California’s beautiful weather makes it an ideal place to retire. With 3.7 million recipients, California has more Medicare beneficiaries than any US state. An overwhelming majority of these Medicare recipients (3.4 million) have Original Medicare coverage. If you’re one of the many Californians who have Original Medicare, you might be wondering what the right Medicare Supplement (also called Medigap) plan is for you.
In California, there are 9 Medigap plans available to you. In general, there are 10 types of Medigap plans, but currently, insurance providers are not offering Plan M in California.
We’ll go over what each plan entails, how they differ in coverage, and how insurance companies price Medigap policies. By the end, you’ll be empowered to make the best decision for you, and if you ever need a bit of guidance, our licensed Advisors are always available to help. We can explain your different Medicare insurance options, compare the details of plans while considering your unique needs, and help you through the application process.
Medicare Supplement plans save you money and provide more comprehensive healthcare coverage by filling in the gaps left by Original Medicare. These plans cover costs that Original Medicare doesn’t like deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments.
Overall, there are 12 different Medigap plans to choose from, and they are labeled with letters A through N. Each plan type covers a different set of costs and comes with a different range of prices. To understand what each Medicare Supplement plan covers, take a look at our Medigap comparison chart. You’ll see that some plans cover more costs than others. Plan A provides the least coverage, Plans K and L only cover a certain percentage of some costs, and Plan F provides the most coverage (although Plan F is not an option for those who turn 65 after January 1, 2020).
Every plan of the same letter—for example, all Plan Gs—will have the same coverage, but individual prices for premiums depend on a few factors. We’ll discuss how Medigap plans are priced later on.
Note: Plans F and C are unavailable for Medicare enrollees who turn 65 after January 1, 2020.
Of every Medicare Supplement option, Plans G and N are considered the “best” because they provide high cost coverage at a good value. That said, the best plan for you might be different. We always recommend that you assess your health, financial, and lifestyle needs before picking a Medigap plan. Our licensed Medicare Advisors can help you compare plans and enroll in one that works for you.
For California Medigap plans in 2024, premiums range from $35/mo for a high-deductible Plan G to $944 for the highest cost Medigap Plan G, not including Plans F and C, which are not an option for most new enrollees (source).
Premiums for Medicare Supplement plans can vary depending on a number of personal factors:
Personal factors aren’t the only thing that will affect the price of your Medigap policy. Different insurance companies will also offer different premiums and pricing structures.
There are three ways that your insurance company can price a Medigap policy. All Medicare Supplement plans are either community-rated, issue-age-rated, or attained-age-rated.
It’s worth noting that external factors like inflation impact the price of your plan regardless of pricing structure.
Your Medigap Open Enrollment Period is the best time to sign up for a Medicare Supplement plan. This is a 6-month window of time that begins right after your Part B goes into effect. Enrolling during your Medigap Open Enrollment Period ensures that you won’t get denied from the coverage you want because you have a guaranteed issue right for any Medigap plan of your choosing. Outside of this period, insurance companies may ask you questions about your health and may charge you more or deny your application based on your answers. There are a handful of other guaranteed issue periods, which you can learn about in our Medigap enrollment guide.
Once you're ready to sign up, the next step is to choose a Medicare Supplement plan in California that works for you. Selecting the right Medigap policy involves careful consideration of your unique healthcare needs. From lifestyle considerations to budget and coverage specifics of each plan, there are various factors that play a role in making an informed decision.