Best Medicare Supplement Plans California

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Contributor, Benzinga
October 12, 2022

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Medicare Supplement Plans are optional insurance add-ons that help to pay for certain expenses that are not covered by Original Medicare. The policies are standardized across all companies, which means that all of the best Medical Supplement Plans in California offer identical benefits, regardless of the company you choose to provide your coverage. 

Best Medicare Supplement Plans in California

Key Points

BZ

 

  • Medicare Supplement Plans are insurance policy add-ons that cover the costs of medical and hospital care that Original Medicare does not cover.
  • Medicare Supplement Plans are sometimes referred to as Medigap policies because they fill in the gaps in your Original Medicare coverage.
  • Medigap only works along with Original Medicare, which means that if you are not eligible for or do not already have Medicare, then you are not eligible for Medicare Supplement Plans.
  • California has a unique Medigap birthday rule that allows you to switch Medigap plans during your birth month without needing to answer any medical questions.

What Is a Medicare Supplement Plan?

Medicare Supplement Plans are insurance plan add-ons that help pay for medical expenses not covered by an Original Medicare plan. Some examples of coverages that may be covered with your Medicare Supplement Plan can include your Part A deductible and medical expenses incurred out of the country. You must already have Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B in order to purchase a supplemental policy. 

Medigap

The term Medigap is another way to describe a Medicare Supplement Plan. The name refers to the fact that these supplement plans essentially fill in the gaps where Medicare does not cover costs incurred. When you enroll in Original Medicare, you will have the option to purchase a Medigap policy that fits with your needs. 

Plan F

Medicare Plan F includes the following coverages: 

  • Part A coinsurance and hospital costs up to an additional 365 days
  • Part B coinsurance or copayment
  • Blood (first 3 pints)
  • Part A hospice care coinsurance or copayment
  • Skilled nursing facility care coinsurance
  • Part A and Part B deductible
  • Part B excess charges
  • 80% of foreign travel exchange

Plan F is not available for those individuals who were newly eligible for Medicare after Jan. 1, 2020. Plan F does offer a high-deductible plan in California with select providers, which allows you access to Plan F coverage with a lower monthly premium. 

Plan G

Plan G’s benefits are almost identical to those offered by Plan F. The only difference between Plan G and Plan F is that Plan G does not cover your Part B deductible. Unlike Plan F, anyone can purchase Plan G coverage, no matter when they first became eligible for Medicare. 

Changing Medicare Supplement Plans in California

Most of the time you won’t have the right to switch your Medigap policy unless you are still within your Medicare Supplement Plan Open Enrollment Period. Your enrollment period is a 6-month period that begins the day that your Part B benefits go into effect. 

If you are outside of this enrollment period, it will be more difficult to get a Medigap policy and may be impossible to switch plans, or at least impossible to switch plans without having to answer medical questions. However, California is among the few states that has a Medigap birthday rule. 

California’s Medigap birthday rule allows for anyone with a Medigap plan to switch plans each year during their birthday month. During this month you are not subject to answering medical questions, which makes it easier to switch policies. The one caveat is that you can only switch to an equal or lesser-benefit Medigap plan. 

The process to switch is simple enough as long as you adhere to the rules:

  1. Call your Medigap insurance provider and arrange to apply for a new Medigap policy. 
  2. If your application is accepted, call your current insurance company and ask to end your coverage. The company will tell you how to go about requesting to end your coverage. 
  3. Don’t cancel your old Medigap plan until you are satisfied with your new Medigap plan. You have a 30-day, free-look period that allows you to take 30 days to decide whether you like your new plan or not.      

Medicare Supplement Provider Reviews

Now that you understand the basics of how Medicare supplemental insurance works and how the standardized benefits work, take a look at a few reputable Medigap plan providers offering coverage in California.

CoverRight: Best for Assisted Choice

Medicare is pretty confusing. Knowing what type of coverage you need as well as as your options is a vital part of choosing the right plan. CoverRight is a free platform offering assistance throughout the entirety of the application process.

  • CoverRight Medsupp General
    Best For:
    People 64+ who want the best Medicare Advantage or Medicare Supplement Plan
    securely through CoverRight Medsupp General's website

    Only available to consumers in the following US states: Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington (State), West Virginia.

Humana: Best for Plan Selection

Humana offers a wide range of plan coverages in California, and you can easily sort plans by premiums and medical deductibles. For those eligible for Medicare on or after Jan. 1, 2020, you can choose between Plan A, Plan B, Plan K, Plan L and Plan N, in addition to both standard and high-deductible Plan G options.

If you qualified for Medicare before Jan. 1, 2020, you can also choose between standard and high-deductible Plan F coverage as well as Plan C options. 

Mutual of Omaha: Best for Plan F Options

If you were enrolled in Medicare before 2020, you have the option to purchase Plan F coverage. Plan F covers a wide range of comprehensive coverages, including your Part B deductible and Part A coinsurance. Though not everyone can purchase Plan F coverage, this option is one of the only choices if you’re looking for Part B deductible coverage.

Mutual of Omaha has solid Plan F options to choose from.

Aetna: Best for Spousal Coverage

For seniors living on a limited income, the decision on which Medicare Supplemental policy they choose largely comes down to monthly price. This is especially true if you have a spouse who’s also on Medicare and interested in getting their own Supplemental plan. Unlike private health insurance policies, you’ll need to purchase an individual Supplemental insurance for each person who needs coverage, which can quickly equal hundreds of dollars in monthly premiums.

Aetna is one of the only Medicare Supplemental plan providers to offer discounts for spouses enrolled in a Medigap policy together. Depending on the policy you choose, both you and your spouse may save up to $50 a month on coverage. Aetna also offers premium-free high deductible Plan F options in most parts of California as well. 

EasyMedicare: Best for Further Education

If you’re approaching age 65 and you haven’t already done your research on Medicare and its many parts, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed at the process of selecting a policy. If this is the situation you’re finding yourself in, getting a helping hand from easyMedicare might be the right first step for you. 

Choosing a Medicare Supplement Plan California

Plenty of Medigap plan options are available throughout the state of California. Choosing the right Medicare Supplement Plans California requires you to consider your age, your health, your lifestyle and whether you have any health concerns or conditions that need special care. Start your search early and get quotes from multiple recommended providers to be sure that you’re ready to enroll when your personal open enrollment period arrives. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q

How often can you switch Medicare supplement plans in California?

A

You can switch Medicare supplement plans every year during your birth month in California.

Q

Is a high deductible Plan G available in California?

A

Yes, a high-deductible Plan G is available in California from select providers.

Q

When can I change my Medicare supplement plan for 2021?

A

You can attempt to change your Medicare Supplement plan at any time during the year. However, be aware that you’ll likely be required to answer medical questions, and you may be denied coverage if your open enrollment period has passed — unless you’re a California resident and it’s your birth month.

About Sarah Horvath

Sarah is an expert in the insurance, investing for retirement and cryptocurrency space.