The 6 Best Medicare Supplement Plan G Providers of 2020

Guidance for choosing the best extra coverage options for Medicare

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First Look

Original Medicare does not pay for everything. In 2016, Medicare beneficiaries spent more than $5,400 out of pocket for health care and more than $7,400 when they did not have supplemental insurance. Thankfully, Medicare Supplement Plans, also known as Medigap, help fill in the gaps. Medicare Supplement Plan G, in particular, offers the broadest coverage for new Medicare beneficiaries.

Medicare Supplement Plan G, like other Medigap plans (A through N), is standardized by the federal government. Available in all states but Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, it covers out-of-pocket costs for Original Medicare, including deductibles, copays, and coinsurance for approved Part A and Part B services—a list that includes medications covered by Part B.

WARNING: The Medicare Supplement F Plan is the most comprehensive plan for lowering out-of-pocket costs. As of January 1, 2020, however, people who become eligible for Medicare after that date cannot enroll in Plan F. If you were eligible for Medicare before January 1, 2020, you may still enroll in Plan F.

Medicare Supplement G Plans have stepped up as the leader in having the lowest out-of-pocket costs, covering everything F plans do, with the exception of the Part B deductible ($198 in 2020). To help you find the best Medicare Supplement Plan G provider, we compared and ranked the top plans, taking into consideration price, discounts, geographic coverage, user experience, and more.

Our Top Picks

Humana: Best Overall Plan

Humana

Humana

Pros
  • 24/7 nurse line

  • High-deductible plans in most states

  • Multiple discount programs

  • Offers dental, vision, and Part D plans for extra coverage

Cons
  • Rates increase based on age

We chose Humana for its intuitive website, mobile app, household discounts, and many other perks, as well as its coverage in 47 states. Humana was founded in 1961 as a nursing home company, and it began selling health insurance in the 1980s. It offers Medicare Supplement Plan G in all 47 states where traditional Medicare Supplement Plans are available. High-Deductible Plan G is available in all of those states except Missouri.

The Humana website discusses many Medicare topics, including eligibility, coverage, and costs for each part of Medicare. It is instinctive to navigate and can be a great resource for common questions about the program. You can turn to its mobile app, MyHumana, to access your benefits on the go.

There are many perks to enrolling in a Humana Medicare Supplement Plan G. A 5% household discount off your premiums is available if you live with another policyholder and you can take off even more if you arrange for automatic bank payments. Its 24/7 nursing line is especially helpful if you have medical questions, and it also offers a basic SilverSneakers gym membership available at over 15,000 locations in the U.S., plus discounts on hearing aids, non-prescription medications, and vision exams.

Its pricing, like many other Medicare Supplement companies, is based on attained age. This means that you will pay more for your plan as you age. Other factors, like inflation, could also contribute to rises in premiums. Humana did not provide rates to us over the phone. For specific pricing, you will need to complete an application for a formal quote.

To enroll in one of Humana’s Medicare Supplement Plan G offerings, fill out a simple form on its website with your gender, date of birth, start dates for Medicare Parts A and Part B coverage, and your desired coverage start date. You can also call and request a quote as well.

AARP by UnitedHealthcare: Best Pricing

AARP by UnitedHealthcare

AARP by UnitedHealthcare

Pros
  • Best discounts for people new to Medicare

  • User-friendly website

  • Rates do not increase based on age

  • Offers Part D drug plans

Cons
  • Does not offer high-deductible Plan G

  • Requires dues for AARP membership

Unlike many other Medicare Supplement companies, AARP UnitedHealthcare uses community-rated pricing in most states. Under this model, everyone in the community is charged at the same rate, regardless of age or gender. This can be beneficial because your premiums will not increase as you age, though, like any plan, they could still increase as a result of inflation.

Founded in 1977, UnitedHealthcare is the insurance arm of UnitedHealth Group. In 1997, it partnered with AARP, one of America’s largest advocacy groups for people over 50 years old. Together, they offer Medicare Supplement Plan G—which is available in all states except for Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. High-deductible plans are not available at this time.

Their website is chock full of helpful information and is easy to use. When enrolling in a plan, you can visit their website for an online chat, or call them 7 days a week. To be eligible for an AARP UnitedHealthcare Medicare Supplement Plan G, you must be an AARP member. Membership costs $16 per year and comes with many perks such as financial advisory tools, health and wellness programs, shopping discounts, and more.

UnitedHealthcare provides discount programs tailored for its Medicare Supplement Plan G. These include a New to Medicare discount up to 39% in your first year, a 5% household discount when two or more people living together are enrolled in its Medigap plans, discounts for using automatic bank payments ($2 per month), and a $24 discount if you pay your premiums up front for the year. Check with your representative for availability in your state.

Aetna: Best Price Transparency

Aetna

Aetna

Pros
  • 24/7 nurse line

  • Household discount program (up to 14%)

  • Offers dental, vision, and Part D plans for extra coverage

  • Rates available online

Cons
  • Rates increase based on age

  • Cannot sign up online

When it comes to price transparency, Aetna is the clear winner. It uses attained-age pricing and is the only company on the list to provide rates for Medicare Supplement Plan G right on its website. From the homepage, select your state in the dropdown box to view Medicare Supplement State Insurance Plans, and with a few more clicks you can easily generate an Outline of Coverage PDF file with rate information for the plan based on age, gender, and ZIP code. Speaking with an agent directly, Plan G starts at $122 per month for a man who lives in Lansing, Michigan. Rates vary by location.

While the website is full of useful information, you can also turn to the company's mobile app, Aetna HealthSM, and its Medicare Nurse Line 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The one thing you cannot do online is to sign up for a plan—you must reach out to an Aetna agent by phone.

Aetna was founded in 1853 and was acquired by CVS Health Corporation in 2018. It offers Medicare Supplement Plan G in 40 states, excluding Alaska, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin. High-Deductible Plan G is available in 13 states, including Alabama, Arizona, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina.

Aetna’s Medicare Supplement Plan G has a premium discount of 7% if someone in your home is also on one of its plans. This includes a spouse, someone with whom you have a civil union partnership, or anyone who has lived with you for 12 months or more. The availability of household discounts could otherwise vary from state to state.

If you would also like to sign up for a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan, Aetna has some of the best. They have multiple Part D plans rates that rate 4 or higher on the Medicare Five-Star Rating System. 

Blue Cross Blue Shield: Best Discounts

Blue Cross Blue Shield

Blue Cross Blue Shield

Pros
  • 24/7 nurse line

  • Multiple discount programs

  • Offers dental, hearing, vision, and Part D plans for extended coverage

Cons
  • Few states offer High-Deductible plan

  • Rates increase based on age

Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) companies offer a number of discount programs for Medicare Supplement Plan G. Blue of California, for example, offers a New to Medicare discount for your first year ($25 per month), discounts for using automatic bank payments ($3 per month), discounts for enrolling in a dental plan at the same time ($3 per month), and a 7% discount if you and someone else in your household sign up for BCBS Medigap plans.

If you are looking for a company with Medicare experience, know that BCBS, founded in 1929, was the first company to manage Medicare claims in 1966. It has grown to include more than 36 companies, notably Anthem, CareFirst, Highmark, and the Regence Group. Altogether, BCBS offers Medicare Supplement Plan G in 44 states, excluding Alabama, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Utah, and Wisconsin. High-Deductible Plan G is available in 16 states, including Alaska, Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Wyoming.

Although AARP by UnitedHealthcare offers a higher New to Medicare discount in its first year, BCBS offers the most discount savings over time. Check with your state’s plan for details about BCBS discount programs. In Lansing, Michigan, rates for us started at $125 per month but may vary where you live.

BCBS prices Medicare Supplement Plan G according to attained-age in most states. To enroll in a plan, visit its main website. It will direct you to the specific company in your state that offers Plan G. Actual rates are not available online—you will need to reach out to an agent for a quote.

Not only does BCBS offer dental coverage, but it also offers vision and hearing aid benefits. To round out your healthcare needs, BCBS offers 4- to 5-Star Medicare Part D prescription drug plans, available for purchase with your Medicare Supplement Plan G. As a bonus, a nurse line is available 24/7.

Cigna: Best User Experience

Cigna

Cigna

Pros
  • 24/7 nurse line

  • Friendly website

  • Household discount program (up to 7%)

  • Two mobile apps (one for benefits, one for wellness)

Cons
  • Limited high-deductible plans

  • Rates increase based on age

Cigna stands out for its customer service and user-friendly website that explains how Medicare Supplement plans work. Its customer support is rounded out by access to a 24/7 nursing line for your healthcare questions. It also offers two mobile apps, the myCigna Mobile app used to track your benefits, and the Cigna Wellbeing App that provides information about chronic conditions like diabetes, wellness tips, healthy recipes, telehealth consultations with a medical professional, and tools to track your weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar.

Founded in 1792, Cigna entered the health care industry in 1912. It offers Medicare Supplement Plan G in 46 states—Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, and Wisconsin are excluded—but has limited options for High-Deductible Plan G, which is only available in North Carolina.

Its price structure is based on an attained model in the majority of states it serves. Under this model, prices increase regularly based on your age. Its quote process is a bit lengthy: you can request a quote online by providing your name, date of birth, zip code, phone number, email address, and start dates of Medicare Parts A and B coverage. You can also get a free quote by calling one of their representatives. Speaking with an agent, we were quoted $154 per month for a 65-year old man new to Medicare. Rates may vary by age, smoking status, and location.

Not only does Cigna offer competitive rates, it offers discounts of 7% if someone in your household is also on a Cigna Medicare Supplement Plan. In Washington, the discount is only available for spouses. The discount is not available in California, Hawaii, Idaho, New Jersey, or Vermont.

It may be convenient to use a single company for all your Medicare needs, and Cigna also offers Part D plans for prescription drug coverage. It has many plans that rank 4 stars or higher on the Medicare Five Star-Rating System.

Mutual of Omaha: Best Access for High-Deductible Plan G

Mutual of Omaha

Mutual of Omaha

Pros
  • High-deductible plans in most states

  • Household discount program

  • Offers dental and Part D plans for extra coverage

Cons
  • Limited information on the website

  • Rates increase based on age

Mutual of Omaha offers Medicare Supplement Plan G in all 47 states where traditional Medicare Supplement Plans are available, and High-Deductible Plan G in all of those states except New York. If you don’t spring for a Humana plan (our best overall pick), this is your next best option for a High-Deductible Plan G. Founded in 1904, it was one of the first carriers to provide Medicare coverage (in 1966).

Its plans rely on attained-age ratings in the majority of states with price increases based on your age. As with any insurance plan, your monthly premiums could also increase based on inflation.

The Mutual of Omaha website is limited and does not provide details about its Medicare Supplement Plans. To get a quote, complete a simple online form with your name, age, address, phone number, and e-mail address (optional). You can also call to reach an agent. The company did not provide us with pricing information over the phone.

Mutual of Omaha offers policyholders up to 12% household discount if you are married or live with someone who is 60 years or older, even if you are not both enrolled in one of their plans. It also offers Medicare Part D plans as well as dental, disability, life, and long-term care insurance.

How We Chose the Best Medicare Plan G Providers

Using the Medigap Find a Plan search engine, all companies offering Plan G and High-Deductible Plan G were considered. Subsidiaries of larger umbrella companies, e.g., Blue Cross Blue Shield, were taken as one entity rather than as separate companies. Of those carriers, the review was narrowed down to those offering plans in 40 states or more.

Each carrier’s website was then reviewed to note the ease of use and price transparency. Consideration was also given to the types of plans offered, whether they are attained-age rated (prices increase based on age), issue-age rated (prices are based on the age you first sign up and don’t go up), or community-rated (everyone receives the same rate regardless of age). Since the majority of carriers rely on attained-age ratings, plans that use other models stand out. Any perks offered by these companies were also highlighted.

How to Shop and Compare Medicare Supplement Plan G

Step 1: Decide If an Advantage Plan Is Right for You

When you sign up for Medicare, or during Open Enrollment, you must first decide if you want to be on Original Medicare or Medicare Advantage. Original Medicare has a nationwide network of providers but has fixed benefits. Medicare Advantage plans are based on a local network of providers but can offer additional benefits. If you sign up for Original Medicare, you are eligible for a Medicare Supplement Plan.

Explainer: You cannot sign up for a Medicare Supplement Plan if you are on Medicare Advantage.

Step 2: Choose a Regular or High-Deductible Plan G

If you would like a Medicare Supplement Plan and choose Plan G, decide if you would like a Regular or a High-Deductible Plan G. High-deductible plans will pay your Medicare out-of-pocket costs after you pay an annual deductible, which was set at $2,340 for 2020. These plans will have lower monthly premiums than a regular plan. You will need to decide if paying more in monthly payments makes more sense financially than paying higher costs when you need care.

Step 3: Determine Which Medicare Supplement Plan Gs Are Available

Medicare offers a Find a Plan database to help you search for Medigap plans by ZIP code. For more accurate pricing, enter your age, gender, and whether or not you use tobacco. Scroll to Medicare Plan G or Medicare Plan G High-Deductible to get a quick overview of costs and coverage. Finally, select View Policies for the list of specific insurance companies offering that plan in your area. You will need to reach out to those companies individually to get official quotes.

Step 4: Ask a Medicare Specialist About Medicare Supplement Plan G

Common issues include when to sign up for the best rates (Medigap Open Enrollment is different than Medicare Open Enrollment), understanding guaranteed issue rights, and transitioning from a Medicare SELECT plan to Medigap. Your local State Health Insurance Assistance Program or State Insurance Department can help you navigate issues like these.

Step 5: Enroll in Medicare Supplement Plan G

Some plans will allow you to enroll online on their company website. Others may require you to speak with an agent. Regardless, you will need to gather the necessary information to complete your application. There is no option to sign up on the Medicare website.

Every Medicare Supplement Plan G covers the same items. In that way, choosing the best plan is less about coverage than it is about pricing and customer service. After researching the companies offering Plan G in all 50 states (as listed in Medicare’s Medigap Find a Plan database as of September 2020), these six companies stood out for their cost structure, website friendliness, and perks.

Medicare F Went Away, Will Plan G Stick Around?

When Congress passed the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) of 2015, it changed which Medicare Supplement Plans could be made available to new Medicare beneficiaries. The law required discontinued plans that paid the Part B deductible. This is why, starting on January 1, 2020, Medicare Plans C and F were no longer available to people who were newly eligible for Medicare. There are no current plans to discontinue Plan G, and high-deductible plans were made available for the first time in 2020.

Does Medicare Part G Plan Cover Acupuncture Services?

Medicare Supplement Plans do not pay for health services directly. Instead, they cover the left-over costs for Medicare-approved services that Part A or Part B did not pay in full. Original Medicare does cover acupuncture for chronic low back pain. If you meet the specific criteria for acupuncture services, Part G will cover the remaining costs. Medicare does not cover acupuncture for other indications.

Does Medicare Part G Plan Cover Chiropractic Services?

Medicare covers limited chiropractic services. Specifically, it covers spinal manipulation to correct a subluxation, an alignment issue of the spine that causes pain and/or functional impairments. Part B covers 80% of those costs and Part G will cover the remaining 20%. Other chiropractic services like X-rays or massage are not covered.

What Is the Typical Cost of a Medicare Supplement Plan G?

Costs for Medicare Supplement Plans vary widely depending on your age, gender, and where you live. Chronic medical conditions are taken into account, including whether or not you smoke and if you sign up after the one-time Medigap Open Enrollment Period that starts when you first enroll in Medicare Part B and ends six months later.

Plan G costs were reviewed across four regions of the United States in 2020. Based on ages 65 to 75 years old, gender, smoking status, and cost summaries from Medicare’s Find a Plan search engine, Part G costs ranged $189 to $432 on the east coast (New York), $104 to $479 in the midwest (Michigan), $88 to $417 in the south (Texas), and $115 to $308 on the west coast (California). Costs could be higher or lower based on specific regional data.

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Article Sources
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