive into the company's Medigap offerings to help you determine if they provide the coverage you're looking for.
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of UnitedHealthcare plans, you may wonder why older adults need a Medigap plan in the first place. Well, as mentioned above, Original Medicare doesn't cover everything. In fact, it only covers about 80 percent of the medical costs it approves. The remaining 20 percent is your responsibility. With no out-of-pocket maximum, predicting yearly medical expenses can be nearly impossible.
Quick Tip: You can't purchase a Medicare supplemental insurance plan if you have a Medicare Advantage plan. You'll need to choose one or the other.
Let's say you have a major surgery that costs tens of thousands of dollars. Paying 20 percent of that surgery can be quite a blow. That's why over 90 percent of older adults supplement their Original Medicare with employer-sponsored coverage, Medicaid, or a Medigap plan like one from UnitedHealthcare.2
The federal government has created 10 standardized Medigap plans for private insurance companies to sell. Of those 10 plans, UnitedHealthcare has chosen eight plans for seniors to purchase. We appreciate that UnitedHealthcare has a good variety of plans, as other companies we've reviewed, such as Americo, offer a more limited selection.
Let's take a look at the eight Medigap plans offered by UnitedHealthcare and the benefits of each.
|Medicare Part A coinsurance and hospital coverage, and an extra 365 days of coverage after Medicare benefits are used up||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Medicare Part B coinsurance or copayment||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Part A hospice care coinsurance or copayment||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Medicare Part A deductible||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Skilled nursing facility care coinsurance||No||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Medicare Part B deductible||No||No||Yes||Yes||No||No||No||No|
|Part B excess charge||No||No||No||Yes||Yes||No||No||No|
*Due to changes made by the federal government, plans C and F aren't available to seniors who were newly eligible for Medicare on or after January 1, 2020.
Your lifestyle, health condition, and budget should be considered when selecting a Medigap plan from UnitedHealthcare. Each plan has its pros and cons, but we've gone ahead and highlighted a few we recommend for seniors based on those factors.
Recommended Plans: A or B
Designed to cover basic expenses not covered by Original Medicare, Medigap Plans A and B includes hospital stays, home health care, and hospice care. Just be prepared to pay for Medicare Part B excess charges, emergency care when out of the country, and coinsurance while staying in a skilled nursing facility.
Quick Tip: Visit our UnitedHealthcare and senior care guide to learn more about the types of care this provider's plans will cover.
Recommended Plans: F or G
Medigap plans F and G have high-deductible options. For older adults who are managing a chronic illness, this can be an ideal option. Frequent appointments and procedures allow you to meet your deductible and then begin receiving the benefits of the Medigap plan.
FYI: If you're a Massachusetts, Minnesota, or Wisconsin resident, Medigap plans are standardized in a different way than the rest of the U.S. Make sure you speak with an in-state provider to get the details of Medigap plans offered in your area.
Recommended Plans: C, F, G, and N
If you have a home or family overseas and you travel frequently, these plans cover 80 percent of foreign emergency medical expenses so you can travel with peace of mind. Additionally, the plans offer skilled nursing facility care coinsurance if you need skilled care, or will need it in the future.
Now, you're probably thinking, exactly how much are these plans going to cost me? Unfortunately, the answer isn't simple. That's because the monthly premium for a Medigap plan is dependent on your geographic location, tobacco use, and gender. To give you a ballpark idea, we've provided the premium estimates for a 65-year-old, non-smoking male living in Orlando, Florida. Hopefully, this can give you an idea of the cost differences between the plans, but the monthly premium will ultimately depend on your unique situation.
|C||Not available to seniors who were newly eligible for Medicare on or after January 1, 2020|
|F||Not available to seniors who were newly eligible for Medicare on or after January 1, 2020|
Money-Saving Tip: In most states, UnitedHealthcare offers a five percent household discount. To benefit from this discount, both spouses need to buy a Medigap policy.
Health insurance companies price their Medigap policies using one of three methods: community-rated, issue-age-rated, and attained-age-rated.3 Keep in mind, not all states allow all three methods to be used. Here's a quick definition of the three methods:
Pro Tip: Are you new to Medigap? Visit our guide to Medigap to learn more about what Medicare supplement plans are, how to enroll, and how to choose the right plan for your needs.
UnitedHealthcare uses a community-rated pricing method, which may appeal to older seniors, as your rates won't increase with age. For comparison, competitors we've reviewed, like Humana, use an attained-age pricing method, which means the older you are, the more you'll pay. UnitedHealthcare may offer better premiums to seniors in their 70s and beyond, and rates won't increase due to age.
Enrolling in a UnitedHealthcare Medigap policy can be done with a few clicks from your computer. Or you can pick up the phone and call one of their friendly representatives to walk you through the process. They are available 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday, and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
We recommend purchasing a Medigap policy during your six-month Medigap open enrollment period. This will get you the best monthly premium prices and the most plans to select from. The six-month open enrollment period starts the month you enroll in Medicare Part B and are 65 or older. If you miss this six-month window, you may not be able to buy a policy, or it could be much more costly. So, mark your calendar! Missing this window could cost you big bucks in the long run.
If you're interested in going the online route, here are the few steps you'll need to take.
The competitive premiums offered by UnitedHealthcare and the easy online application process make the company a prime prospect for seniors looking to purchase a Medigap plan. When shopping for a policy, we recommend comparing UnitedHealthcare's prices to other providers in your area, since the company's community-based pricing method could prove to be a pro or con, depending on where you live. Head to our list of the best Medigap plans for older adults to compare UnitedHealthcare to other top providers.
Yes. UnitedHealthcare offers eight Medigap plans for purchase. Their website allows you to easily shop and compare policies.
Your monthly premium will be calculated using several factors, including which plan you choose, your geographical location, and your gender. Premiums could be under $100 a month, while some could be over $200 a month.
You can speak with an agent over the phone or follow the online application process.
Plans F and G are the two most popular Medigap plans. Since Plan F is not available to seniors who were newly eligible for Medicare on or after January 1, 2020, Plan G is a popular alternative with very similar benefits.
To receive the best prices and plan options, it is important to buy a Medigap policy during your six-month Medigap open enrollment period. This six-month period begins the month you enroll in Medicare Part B and are 65 or older.
Kaiser Family Foundation. (2021). A Snapshot of Sources of Coverage Among Medicare Beneficiaries in 2018.
Medicare.gov.(2021). Costs of Medigap policies.