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Medigap Plan G: Everything You Need to Know

By Zawn Villines, Manjari Bansal
Medigap Plan G offers more coverage than most other Medigap plans. Learn whether this Medicare Supplement policy is right for you.

Original Medicare (Parts A and B) covers many different services, including hospital stays and doctor’s visits. But the cost of deductibles, coinsurance, and copays can still be high. Medigap policies, also known as Medicare Supplement, help fill in these coverage gaps—and sometimes offer additional services as well. Medigap Plan G offers a wider range of coverage than all Medigap plans except for Medigap Plan F. 

What is Medicare Plan G?

Medigap, also called Medicare Supplement Insurance, is a separate insurance policy sold by private companies to cover the healthcare costs that are  not covered by Original Medicare, states the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Original Medicare covers most but not the entirety of medical services and supplies costs.

You still have to pay coinsurance, copayment, and deductible with Original Medicare. So, if you buy a Medigap policy along with Original Medicare, it will help take care of those extra expenditures. Also, some Medigap policies may give you coverage for medical care when you travel outside the United States.  

Few things to remember before you buy a Medigap policy:

  • You should have Medicare Part A and Part B before you buy Medigap.
  • You have to separately pay a monthly premium for your Medigap policy.
  • Medigap covers only one person. So, you and your partner have to buy separate Medigap Policies. 
  • You cannot buy Medigap if you have a Medicare Advantage plan.
  • Your Medigap policy can not be canceled by the company as long as you pay the premium. 

Medigap policies are offered by different private companies, but each policy is standardized by the US government. There are up to 10 different Medigap policies to choose from- A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M, and N (policies in Wisconsin, Massachusetts, and Minnesota have different names). Each policy with the same letter offers the same benefits, no matter which company is selling it. However, the premium you pay may differ between companies. 

According to the Medicare Interactive, all Medigap policies offer some basic benefits like:

  • Full hospital cost coverage for additional 365 days
  • Hospital coinsurance coverage
  • Full or partial coverage of the 20% coinsurance for provider charges
  • Full or partial coverage for the first 3 pints of blood each year
  • Hospice coinsurance for drugs and respite care

In addition to these basic benefits, each Medigap policy may offer some extra benefits. Among all the plans, Plan F and Plan G are more popular and they offer a broader coverage.  You can choose Plan F only if you became eligible for Medicare before January 1, 2020.

“Medicare Supplement Plan G is the most comprehensive plan that new Medicare beneficiaries can enroll in,” Lindsay Malzone, Medicare expert for Medigap.com, tells WebMD Connect to Care. “It covers all cost-sharing left over by Original Medicare except the Medicare Part B deductible. It's popular for a lower price point than the Plan F, but with essentially the same coverage level.”

“Plan G is sold by private insurance companies, and all Plan G’s provide the same identical coverage,” Garrett Ball, Owner of Secure Medicare Solutions/65Medicare.org, tells WebMD Connect to Care. “It is the most popular Medigap plan, currently, because it provides for predictable out of pocket costs and is flexible and easy to use.”  

What does Medigap Plan G Offer?

Original Medicare, which covers hospital care, doctor’s visits, and related services, does not cover all care, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. You’ll still have a deductible, and may have copays or coinsurance fees. 

Original Medicare also excludes coverage for certain services—such as routine dental care, hearing aids, and some cosmetic procedures. Depending on the cost of your care, you could end up with large copays that eat into your budget, or a deductible that makes it hard for you to cover your care out-of-pocket. 

Medigap, also known as Medicare supplemental insurance, covers the cost of Original Medicare deductibles, coinsurance, and copays. It may also cover a range of services excluded from Original Medicare coverage. Medigap Plan G is also available in some states as a high-deductible plan. 

Medigap Plan G Coverage

The specific additional benefits Medigap Plan G offers include:

  • Coverage for an additional 365 days of hospital care after Original Medicare benefits are exhausted, as well as coverage for hospital coinsurance and deductible 
  • Coverage for Medicare Part B coinsurance and copays
  • Coverage for the first three pints of a blood transfusion
  • Medicare Part A’s hospice copayment or coinsurance
  • Medicare Part A deductible, but not Part B deductible
  • Up to 80% of foreign travel exchange
  • Care in a skilled nursing facility

Medigap Plan G does not cover dental care, or other services excluded from Original Medicare coverage like cosmetic procedures or acupuncture. Some Medicare Advantage policies may cover these services. 

Like Medigap, Medicare Advantage is private insurance. Unlike Medigap, it is a substitute for Original Medicare, and covers Medicare Part A and Part B needs. People with a Medicare Advantage plan cannot buy Medigap insurance unless they switch to an Original Medicare plan. 

What are the Advantages of Medicare Plan G?

Ball tells WebMD Connect to Care that some of the advantages of  Medigap Plan G may include:

  • It allows you to go to any doctor or hospital that accepts Medicare. There are no networks with a Medigap Plan G. 
  • The claims are automatically processed through Medicare’s crossover system, so when Medicare approves a claim, the Medigap automatically approves it as well. There are no restrictions like prior authorizations, which are so common in other plans. 
  • Lastly, the biggest advantage for Medigap Plan G is probably just predictable out of pocket costs. With a Plan G, you know your monthly premium and you can accurately budget for medical expenses.

“When someone enrolls in Plan G, they typically have a “set it and forget it” plan for their inpatient hospital and outpatient medical care,” Malzone says. “The only plan that's more comprehensive is Plan F and the only difference in coverage is Plan G doesn't cover the Part B deductible. However, the cost savings is almost always greater than the cost of that annual deductible.”

How Much does Medicare Supplement Plan G Cost?

Since Medicare Supplement or Medigap plans are sold by private companies, the cost of your Medigap Plan may differ from company to company, according to the Medicare Interactive. Although all the companies offer the same set of benefits under Plan G, differences in the premiums that they charge can vary greatly.
Therefore, when you decide to buy a Medigap policy, you should compare the plans’ premium  between different companies.
The cost of your Medigap Plan depends on which factors your insurance company has chosen to decide the premium of the plan. Factors that may affect the cost of your Medigap Plan are:

  • Your age
  • Where you live
  • Your gender
  • Your health status
  • Your marital status
  • Your use of tobacco

“For someone turning 65, a Plan G can be as inexpensive as $80/month or as much as $200/month in other areas,” Ball says. “Prices for Plan G are considerably higher in some states than others. Also, although coverage on a Plan G is the exact same from company to company, the pricing is set by the company and can vary considerably. It is always prudent to check rates from a handful of companies before making a decision.”

Medicare Supplement Plans by AARP

AARP Medicare Supplement or Medigap Plans are offered by UnitedHealthcare Insurance
. UnitedHealthcare is a well known insurance company which has been providing healthcare coverage for over 30 years and it is the only company that offers Medigap plans  endorsed by AARP (American Association of Retired Persons). Please note, you must be an AARP member to sign up for an AARP Medicare Supplement Plan.

Although every company provides the same set of standard benefits of Medigap policies, the AARP Medicare Supplement Plan by UnitedHealthcare has some attractive features like:

  • Highly-rated, friendly and customer-focussed support by UnitedHealthcare. 
  • The stability provided by an insurance company that has been in this business for more than 30 years. 
  • Highly affordable and competitive rates that may suit your budget. 
  • Some extra discounts or free services such as health and wellness resources, discounts at gyms and fitness locations, 24/7 nursing care support, hearing care support, and more.

“Most individuals would benefit from AARP/Medicare United Healthcare's Supplement Insurance (Medigap) coverage,” Stephanie Wilson, Chief Operating Officer at Policy Solver, tells WebMD Connect to Care. “The variety of plans available makes it simple to choose the right one for you, and the AARP seal of approval is an additional layer of reassurance.”

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Interested in learning more about Medicare, Medigap, and Medicare Advantage plans? WebMD Connect to Care Advisors may be able to help.