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We researched all major Medicare insurance companies and their 2020 Medicare Supplement plan offerings, ultimately selecting the 8 best.

19 Insurers Considered 8 Insurers Selected
73 Hours Researched 478 Consumers Surveyed
Best Overall

AARP UnitedHealthcare

  • Provides coverage to 34% of all Medigap enrollees1
  • 95% satisfaction rating2
  • 2.8%3 average annual rate increase
  • Hearing, vision discounts
  • Multiple wellness benefits

Ranked No. 1 by Newsweek for customer service, we believe that UnitedHealthcare makes customer satisfaction a top priority. Our No. 1 pick provides customers with access to an extensive network of providers and pharmacies, along with hearing aid and vision discounts.

Best for Extra Benefits

Humana

  • Most (free) extra benefits offered
  • Extensive online resources
  • 24/7 phone access to a registered nurse
  • A+ BBB rating

Humana is one of the largest Medicare insurers in the country. We've given Humana our No. 2 ranking because they offer Medigap plans A-N, have comparatively low annual rate increases, provide multiple wellness rewards, and have nationwide coverage.

Best for Claims Paid on Time

Mutual of Omaha

  • 98% of claims paid within 12 hours
  • Complementary vision plan
  • High customer satisfaction rating
  • Coverage offered in all 50 states
  • Limited additional benefits

Mutual of Omaha is owned by its policyholders and consistently has one of the highest customer satisfaction ratings. Among the perks offered to its policyholders are a complementary vision plan, household discounts, online quotes, and a free 30-day look period, which is when you can decide whether or not to keep your plan.

Best for Easy Application

Cigna

  • See any medical provider who accepts Medicare
  • Additional supplement insurance options available (coverage for catastrophic events like accident expenses, cancer, heart attack, stroke)
  • 24/7 Health Information Line run by registered nurses
  • 7% household discount
  • Plans not available in all states
  • 14 business day turnaround for claims

Cigna's user-friendly online experience, competitive rates, and robust rewards program earn the company our No. 4 ranking. Cigna customers also have access to discounted gym memberships, yoga equipment, chiropractic treatments, and various health products through their Healthy Rewards program.

Best for Rate Stability

Aetna

  • See any medical provider who accepts Medicare
  • 12-month rate lock on 1st year premiums
  • 12% household discount
  • Plans not available in all states

While Aetna does not offer as many extra perks as other carriers, the company has a strong track record of maintaining competitive rates year over year. In addition, Aetna is committed to giving back to the communities it serves through volunteer work and financial support.

Best for a Budget

Blue Cross Blue Shield

  • Competitive rates
  • Multiple plan options in many locations
  • Estimated 96% of hospitals and 95% of healthcare providers work with BCBS4
  • Numerous discounts offered
  • Mixed customer reviews and ratings

Blue Cross Blue Shield is a federation of 36 different health insurance companies, including Anthem, CareFirst, Horizon, Wellmark, and others. BCBS companies consistently offer competitive rates, along with state-specific discounts based on criteria such as household enrollment, payment frequency, and payment method.

Best for Access to Local Agents

State Farm

  • Direct access to a local agent
  • Bundle discounts available (home, auto, etc.)
  • No high deductible plans offered
  • No option to add Part D (prescription drug coverage)

State Farm is preferred by its customers due to its emphasis on providing a personalized, local experience. Rather than routing customer calls through a call center, policyholders are matched with local agents. State Farm's biggest downside is their relatively limited plan offerings.

Best for Coverage in Specialized States

Transamerica

  • See any medical provider who accepts Medicare
  • Automatic payment discount
  • Coverage available in all 50 states
  • No high deductible plans offered
  • 14 business day claim turnaround

Transamerica earned a spot on this list due to its plan availability in all 50 states. Transamerica even offers specialized plans in Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.

Honorable Mentions:

Manhattan Life [3.25 stars] - Good for individuals who prioritize working with a company that has a long-standing history (Manhattan Life has been in business since 1850). However, it is important to note that Manhattan Life only provides five of the 10 standardized Medicare Supplement plans and only issues policies in 35 states.

Bankers Fidelity [3.25 stars] - Good for individuals interested in multiple supplemental insurance products and/or life insurance. Bankers Fidelity's website also aids customers by providing access to quick and easy quotes on its website. Bankers Fidelity plans, however, are only available in 37 states.

Is Medicare Supplement Right For You? Medigap vs. Medicare Advantage vs. Original Medicare

You are about to enroll in Medicare, which presents you with big choices ahead. What are the key differences between Original Medicare, Medicare Supplement, and Medicare Advantage, and how do you know if a Medicare Supplement plan is right for you?

Original Medicare

Original Medicare includes Part A, which covers inpatient hospital services, skilled nursing care facility expenses including nursing home stays, certain types of home healthcare, and hospice care. Original Medicare also includes Part B, which covers some doctors' services, medical supplies, preventative care and outpatient care. Original Medicare does not pay for prescription drugs.

However, if you prefer to spend as little as possible on healthcare, you should consider choosing a private Medicare plan. Under both Parts A and B of Original Medicare, you will have out-of-pocket costs. All of these costs (listed below) can really add up:

  • Part A deductible ($1,408 for 2020)
  • Part A coinsurance for hospital and skilled nursing stays
  • Part B deductible ($198 for 2020)
  • Part B coinsurance (20% of the cost for each Part B service or procedure received)

To minimize some of these costs and put a cap on your spending, a Medicare Supplement or Medicare Advantage plan could be viable alternatives. It's important to note that you legally cannot be enrolled in a Medicare Advantage and Medical Supplement plan at the same time.

To figure out if a Medicare Supplement or Medicare Advantage plan is right for you, it is helpful to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Will I split my time between two or more homes in different states?
  • Do I want to be able to choose any doctor in the country for medical care?
  • Do I already have supplemental coverage, like dental, vision, and hearing, or do I want that to be included in my Medicare plan?

Medicare Supplement insurance works well for people who answered "yes" to some or all of these questions. This is because Medicare Supplement insurance allows for maximum flexibility. Specifically, you can see any doctor in the U.S. who accepts Medicare patients.

Medicare Supplement

Medicare Supplement, also known as Medigap, are supplement insurance plans that fill the "gaps" in Original Medicare and are sold and offered by private health insurance plans. Used in combination with your Original Medicare coverage, Medicare Supplement plans can help you pay for healthcare costs like coinsurance, deductibles and copayments. Medicare Part B only covers 80% of your fees; Medicare Supplement assists with the last 20%.

In some cases, you may go an entire year without paying any medical bills, which explains why Medicare Supplement plans are a popular choice for enrollees.

How much a Medicare Supplement plan costs depends on which plan you choose and which provider is offering the plan, among other factors. Some Medicare Supplement plans have $0 copays. Many Medicare Supplement plans do not cover benefits like vision, dental, eyeglasses, hearing aids or prescription drug coverage. To get this coverage, you would have to enroll in a standalone Medicare Part D prescription drug plan.

How Does Medicare Supplement Fit With Original Medicare and Part D?

Medicare Advantage

Medicare Advantage, also known as Part C, is different from Medicare Supplement in that it takes the place of Original Medicare if you enroll in it. Advantage plans are provided by private companies and are required to cover everything that is included under Original Medicare. Additionally, these plans provide extra coverage that can include hearing services, prescription drug coverage, dental services, and vision care. Medicare Advantage premiums and deductibles vary based on the plan and how much coverage you elect to enroll in. Many plans begin at $0 for both premiums and deductibles.

Medicare Supplement Plans Comparison Chart

There are 10 standardized Medicare Supplement plans available across 47 U.S. states. The exceptions are Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Wisconsin which each have their own standardized plans. In other words, Medigap Plan A in California provides the same coverage as Medigap Plan A in Florida. However, since Medicare Supplement plans are offered by private insurance companies, not all plans are available in every state. Another important thing to note is that insurance companies can choose which place they want to offer, which means they do not have to provide a selection of all 10. They are, however, required by law to offer at least Plan A.

In 2020, you can choose from eight different Medicare Supplement plans (Plans C and F are no longer available to new enrollees). According to the "State of Medigap 2019 report" by the nonprofit AHIP (American's Health Insurance Plans) the most popular Medicare Supplement plans in the U.S. according to enrollment are:

  • Plan F: 55%
  • Plan G: 13%
  • Plan N: 10%
  • Plan C: 6%

Benefits

Medicare Supplement Plans

A

B

C*

D

F*

G

K

L

M

N

Part A coinsurance

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Part B coinsurance

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

50%

75%

Yes

Yes**

Blood (first 3 pints)

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

50%

75%

Yes

Yes

Part A hospice care coinsurance

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

50%

75%

Yes

Yes

Skilled nursing care coinsurance

No

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

50%

75%

Yes

Yes

Part A deductible

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

50%

75%

50%

Yes

Part B deductible

No

No

Yes

No

Yes

No

No

No

No

No

Part B excess charges

No

No

No

No

Yes

Yes

No

No

No

No

Foreign travel emergency

No

No

80%

80%

80%

80%

No

No

80%

80%

Yearly out-of-pocket maximum (2020)

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

$5,880

$2,940

N/A

N/A

* Plans C and F are no longer available to new enrollees as of January 1, 2020

** Requires a $20 copayment for office visits and up to a $50 copayment for emergency room visits

How To Choose The Best Medicare Supplement Plan For You - A Buyer's Guide

As you research which Medicare Supplement plan is the best fit for you, here are some points to consider:

  1. Start by reviewing Medicare Supplement policies available in your state.
  2. Check the benefits each plan contains.
  3. Make a comparison of your favorite plans to narrow down your choices.
  4. View the deductible information that will be covered, along with any out-of-pocket limits.

Because there are so many options and people's individual circumstances differ greatly, what is right for one person may not work for you. However, there are a few generalities we can discuss.

Below are a few scenarios you may find yourself in when choosing your Medicare Supplement plan, and what information you need to know for each:

SCENARIO ONE: If you have high Part A fees

Part A has three categories associated with it. These are:

  • Part A coinsurance
  • Part A hospice care coinsurance or copayment
  • Part A deductible

If you have Original Medicare and are frequently using your Part A coverage but not your Part B coverage, a plan that covers these categories would work best for you. Every plan listed above covers 100% of these categories, except for plans A, M, L and K.

SCENARIO TWO: If you have high Part B fees

There are three categories for supplement plans that cover Part B fees. These are:

  • Part B deductible
  • Part B coinsurance or copayment
  • The Part B excess charge

If you're finding yourself paying a lot of these fees, then a plan that emphasizes these fees would work best for you. Only one plan covers all of these fees: Plan F. However, Plan C covers them all, aside for the excess charge, and Plan G covers them all, aside from the Part B deductible.

When deciding which Medicare Supplement plan is right for you, think about your needs, what's offered, and what price point you're comfortable with.

Our Methodology — How We Chose The Best Medicare Supplement Companies

Choosing a Medicare plan is an extremely important decision — one which impacts both your wallet and your access to healthcare. This process of researching and selecting a Medicare plan can be daunting, leaving many feeling bombarded by information and left with more questions than answers.

With such an important decision on your plate and an overwhelming wealth of options on the table, we wanted to help you forego any stress and uncertainty while choosing the best Medicare policy. So, we did the research for you.

This comprehensive list of the best Medicare Supplement companies was created by a team of Medicare experts, using the following questions as rating criteria:

  1. Which companies have the best extra benefits?

    • While Medicare Supplement plans are standardized, some companies offer additional(and valuable) perks.
    • In a June 2020 survey of Medicare Supplement enrollees across the country, Health found that the No. 1 factor for choosing a Medicare Supplement plan is extra benefits offered (with 37.7% of respondents ranking this as their top factor)
  2. Which companies have the broadest coverage area (or plan availability)?

    • We took the time to ensure that if we recommended a company, there's a high probability that they offer plan coverage where you live.
  3. Which companies have the best rates and rate stability?

    • For most seniors, healthcare represents the second largest expense in retirement. Since Medicare Supplement premiums will vary based on factors such as which plan you choose, where you live, your age, what sorts of discounts the insurance company offers, and when you enroll, we shopped hundreds of plans across the country to ensure that we were only recommending companies who will provide you with the utmost value.
    • In fact, Health's survey of Medicare Supplement enrollees across the country found that cost is the No. 2 most important factor considered when choosing a Medicare Supplement plan (with 30.7% of respondents ranking this as their top factor)
    • In addition, we researched each company's financial rating and loss ratio. The loss ratio of a company can have a direct impact on your policy rates and rate increases.
  4. Which companies have the best customer service?
    • It's inevitable that you'll need to contact your insurer's customer support at some point. For this reason, we only recommend companies that have the highest customer satisfaction ratings.
  5. Which companies have the easiest quote process?

    • Getting and comparing rates should be easy and fast. As such, we only recommend companies that make this comparison process simple and transparent.

Our team spent 73 hours finding answers to these five questions. To offer you the most comprehensive and reliable recommendations, we:

  • went through the enrollment process for hundreds of plans offered by 19 different insurance companies,
  • interviewed Medicare beneficiaries,
  • spoke with licensed Medicare insurance agents,
  • surveyed 478 Medicare Supplement enrollees nationwide,
  • read 331 verified customer reviews,
  • checked each company's Better Business Bureau ratings,
  • verified each company's financial health using A.M. Best and The National Association of Insurance Commissioners, and
  • validated our findings against major third-party reports from organizations including Newsweek, Consumer Affairs, and Medicare.gov.

The Best Medicare Supplement Insurance Companies for 2020

Since Medicare Supplement plans are standardized, the benefits for each company are mostly the same. There are key categories in which a company can distinguish itself from its counterparts, however. They can include a person's experience with a company (customer service), the cost (the premium and discounts offered), and if they provide any additional benefit perks.

We compiled information about the top Medicare Supplement insurance companies in 2020 in the two tables below.

Medicare Supplement Plan Offerings, Discounts, and Availability by Insurance Company


States Served

Plans Offered

Best For

Discounts Offered

Medicare Part D Available?

AARP UnitedHealthcare

50

A, B, C*, F*, G, K, L, N

Best Overall

Enrollment

(up to 30%, then decreases 3% each year);


Household (5%)

Yes

Humana

50

A, B, C*, F*, High Deductible F*,G, K, L, N

Extra Benefits

Automatic Payment;


Online Enrollment

Yes

Mutual of Omaha

50

A, F*, High Deductible F*, G, N

Claims Paid on Time

Household (up to 12%)

Yes

Cigna

38

A, B, C, D, F*, G, N,

some High Deductible options

Easy Application

Household (7%)

Yes

Aetna

42

A, B, F*, High Deductible F*, G, N

Rate Stability

Household (12%)

Yes

Blue Cross Blue Shield

50

(Varies)

A Budget

(Varies)

Automatic Payment;


Year in Advance Payment;


Household

Yes

State Farm

46

A, B, C*, D, F*, G, N

Access to Local Agents

Bundled

No

Transamerica

50

A, F*, G, K, N

Coverage in Specialized States

Automatic Payment

No

* Plans C and F are no longer available to new enrollees as of January 1, 2020

Our Medicare Supplement Company Ratings

Extra Benefits

Coverage and Plan Availability

Rates

Customer Service

Quote Process

OVERALL

AARP UnitedHealthcare

★★★★★

(5.00)

★★★★★

(5.00)

★★★★★

(5.00)

★★★★★

(5.00)

★★★★★

(4.75)

★★★★★

(4.95)

Humana

★★★★★

(5.00)

★★★★★

(5.00)

★★★★★

(5.00)

★★★★★

(4.50)

★★★★★

(5.00)

★★★★★

(4.90)

Mutual of Omaha

★★★★★

(4.50)

★★★★★

(5.00)

★★★★★

(4.50)

★★★★★

(5.00)

★★★★★

(4.75)

★★★★★

(4.75)

Cigna

★★★★★

(5.00)

★★★★★

(4.50)

★★★★

(4.00)

★★★★

(4.00)

★★★★★

(5.00)

★★★★★

(4.50)

Aetna

★★★★

(3.50)

★★★★

(4.00)

★★★★★

(4.00)

★★★★

(4.00)

★★★★★

(5.00)

★★★★

(4.40)

Blue Cross Blue Shield

★★★★

(3.50)

★★★★★

(5.00)

★★★★★

(5.00)

★★★

(3.00)

★★★★

(3.50)

★★★★

(4.00)

State Farm

★★

(2.00)

★★★

(3.00)

★★★★

(3.75)

★★★★★

(5.00)

★★★★

(4.00)

★★★★

(3.55)

Transamerica

★★★

(3.00)

★★★★

(4.00)

★★★

(3.00)

★★

(2.00)

★★★★★

(5.00)

★★★★

(3.40)

AARP UnitedHealthcare

AARP UnitedHealthcare is one of the most respected companies in the industry, and they earned our best overall grade thanks to excellent marks across the board, particularly in the extra benefits they provide, their coverage and plan availability, the rates offered, and in customer service.

AARP offers eight Medicare Supplement plans (A, B, C, F, G, K, L, and N) through UnitedHealthcare in all 50 states, though these plans will vary based on where you live. Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage is also available through AARP.

Humana

Humana is another well-known name in the healthcare industry. Humana also earned high marks during our research, scoring top grades in extra benefits, coverage and plan availability, rates, and the ease of going through the quote process. Their Medicare Supplement plans are known for having the most extra benefits for free and extensive online resources.

Humana offers 10 Medicare Supplement plans (A-N) in all 50 states, and Medicare Part D is available through their insurance.

Mutual of Omaha

Mutual of Omaha is another great choice if you are looking to enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan. Mutual of Omaha earned our top grade for coverage options and plan availability, and customer service. The company's best trait is paying claims on time, which makes them a trustworthy choice if you elect to enroll in one of their Medicare Supplement plans.

Mutual of Omaha offers four plans (A, F, G, N), including a high deductible version of Plan F, in all 50 states, and you can enroll in Part D prescription drug coverage.

Cigna

Cigna is another reliable option for your Medicare Supplement coverage. This insurance company scored highest marks in extra benefits and the quote process during our review. Additionally, they are best at providing an easy application for potential enrollees.

Cigna provides plenty of options for you to choose from with seven plan choices (A, B, C, D, F, G, N) and some high deductible options. Available in all 50 states, Cigna also offers Part D coverage if you need to enroll in a prescription drug plan.

Aetna

Aetna is a popular choice for Medicare Supplement enrollees. While not known for the quality of extra benefits they provide, Aetna is a reliable company which offers great rates and their quote process is top-notch. Speaking of rates, we ranked Aetna's rate stability as Aetna's best-in-class.

Where Aetna falls a little behind its competitors is availability — coverage is offered in 42 states. There are some good plan options, however, as plans A, B, F, G, and N are offered, including the high deductible version of Plan F. Part D drug coverage is included with Aetna plans.

Blue Cross Blue Shield

Blue Cross Blue Shield is a staple in the Medicare Supplement business. They earned top grades for coverage and plan availability and rates, but their extra benefits and customer service experience grades set them behind some of the other companies. The insurance scored best in budget-friendly plan options.

Blue Cross Blue Shield is offered in all 50 states, but the plans you can choose vary depending on where you live. You can enroll in a Part D plan with Blue Cross Blue Shield.

State Farm

State Farm is another well-known insurance company which offers Medicare Supplement plan options. State Farm's best attribute is its customer service — they earned our best score based on the access they provide to local agents. Although they set the bar for customer service, State Farm lags behind the competition in most of the other categories, especially extra benefits and coverage and plan availability.

State Farm offers plans in 46 states and its Medicare Supplement options are A, B, C, D, F, G, and N. You do not have the option to choose a Part D plan with State Farm.

Transamerica

Transamerica rounds out our list of top Medicare Supplement plan providers. The company earned its high grade for its quote process, and its coverage and plan availability are also quite impressive. Transamerica's best attribute is its coverage options offered in specialized states. Despite those scores, Transamerica leaves much to be desired in the areas of customer service, extra benefits, and rates.

Transamerica plans are available in all 50 states, and five plans are offered (A, F G, K, and N). Medicare Part D coverage is not available through this company.

Sources:

  1. https://www.aarpsupplementalhealth.com/content/dam/uhcmedsupstats/2019MedigapReports/WB26911ST.pdf
  2. https://www.aarpsupplementalhealth.com/content/dam/uhcmedsupstats/customer-satisfaction-survey/WB26910ST_Gongos_Report_2019.pdf
  3. http://www.medicaregroupretiree.com/choosing-medicare-aarp-supplement-insurance.html
  4. https://www.bcbs.com/about-us/the-blue-cross-blue-shield-system