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Medicare Supplement plans (also called Medigap Insurance) were standardized in 1992. In 2010, 10 Medicare Supplement plans are available. These plans are labeled Plan A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M and N.

Each type of plan offers different combinations of benefits, ranging from the basic coverage of Medigap Plan A to the comprehensive coverage of Medigap Plan F. Every other plan includes the basic benefits of Plan A along with other combinations of additional benefits.

Standardization guarantees that every Plan A, for instance, will give you the same coverage regardless of which insurance company sells it. While that makes it much easier to decide which plan fits your needs best, it does not help to clarify premium pricing.

Is Comparison shopping Necessary To Get A Good Price On Medigap Insurance?

Medigap policies that have the same benefits are being sold for strikingly different premium prices, according to the country’s leading independent provider of analyses and ratings, Weiss Ratings, Inc. While insurers are required to offer the standardized benefits for Plan F, for example, insurers are not regulated regarding how much they charge for that Plan F.

To analyze differences in pricing, Weiss looked at the premium rates from 117 insurers out of 159 insurance companies offering Medicare Supplement Insurance across the country. Wide variations in price were seen for all Medigap plans.

In 2005,
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the national average price that a 65 year old woman was paying for Medigap Insurance ranged from $1,159 to $3,443. When Weiss analyzed variations in pricing for specific Medigap plans, the range bordered on the unbelievable. For example, Medigap Plan C was being sold for anywhere from just $651 to over $9,000!

The difference in price for Medigap Plan F, which has been the most popular of the plans possibly because it offers the most complete coverage, was even greater. The prices ranged from a mere $516 to a whopping $10,788.80! Huge price fluctuations were also seen among the other Medigap plans.

Different pricing methodologies and underwriting standards, regional health care costs and population health status as well as state regulation policies were all seen to influence the surprising difference in price for the exact same coverage.

How Can You Find The Best Medicare Supplement Price In Your State?

First, review what you’ve been paying for health care recently. Are you spending more for doctors or hospitals? Take your largest medical expense and see which Medicare Supplement plans can pay those bills for you.

Next, do the same for your second largest health care cost. When you’ve narrowed your choices down to one or two Medigap plans that can take the biggest bite out of your medical bills, you’re ready for phase two of your search.

Comparing what different insurers are charging for your preferred plan(s) is essential to help you get the best value in Medigap Insurance. The easiest way to do that is to review plans from different insurers online where an independent agency specializing in Medicare Supplement Insurance lists the plans that are available in your state from different insurance companies.

Yes, it does take a lot of time, but certain independent agencies also provide free consultations to help you compare Medigap policies from different insurance companies. As independent agents, their commissions are paid regardless of which company you decide to purchase from so there’s no incentive for them to push you toward any one insurer’s plans.

With the dramatic differences in cost of the exact same Medigap plan, you can literally save hundreds or thousands of dollars with smart comparison shopping. If comparing the plans or the insurers’ pricing gets too overwhelming, get some professional assistance without paying anything extra for that expert advice.
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