Understanding Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan Costs
Medicare Supplement Insurance plans can help cover some Medicare out-of-pocket costs, such as deductibles, copayments and coinsurance. Learn more about Medigap plans.
Deciding whether Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) is worth the cost is a personal decision that depends on several factors, including whether you’re looking for lower monthly premium totals or lower out-of-pocket costs for your health care.
To learn more, you can speak with a licensed insurance agent from who can help you evaluate your insurance needs.
Medigap can help cover some Original Medicare out-of-pocket costs
Medicare Supplement Insurance plans are sold by private insurance companies and can help cover some of Original Medicare’s out-of-pocket costs, such as deductibles, copayments and coinsurance.
Medicare Part A and Part B deductibles
Each part of Medicare has a deductible you must meet before Medicare begins paying its share for covered services.
In 2021, the Medicare Part A deductible is $1,484 per benefit period, and the Medicare Part B deductible is $203 per year.
Medicare Part A benefit periods are based on how long you’ve been discharged from the hospital. A benefit period resets once you’ve been out of the hospital for 60 days.
If you return to the hospital for inpatient care after 60 days has passed since your last inpatient care, you will pay the Part A deductible again, because your benefit period will reset.
If you enroll in a Medigap plan that covers the Medicare Part A and/or Part B deductible, you may find that the plan’s monthly premiums are worth the cost if those premiums total less than your expected costs reaching the Medicare deductibles.
Medicare Part A and Part B coinsurance
Once you meet your Part A deductible, you will pay a coinsurance for covered hospital services.
For your first 60 days that you are in the hospital, you pay a $0 coinsurance for your hospital costs after meeting your $1,484 deductible.
For days 61-90 in a hospital during a single benefit period, you pay a $371 coinsurance in 2021 for each day you are hospitalized.
If you are in the hospital for more than 90 days during a single benefit period, you pay a $742 coinsurance in 2021 for each day you are hospitalized for up to 60 lifetime reserve days.
Once you meet your Part B deductible, your Part B coinsurance is generally 20 percent of the Medicare approved amount for covered services.
* Plan F and Plan C are not available to Medicare beneficiaries who became eligible for Medicare on or after January 1, 2020. If you became eligible for Medicare before 2020,... you may still be able to enroll in Plan F or Plan C as long as they are available in your area.
1 Plans F and G offer high-deductible plans that each have an annual deductible of $2,370 in 2021. Once the annual deductible is met, the plan pays 100% of covered services for the rest of the year. The high-deductible Plan F is not available to new beneficiaries who became eligible for Medicare on or after January 1, 2020.
2 Plan K has an out-of-pocket yearly limit of $6,220 in 2021. After you pay the out-of-pocket yearly limit and yearly Part B deductible, it pays 100% of covered services for the rest of the calendar year.
3 Plan L has an out-of-pocket yearly limit of $3,110 in 2021. After you pay the out-of-pocket yearly limit and yearly Part B deductible, it pays 100% of covered services for the rest of the calendar year.
4 Plan N pays 100% of the Part B coinsurance, except for a copayment of up to $20 for some office visits and up to $50 copayment for emergency room visits that don’t result in an inpatient admission.+ Read more
Medicare Supplement Insurance plan costs
Medicare Supplement Insurance plans help cover some of the out-of-pocket costs listed above, but coverage levels will vary depending on the specific Medigap plan you enroll in.
In 2018, the national average premium for Medigap Plan F (the most popular Medigap plan) was around $143 per month.1
Your Medicare Supplement Insurance premium is paid in addition to:
Your Medicare Part A premium (if you have one — most people do not)
Your Medicare Part B premium ($148.50 per month in 2021)
Any Medicare out-of-pocket costs that are not covered by your Medigap plan
Although Medicare Supplement Insurance plans help cover some out-of-pocket costs, they still don’t cover some health care costs such as prescription drugs, dental care and vision care.
If you enroll in Medicare Supplement Insurance and want coverage for prescription drugs, you can enroll in a Medicare prescription drug plan (Medicare Part D) to help cover the cost of some prescription drugs.
The average Part D monthly premium in 2021 is $41.64,2 which you pay in addition to your Medicare Part B premium, your Medicare Part A premium (if you have one) and your Medicare Supplement Insurance plan premium.
Neither Original Medicare nor Medicare Supplement Insurance cover dental or vision care. Generally, most routine vision and dental costs must be paid 100 percent out of pocket if you have Original Medicare and Medigap.
Medicare Advantage vs. Medicare Supplement Insurance
Medicare Advantage plans provide at least the same hospital and medical benefits as Medicare Part A and Part B combined into one plan sold by a private insurance company.
If you enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, you still pay your Medicare Part B monthly premium. Some Medicare Advantage plans have a monthly premium that you pay in addition to your Part B premium, and some plans feature a $0 monthly premium.
Medicare Advantage premium amounts and out-of-pocket costs will vary depending on the specific plan you enroll in.
When deciding whether Medicare Supplement Insurance is worth the cost for you, add up how much you could potentially pay for your:
Medicare Part A premium (most people do not pay a premium for Medicare Part A)
Medicare Part B premium
Medicare Part D premium and out-of-pocket costs (if you enroll in a Part D plan)
Dental, hearing and vision care
You can get a Medicare Advantage plan quote and compare it to your potential Medicare and Medicare Supplement Insurance costs.
Keep in mind that Medicare Supplement Insurance helps cover some of Medicare’s out-of-pocket costs, and Medicare Advantage plans typically do not cover Medicare deductibles, copayments or coinsurance.
A licensed insurance agent can help learn about the Medigap plans that are sold in your area and help you compare plan costs.
Christian Worstell is a licensed insurance agent and a Senior Staff Writer for MedicareAdvantage.com. He is passionate about helping people navigate the complexities of Medicare and understand their coverage options.
His work has been featured in outlets such as Vox, MSN, and The Washington Post, and he is a frequent contributor to health care and finance blogs.
Christian is a graduate of Shippensburg University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He currently lives in Raleigh, NC.
Where you've seen coverage of Christian's research and reports:
Choosing a Medicare Advantage plan doesn’t have to be a roll of the dice. This simple five-step guide can help you find the best Medicare Advantage plan for your health care needs and your budget. Read more
Medicare.gov is the official U.S. government site for Medicare and includes information about Medicare coverage, eligibility, enrollment, costs and much more. Use this helpful guide to navigate your way around Medicare.gov and find the information you need. Read more
This report details where Medicare beneficiaries have access to the widest range of quality 2021 Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plans and Medicare Part D drug plans at the most affordable prices. Read more