About Medicare and Medigap
Medicare offers vital protection for millions of senior citizens against the high costs of healthcare as they get older. But most people can’t afford to rely on Medicare alone. They need some extra help from either a Medicare supplement insurance plan – also called “Medigap,” or in some cases, from Medicare Advantage plan. There are some great options for Medigap plans in Nevada.
Medigap Plans in Nevada: Your 2023 Guide
That’s because as good as Medicare is, basic Medicare Parts A and B (“Original Medicare”) still leave massive gaps in coverage, exposing beneficiaries to potentially devastating out-of-pocket costs, in the form of deductibles, co-pays, coinsurance, and exclusions.
That’s where Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap coverage) comes in.
But wading through your Medicare supplement options, weighing it against Medicare Advantage alternatives, and keeping track of the different deadlines and open enrollment periods isn’t easy. Many people feel overwhelmed trying to make sense of it all.
With this guide to the best Medigap plans in Nevada, we aim to make the decision much easier.
We’ll discuss the structure of Medicare and how Medigap plans fit in the overall picture. We’ll also discuss the most popular Medigap plan types. And we’ll explore the advantages and disadvantages of some of the best Medigap insurance companies currently doing business in Nevada.
So you can be armed with the information you need to make the best possible decision, long term.
Standard Medicare Supplement (Medigap) Plans in Nevada
Medigap coverage comes in many different flavors. In most states, including Nevada, there are 10 different plans to choose from: A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M, and N.
Don’t confuse plans with the different parts of Medicare, though. For instance, Medigap Plan A is a very different thing from Medicare Part A.
But the basic benefits and exclusions of each of these plans in Nevada are standard across insurance carriers.
That means a Plan A from Aetna will have the same benefits and exclusions as a Plan A from Cigna, or from any other carrier doing business in Nevada.
That said, even though the plans themselves are standardized, pricing and underwriting is not.
Every insurance company prices risk differently. So depending on your age and (outside of your initial enrollment period, your medical history), you could pay very different premiums at different carriers for the same Medigap plan.
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Medigap Plans F and C are closed to new Medicare beneficiaries.
Plans F and C are both very comprehensive Medigap plans, and are among the most popular Medicare supplement choices, in terms of the sheer number of enrollees.
However, both plans have been closed to new Medicare beneficiaries as of January 1st, 2020.
However, if you first became eligible for Medicare prior to that date, you may still be able to enroll in those plans. However, not all Medigap insurance providers service them.
For new Medicare beneficiaries, the closest equivalent to Medicare Plans F and C are Plans G and N.
Medigap Plan G
Of these ten standardized Medigap plans, Plan G is the most comprehensive and the most popular of the plans currently available to new Medicare beneficiaries. It covers Medicare Part A coinsurance and hospital costs up to an additional year after Medicare benefits are used up, as well as 100% of your Part B coinsurance or copayment, Part A hospice care coinsurance or copayment, skilled nursing facility care coinsurance, and your Part A deductible.
In fact, Plan G covers all your out-of-pocket costs for Original Medicare-approved care except for your Medicare Part B deductible.
Plan G even covers “excess charges” from your doctor. Those are charges over and above the standard Medicare-approved rates.
Note that it does not cover your Part B deductible, which as of 2023 is $226.
So under Plan G, your only out-of-pocket costs for Medicare-approved services under Part and and Part B within the United States are your insurance premiums and your $226 Part B deductible.
Plan G also covers 80% of costs for qualified medical care outside the United States.
Medigap High Deductible Plans G, F, and J
If you have some savings and you can afford some limited exposure to health care costs, you can save some money by choosing a high-deductible version of Plan G.
If you’re otherwise eligible, you can also enroll in a high-deductible version of Plan F or Plan J, as well, though not every carrier offers this option.
With the high-deductible Medigap plans, your monthly Medigap premiums are much lower. But you’ll have to meet a deductible before your Medigap plan will pay benefits.
As of 2023, the deductible for the high-deductible version of Plan F, G, or J is $2,700.
Medigap Plan N
Medigap Plan N is also extremely popular. It’s very similar to Plan G, except it excludes excess charges in Medicare Part B. So it’s a good, cost-effective choice for those in states that prohibit excess charges.
However, Nevada isn’t one of those states. Nevada residents may want to consider paying a slightly higher premium to enroll in Plan G rather than Plan N.
On top of your Part B deductible, Plan N also requires a $20 copay for doctors’ office visits, and a $50 copay for emergency room visits that don’t result in an admission.
Medigap Plan A
Plan A is the “budget version” of Medigap plans. It has the lowest premium of all the Medigap plans. But it also provides the least coverage of all Medigap plans as well. However, all Medigap companies are required by law to offer Plan A if they do business selling Medigap in any state. So all companies will offer it.
Because coverage is so limited, Plan A beneficiaries usually have the most risk of exposure to high costs for Medical treatment. And they frequently have the least ability to bear those costs.
For these reasons, Plan A is not as popular as Plans G, N, F, or C, all of which provide more comprehensive coverage than Plan A, though at a higher premium.
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When Can I Sign Up for a Medigap Plan in Nevada?
You must be 65 or older to sign up for a Medicare Supplement plan, or have a qualifying disability. If you are not disabled and are 65 or older, you will also need to be currently enrolled in both Medicare Part A and Part B (Original Medicare).
The best time by far to enroll in a Medigap plan is during your initial enrollment period.
For most people, this is the 90 days following the date on which you are age 65 or older AND you enroll in Medicare Part B.
For most people, this happens when you turn 65. But you may choose to delay enrolling in Medicare Part B if you have coverage from another source, such as a workplace plan if you are still working.
Don’t miss your initial Medigap enrollment period! If you do, you miss the only period all Medigap applicants have to purchase a plan with guaranteed acceptance. That means you cannot be turned down, and you cannot be “rated up” to a higher premium because of your medical history.
As long as you purchase your plan during your initial enrollment period after enrolling in Medicare Part B, all carriers must sell you coverage at their best rates.
After your initial enrollment period, you will have to undergo medical underwriting. You will probably have to pay a higher premium for the rest of your life. And you could potentially be turned down outright!
Don’t Duplicate Coverage.
You should not sign up for a Medigap plan if you are already enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, unless your plan is to drop the Medicare Advantage plan as soon as your Medigap plan becomes effective.
The Best Medigap Plans In Nevada
Aetna is widely known for its extremely price-competitive Medicare supplement insurance offerings – especially on the popular Plan G and Plan N options. The trade-off: They have had some customer service challenges in the past.
However, this is a less critical issue for Medigap plans than it is for Medicare Advantage plans. Medigap plans must provide coverage for any services approved under Medicare Part A and B. So you shouldn’t have problems with disputes over whether your medical services qualify for coverage like you potentially can under Medicare Advantage. That’s where the customer service piece really comes into play.
If you miss your initial enrollment period, though, and don’t qualify for a special enrollment period, and therefore don’t qualify for guaranteed enrollment, Aetna may have more stringent underwriting policies for late enrollees than other options.
If you are still within your initial enrollment period, however, or you plan to come in under a special enrollment period, Aetna’s Medigap offerings may be a compelling choice.
Additionally, Aetna offers supplemental insurance products in their Protection Series.
It consists of indemnity critical illness plans for:
- Heart Attack
- Recovery Care
- Home Care Plus indemnity
These types of supplemental insurance benefits provide cash in a moment of financial crisis that can be invaluable in covering expenses that aren’t covered under Medicare or other major medical plans.
For example, you can use the cash from a cancer, heart attack, or stroke insurance policy to help with transportation costs, time off work and compensation for caregivers and loved ones, nursing home assistance, home care, prescription drugs, deductibles, co-pays, co-insurance, and other costs.
Aetna also offers a Final Expense plan – a permanent life insurance plan that can help cover costs like caskets, transportation, funeral service, last debts, and more.
With this plan, the benefits will be paid to whoever the policyholder picks. Life insurance death benefits are tax free to the beneficiary.
Click here for more information on Aetna Medicare Supplement Plans
In Nevada, Cigna sells Medigap plans G, F, N, and A. You can also enroll in the high deductible version of Plan G or of Plan F, if you qualify.
In Nevada, Cigna Medigap plans are based on attained age.
This means your rates are based on your age as of the date of your enrollment. The earlier you enroll, the lower your rate will be.
Other than increases due to your age, your premium will only change when:
- the same premium change is made on the same form issued to persons of your classification in the same geographic area of your state
- if coverage under Medicare changes
- if you move to a different zip code.
Cigna is not normally known as a low-cost provider. But they also offer some ancillary benefits to Medigap customers, including their Healthy Rewards program, which offers discounts on health and wellness programs
Cigna also differentiates itself from other Medigap carriers by providing access to a variety of additional insurance programs via ARLIC Cigna and Loyal.
These include Cancer and Heart Attack & Stroke Insurance, which offers an additional cash lump sum benefit of $5,000 to $50,000, at an affordable premium.
Unlike other insurance carriers, Loyal’s Cancer and Heart Attack & Stroke Insurance covers individuals up to age 80.
Loyal also offers Cash Advantage Critical Illness Insurance and Hospital/Surgical Fixed Indemnity Insurance, for extra protection against significant health risks.
Cigna also provides a Health Information Line, which provides 24/7 phone access to a health advocate.
Click here for more information on Cigna Medicare Supplement Plans
UnitedHealthcare is another familiar player in the health insurance industry and has been around for a long time. The carrier does offer access to a range of different Medigap plans. In addition to Plans A, C, G, F and N, United also offers Plans B, K, and L, which are much less commonly offered.
Plan K, for example, is a stripped-down, low premium plan with very limited benefits.
UnitedHealthcare also offers a special Plan G and a special Plan N that requires you to use a network hospital for covered inpatient hospital services under Medicare Part A. However, in exchange for giving up some power to select your own doctor, you may be able to get into a special SELECT plan for a much reduced premium.
UnitedHealthcare is currently the only Medicare supplement carrier that has an endorsement from the AARP. As such it is among the most popular carriers on the market.
UnitedHealthcare gets good reviews from customers and outranks several other leading carriers when it comes to their Medigap plans, including Aetna. They’re known for fast claims payment.
Members also enjoy ancillary benefits like gym memberships, a 24-hour dial-a-nurse line, and discounts vision and hearing services.
Click here for more information on UnitedHealthcare Medigap Plans in Nevada
Get Help Choosing a Medigap Plan in Nevada
Ultimately, Medigap plans provide protection against nasty out-of-pocket costs from medical emergencies and routine medical care in retirement.
Every plan has advantages and disadvantages. Of those plans open to new Medicare enrollees, Plan G is the most comprehensive and most popular.
But every person’s situation is different. We are here to make it easy for you to select a Medigap plan that suits your own specific situation and budget.
Click here to schedule a chat with one of our Personal Benefits Managers, and learn more about which Medigap plan is the right fit for you. Or, just give us a call at 800-913-3416.
Tom Lockwood is a Personal Benefits Manager at MediGap Advisors. Tom has a passion for bringing clarity to those confused about Medicare. He is an authority on Medicare, Medicare supplement plans, Medicare Advantage plans, and Part D prescription drug plans. Read more about Tom on his Bio page.