Medicare

4 Best Medicare Supplement Plans for 2022

4 Best Medicare Supplement Plans for 2022

Your best Medicare Supplement plan will depend on your health requirements as well as balancing costs. For the current year, the most comprehensive plan will be Plan G, but it will also be one of the more expensive Medicare Supplement plans available.

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Medicare Supplement policies, also called Medigap, can provide peace of mind and simplify your expenses. Without a Medigap plan, Original Medicare policyholders will find that tracking deductibles can be cumbersome and paying for regular medical treatment out of pocket can be expensive. Furthermore, you may find that there are many different unexpected costs associated with your care.

For 2022, the average cost of a Medicare Supplement plan is $163 per month. However, rates can vary widely from $50 to more than $400 per month.

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How to choose the best Medicare Supplement plan

The best Medicare Supplement plan for you will depend on which policy provides the best benefits for your medical needs and fills in the coverage gaps where you expect to spend the most on health care.

For example, if you need skilled nursing coverage or want more protection for foreign travel emergencies, then consider how well each plan covers those categories of care. If you expect to need hospital care, a plan that pays for the Medicare Part A deductible can help protect you from a large hospital bill.

Say you need surgery in the upcoming year. For the 2022 plan year, the Medicare Part A deductible is $1,556. Some Medicare Supplement policies, such as Plan A, provide no coverage for this deductible. Therefore, you would be responsible for paying the entire $1,556 out of pocket before your Original Medicare coverage would kick in.

On the other hand, if you choose Medigap Plan G, the $1,556 deductible would be fully covered by your Supplement policy. This means you would begin having your claims covered immediately, rather than first having out-of-pocket costs for medical care. However, you should also consider the cost of the plan since Plan G can be more expensive than Plan A.

It is for this reason that you should carefully analyze what each Medigap plan covers and costs so that you can choose the best one for your situation. Often, there is an ideal supplemental policy for your health care needs.

What is the best Medicare Supplement?

As mentioned above, your best Medicare Supplement plan will be the plan that balances costs and coverage. In general, policies with more comprehensive coverage for deductibles and care will have higher monthly premiums.

For instance, Plan G is good for people who want very few medical bills and are willing to pay about $190 each month. This can give you peace of mind so that you won't be surprised by unexpected medical costs. However, if you expect your out-of-pocket medical costs to be less than the plan's annual cost of about $2,280, then a cheaper Supplement plan may be more cost-effective.

Note that because of a recent legislation change, Plans C and F are not available for new enrollees. Below you can find a chart of the level of coverage and 2022 monthly premium ranges for all of the Medicare Supplement plans. The Medigap plan names are along the top, and on the left are the coverage categories.

Plan A
Plan B
Plan C
Plan D
Plan F
Plan G
Plan K
Plan L
Plan M
Plan N
Medicare Part A coinsurance100%100%100%100%100%100%100%100%100%100%
Medicare Part B coinsurance100%100%100%100%100%100%50%75%100%100%
Blood (3 pints)100%100%100%100%100%100%50%75%100%100%
Part A hospice care coinsurance100%100%100%100%100%100%50%75%100%100%
Skilled nursing facility coinsurance
100%100%100%100%50%75%100%100%
Medicare Part A deductible
100%100%100%100%100%50%75%50%100%
Medicare Part B deductible
100%
100%
Medicare Part B excess charges
100%100%
Foreign travel emergency
80%80%80%80%
80%80%
Cost$107-$386$151-$411$169-$366$139-$281$161-$410$120-$364$58-$135$93-$211$114-$239$102-$302

Prices for policies are based on a sampling of quotes for a 65-year-old female nonsmoker. Rates vary by location, age, gender and other factors.

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Best overall Medicare Supplement plan for new enrollees: Plan G

Medicare Supplement Plan G is the best overall plan that provides the most coverage for seniors and Medicare enrollees. Plan G will cover almost everything except the Part B deductible. This means that you would be responsible for paying the entire Medicare Part B deductible — $233 for 2022 — before insurance benefits will begin to pay for your health care.

Plan G is the most popular Medicare Supplement for new enrollees. However, rates can be expensive, averaging $190 per month. Therefore, you should weigh the cost of this monthly premium with your potential medical expenses for the year.

Best overall Medicare Supplement plan pre-2020: Plan F

If you qualified for Medicare before Jan. 1, 2020, Plan F is the best Medigap plan. Plans will cover all the items that you would usually need to pay for out of pocket, including deductibles and coinsurance.

Plan F is a good option if you want a comprehensive policy that will give you peace of mind about day-to-day expenses, such as paying a copay for a doctor's office visit. The monthly premium for Plan F averages $231, which makes this plan even more expensive than Plan G. Unfortunately, Plan F is not available to new Medicare enrollees who become eligible after Jan. 1, 2020. Anyone who currently has Plan F will be able to keep their coverage.

Best cheap Medicare Supplement plan: Plan K

If you are interested in the cheapest Medigap policy that still provides some coverage on top of Original Medicare, you may want to look into Plan K.

Plan K is significantly different from many other Medigap policies since it provides only 50% coverage for Medicare Part B coinsurance, blood, Part A hospice, skilled nursing and the Part A deductible. Many other Medigap plans, such as Plan G, provide full reimbursements for these types of health care.

This is crucial to consider if you need health insurance coverage for skilled nursing. In this case, if you were to get Plan K, only 50% of such costs would be covered.

On the other hand, your monthly premiums with Plan K will be much cheaper. Policyholders can expect to pay about $77 per month, making it the best Medicare Supplement plan for low-income seniors.

Best alternative to Medicare Supplement Plan G: Plan N

Plan N is a good option for individuals who want coverage that's nearly as good as Plan G but at a cheaper price.

The only difference between the two plans is that Plan N doesn't have coverage for Medicare Part B excess charges. This is an extra cost that your doctor or medical provider could charge you if they don't accept the Medicare-approved amount of payment for health care services. You can protect yourself from this cost by either getting Plan G or double-checking that your medical providers accept the Medicare-approved amount for services.

If you're willing to make this trade-off, you'll pay about $152 per month for Plan N, a $38 savings versus Plan G.

Remember that neither Original Medicare nor a Medicare Supplement plan covers prescription drugs. For that, you'll need a separate Medicare Part D plan.

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Best Medicare Supplement companies

Unlike with traditional health insurance, where policies differ among providers, Medicare Supplement plans are standardized so that the benefits for each plan letter are the same for each company. This means that Medicare Supplement Plan G from UnitedHealthcare will be identical in coverage to the Plan G offered through Aetna.

However, rates will change from company to company since each provider will choose a different pricing structure for its Medicare Supplement plans. It's important that you take this into account along with each provider’s financial strength and history of rate increases. Some companies may offer cheap rates but will increase your rates more quickly as you age.

Popular plans are a good way to reduce out-of-pocket expenses for health care.
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  • Medigap plans offered: A, B, C, F, G, K, L and N
  • Average cost of Plan G for a 65-year-old: $159

AARP/UnitedHealthcare (UHC) is one of the best Medigap companies, offering the security of an AARP endorsement and the strength of a major health insurance company. It provides a good value on coverage because it has so many add-on programs such as discounts on vision and dental care. There are many plan options available, and the company also offers Medicare Select Plan G and N. These lower-cost options provide the plan's standardized benefits but limit some health care to in-network providers. Additionally, UHC has great financial strength, with a score of A from AM Best.

Aetna Medicare Supplement plans provide cheaper coverage, but the company falls short in other key areas.
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  • Medigap plans offered: A, B, F, G, N and high-deductible F
  • Average cost of Plan G: $117

Aetna is another strong Medicare Supplement provider — the company has an AM Best score of A. Aetna's Medicare Supplement plans have competitive rates that are about 26% lower than rates from other providers like AARP. The downside is that Aetna's Medicare Supplement program gets about 57% more complaints than is typical for its size. There are also fewer plan options, and if you want a Medicare Supplement plan such as Plan C, D, K, L or M, you would need to purchase the policy from a different provider.

Cigna offers a limited number of Medigap plans in 48 states with overall higher rates than competitors.
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  • Medigap plans offered: A, F, G, N and high-deductible F
  • Average cost of Plan G: $179

Cigna, like UHC and Aetna, currently has an AM Best rating of A, meaning that it has the financial strength to continue to pay health insurance claims in the future. Cigna plans are widely available, and Cigna stands out for its high-deductible Plan F, which is an affordable way to protect yourself if you need expensive medical care. Cigna's Medicare Supplement plans are generally priced higher than plans from some other companies, but using the company's household premium discount can help you to get a better deal. The discount is available in most states when multiple family members in the same household enroll in the same Cigna Medigap plan.

Frequently asked questions

Which Medicare Supplement plan is the best?

For most people, we recommend Medigap Plan G from AARP/UnitedHealthcare, which costs about $159 per month for a 65-year-old. This plan will give you comprehensive medical coverage from a well-rated company. However, all Supplement plans have standardized benefits that will help protect you from out-of-pocket medical expenses you'd have with Original Medicare (Part A and Part B).

How much do Medicare Supplement plans usually cost?

A Medicare Supplement plan costs about $163 per month for 2022. However, the range of costs is especially wide because of the variety of plans available and pricing factors such as age and location. Some people enrolled in a Supplement plan can pay as little as $50 per month, while others can pay more than $400.

What's the most popular Medicare Supplement plan?

Plan F and Plan G are the two most popular Medigap plans. Plan F is only available to those who qualified for Medicare before 2020, but because of its comprehensive benefits, about 49% of Medicare Supplement enrollees have chosen this plan. Plan G has 22% of the market, making it the most popular choice for those who are newly eligible for Medicare.

What's the least expensive Medicare Supplement plan?

Plan K is the cheapest Medigap plan, with an average cost of $77 per month for 2022. For those who are only interested in protecting themselves against major medical expenses, a high-deductible plan is another way to have low-cost coverage. Only a few providers offer these plans, and a high-deductible Plan G from Mutual of Omaha costs about $54 per month.

Methodology

Medicare Supplement policy details are based on information from Medicare.gov and insurance providers. Our recommended providers are based on plan costs, customer reviews, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) complaint index and financial strength ratios.

Costs are based on a 65-year-old female nonsmoker and include estimates from states that have age-based price increases and states where age is not used to determine premiums. Plan cost ranges are averaged from Medicare.gov data from a sample of locations. We also sourced quotes from seven providers across a range of locations to calculate averages.

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.