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A non-government resource,
powered by health insurance experts.

How Much Do California Medicare Supplement Plans Cost?

The Golden State is more than just a place with beautiful sunsets over the Pacific. California also has the highest number of people – more than 3.7 million – who are enrolled in Original Medicare.

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You must have Medicare Part A and B to buy Medicare Supplement insurance (also called Medigap). Medigap helps you pay for out-of-pocket costs, such as copayments, when you visit a doctor.

With 29 California Medicare Supplement companies to choose from, you’ll have no trouble finding coverage to help you stay healthy in your golden years.

How Much Do California Medicare Supplement Plans Cost?

The average monthly premium for Medicare Supplement in California is about $151. But prices vary based on the type of plan, the insurance carrier you choose, and where you live.

Take the state’s most populated city, Los Angeles, for example. If you live in this area, you could pay as low as $21 per month or up to $372 depending on the plan letter you choose.

Below are the typical price ranges for Plans A through N in Los Angeles as of October 2019. You can use these prices as an estimate for how much Medicare Supplement plans cost.

Plan A: $71 – $194

Plan B: $112 – $193

Plan C: $125 – $250

Plan D: $106 – 221

Plan F: $119 – 372

Plan F-HD: $21 – $74

Plan G: $110 –  $253

Plan K: $45 – $106

Plan L: $76 – $157

Plan M: $107 – $199

Plan N: $73 – $231

California Medicare Supplement premiums usually increase as you age. This is called an attained-age rating, which is the most common rating in the state. Insurance companies can also use an issue-age rating, where prices don’t increase based on age, or a community-age rating, where prices are the same for everyone.

If you’re under 65 and qualify for Medigap, many California insurance companies will charge you more for the same policy than if you’re 65 or older. You’ll likely pay more if you’re a smoker. Gender can impact how much you pay as well.

Who Offers Medigap Plans in California?

UnitedHealthcare/AARP offers nearly 65 percent of all California Medigap plans. As of August 2019, California AARP Medicare Supplement plans are available in most types except for Plans D, High-deductible Plan F, and Plan M.

Other top 10 Medigap insurers in California as of 2019 are:

According to the California Department of Insurance, other companies that sell Medigap include American National Life Insurance Company, Anthem Blue Cross, Blue Shield of California, Combined Insurance Company of America, Everence Association, Inc., Gerber Life Insurance Company, and Globe Life And Accident Insurance Company.

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What Types of Medigap Plans Are Available In California?

Medigap (Medicare Supplement) is a type of insurance plan that helps cover some to all  “gaps” in Medicare Part A hospital insurance and Medicare Part B medical insurance.

These coverage gaps include out-of-pocket costs such as copayments, unlimited co-insurance, and deductibles. Medigap plans are sold by private insurance companies, but designed by the government.

California allows all 10 standard #Medigap plans (A through N), including the high-deductible version of Plan F. Click To Tweet

Companies are not required to sell every plan, but California Medigap insurers at least offer Plan A. If a company wants to offer more options, then it must also offer Plan C or Plan F. But once 2020 rolls around, these plans can no longer be offered to new Medicare enrollees. Companies must offer Plan D or Plan G instead.

The California legislature has already changed the law to reference Plan G instead of Plan F where appropriate. However, if you’re already enrolled in Plan C or Plan F, you will be able to keep your plan for life.

How Many Californians Join Each Medicare Supplement Plan?

About 29 percent of Californians with Medicare also have a Medigap plan. In other words, more than 995,000 Californians are enrolled in Medigap. Here is the number of California residents enrolled in each plan as of 2017.

Plan A: 6,576

Plan B: 3,162

Plan C: 11,427

Plan D: 1,919

Plan F: 373,889

Plan G: 29,242

Plan K: 6,392

Plan L: 2,828

Plan M: 20

Plan N: 62,363

When Can Californians Enroll in Medicare Supplement?

Federal and state law gives you the right to enroll in a plan without going through a health screening (called medical underwriting) during your Medigap Open Enrollment Period. Your enrollment period starts when your Medicare Part B coverage becomes effective, and lasts for six months.

If you’re 65 or older during your Medigap enrollment period, you can buy any plan that’s available in your area at the lowest monthly premium for your age. Outside of your OEP or another guaranteed issue period, California Medicare Supplement insurance companies aren’t required to sell you a plan.

Why Is a Medicare Supplement Plan a Good Choice for Californians?

Plans Available if You’re Under 65: Medicare Supplement plans in California are also available if you’re under 65 and qualify for Medicare because of a disability. You’ll have open enrollment rights for six months after you enroll in Medicare Part B (except if you qualify due to end-stage renal disease). During this time, you have a guaranteed issue right to join Medigap plans A, B, C, F, K, L, M, or N. Unfortunately, monthly plan premiums are not price controlled for people under the age of 65.

More Chances to Enroll: As a California resident with Medicare, you also get a 6 month right to enroll in Medicare Supplement without penalty after any of these four events:

  1. Termination of employment or retirement plan
  2. Moving out of the plan’s service area
  3. Loss of military health coverage
  4. Loss of Medi-Cal benefits

California Medigap Birthday Rule: If you’re lucky enough to call California home, you will get a chance each year to switch to a different Medigap plan that offers the same or lesser coverage, without penalty, within 30 days of your birthday. California is only one of two states that has this  specific opportunity to change plans.

Medigap Plans California: Sample Scenarios

Gwen, a 65-year-old female in Santa Clara could enroll in Medicare Supplement Plan B (an add-on to Part B) for about $121 a month or $1,452 a year. Plan B would help pay for costs that Original Medicare doesn’t cover.

In Gwen’s case, her Medicare Part A hospital coinsurance, 20 percent Part B copayment for doctor’s visits, and Part A deductible (basically $1,364 per admission in 2019) would have come out of her purse, even with Original Medicare coverage.

Now, each time Gwen visits her doctor or is admitted to the hospital, her Medigap Plan B policy would cover these costs!

For about the same price, Gwen could also choose California Medicare Supplement Plan G and get all the benefits of Plan B plus more. Plan G would cover Gwen’s Medicare Part B excess charges, skilled nursing facility co-insurance, and even help pay for foreign travel emergency care.

Larry, a 70-year-old male in Oakland could choose Plan G and pay about $143 per month. Because Medigap plans nationwide are standardized per letter type, no matter the company Larry buys from or the area he lives in, he would get all the same Plan G benefits as Gwen.

Where to Get a California Medicare Supplement Plan makes it easy to get free, personalized quotes for California Medicare Supplement insurance. Just enter your ZIP code to find out how much Medicare Supplement plans cost in your area.

We’ll connect you to a licensed California insurance agent who can find the right Medigap plan for your needs.

by Leonie Dennis – October 2019