As an association of 33 independent companies, Blue Cross Blue Shield is one of the largest insurance providers in the US. The BCBS Association also grants licenses to independent companies to use the logos and names of BCBS in some areas.

Blue Cross Blue Shield companies provide health insurance plans for employers and individuals across the country. In regards to Medicare plans, Blue Cross Blue Shield companies offer Medicare Supplement plans, Part D (prescription drug) plans, and Medicare Advantage plans. Over 4 million people have a Medigap plan through a Blue Cross Blue Shield company. 

In this guide, we’ll give you the lowdown on what to expect with a Blue Cross Blue Shield Medicare Supplement plan. These details can help you make an informed decision about your Medicare coverage.

Key takeaways:

  • Blue Cross Blue Shield affiliated companies offer different Medicare Supplement plans in different states and counties. 

  • Some Blue Cross Blue Shield company plans may offer additional coverage for an extra charge, fitness benefits, and discount programs.

  • Blue Cross Blue Shield affiliated companies provide Medicare Supplement plans in all 50 states and Washington, DC.

  • Premiums for Medicare Supplement plans vary depending on which plan you choose, personal factors, and the policy pricing structures. 

Overview of Blue Cross Blue Shield

Whether you’re on Medicare or not, you probably recognize the Blue Cross Blue Shield name, simply because of the brand’s presence in health insurance. Blue Cross Blue Shield, which is sometimes referred to as BCBS for short, is home to over 50 different insurance brands. You can see a list of all Blue Cross Blue Shield companies here

Blue Cross Blue Shield is one of the largest brands in health insurance in the US. More than one Blue Cross Blue Shield company usually makes the list of largest insurance companies both within and outside of Medicare. 

Some BCBS affiliated plans offer a “Blue to Blue” program that makes it easier to switch from one BCBS company plan to another. Details vary according to company rules and plans, so check with your insurance carrier for specifics. 

What are Medicare Supplement plans?

Medicare Supplement (also called Medigap) plans are intended to offset out-of-pocket costs for people on Original Medicare. Once you meet your annual Part B deductible, Original Medicare only covers 80% of costs for Part B services and equipment. A Medicare Supplement plan helps pay for the 20% of costs leftover after Original Medicare pays for a service. While you don’t have to enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan, it can significantly reduce your healthcare expenses, especially if you need frequent or expensive care. 

Types of Medicare Supplement plans

There are 10 different types of Medicare Supplement plans that you can enroll in. The Medigap plans are:

  1. Plan A

  2. Plan B

  3. Plan C

  4. Plan D

  5. Plan F*

  6. Plan G*

  7. Plan K

  8. Plan L

  9. Plan M

  10. Plan N

*Plans F and G also have high-deductible plan options.

Each plan has a different level of coverage, but all plans of the same type are identical. For example, every “Medigap Plan G” provides the same benefits.

Note that people who turn 65 after January 1, 2020 can’t enroll in Plan F or Plan C. 

In three states, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, the set of standardized plans isn’t the same as the 10 above. Blue Cross Blue Shield affiliated companies offer Medigap plans in accordance with state standards in these three states.

Where are Blue Cross Blue Shield Medicare Supplement plans available?

You can find Medicare Supplement plans offered by Blue Cross Blue Shield affiliated companies in all 50 states, plus Washington, DC. However, keep in mind that BCBS also licenses their name and logo to other companies. Companies that use BCBS’ name and logo can be completely independent of BCBS. 

Medicare Supplement plans offered by Blue Cross Blue Shield Companies

There are over 50 companies that operate under the Blue Cross Blue Shield brand name, and pooled together those companies have more policies than some of the other big insurance brands. This is because there are 33 BCBS affiliated companies and independent companies that use licensed BCBS branding. 

Blue Cross Blue Shield companies provide different policies specific to your location. Additionally, in some locations, multiple Blue Cross Blue Shield companies may offer multiple Medigap policy options. 

Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Wisconsin don’t have the same 10 plans as the rest of the US. Instead, they each have different sets of Medicare Supplement plans. Blue Cross Blue Shield offers Medigap plans in these states, based on the state Medigap plan standardization rules.

Plans may also have add-ons, additional benefits, and member discounts. These benefits will vary from one plan to another. 

Additional benefits offered by Blue Cross Blue Shield Medigap plans

With some Medicare Supplement policies, you have the option to add on additional coverage, like vision and dental benefits, for an extra charge. The monthly premium for added coverage is usually lower than what it would be for separate insurance plans. 

Depending on your location, you may also be automatically enrolled in a fitness program at no additional cost when you sign up for a Medigap plan.

Finally, some plans provide a discount program that gives you deals on health and wellness equipment. If you’re eligible for one of these programs, you could purchase fitness apparel, footwear, hearing and vision supplies, personal care items, and nutritional supplements at a discount.

Medicare Select by Blue Cross Blue Shield Medigap plans

Like other insurance companies, some Blue Cross Blue Shield affiliated companies may offer Medicare Select plans. Medicare Select policies are a type of Medigap plan that restricts coverage to a network of providers in exchange for lower premiums. 

Be sure to carefully consider your healthcare needs before choosing a Medicare Select plan. With a typical Medigap plan, you can see any doctor who accepts Medicare nationwide, but you’ll give up this privilege with a Medicare Select plan. 

How much does a Medigap plan cost?

It’s hard to predict exactly what your costs for a Medicare Supplement plan could be because it can vary based on factors tied to you and the specific policies. Medicare Supplement premiums are based on your location, personal factors (like your smoking status), and how each insurance carrier structures plan pricing. To give you a ballpark idea of how much a plan may cost, we’ve listed example premiums for the most commonly chosen Medigap plans (Plan G and Plan N). The premiums listed are for a 65-year-old, non-smoking woman in two large cities*. 

Medigap in San Antonio, Texas:

  • Plan G: $132

  • Plan N: $109

Medigap in Orlando, Florida:

  • Plan G: $214

  • Plan N: $177

Since premiums can vary based on pricing structures and different personal factors, it’s best to look up the policies available in your specific zip code. You can do this by using the plan finder or working with a licensed Medicare agent. 

*Information retrieved on April 24, 2024 

Get help choosing a Medicare Supplement plan

Between Original Medicare, Medicare Supplement, Medicare Part D, and Medicare Advantage, making decisions about your healthcare coverage can feel overwhelming! Our licensed Medicare agents are here to help you understand coverage options and enrollment periods so you feel confident in your health insurance. 

Call 855-900-2427 TTY 711 Mon-Fri, 9AM to 9PM ET to speak with a licensed agent or schedule a time to chat.

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