Designed to work alongside of Medicare Part A and Part B (Original Medicare), Cigna Medicare Supplement plans (also known as Medigap plans) help to pay for certain out-of-pocket expenses such as deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments not covered under Original Medicare.
In the next few paragraphs we’ll explain:
- What Original Medicare covers
- How Medicare Supplement plans work
- How Medicare Supplement premiums are calculated
- What the benefits of a Cigna Medicare Supplement plan are
- How to enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan
What Does Original Medicare Cover?
All Medicare Supplement plans are designed to help with out-of-pocket expenses that Medicare Part A and Part B don’t cover. To fully appreciate what that means, let’s run down what Original Medicare does and does not provide.
Medicare Part A
Part A provides coverage for inpatient hospital care, along with:
- Skilled nursing care
- Home health care
- Hospice care
Medicare Part B
Part B covers medically necessary and preventative services, such as:
- Physician visits
- Outpatient surgery
- Physical and occupational therapy
- Some durable medical devices
- Certain cancer treatments including chemotherapy
Original Medicare Expenses
Original Medicare doesn’t pick up all of your healthcare costs. You are responsible for the following premiums, deductibles, and coinsurance fees:
- Part A hospitalization deductible. Each time you are admitted to a hospital there is a deductible before any benefits kick in. In 2020, that deductible will be $1,408. This deductible covers your share of costs for the first 60 days of your hospital stay.
- Part A hospitalization coinsurance. Beginning on day 61 of your hospital stay, you will have a $352 per day coinsurance cost. After your 90th day of hospitalization, your coinsurance is $704 per day.
- Part B premium. In 2020, the average monthly premium for Part B will be $144.60.
- Part B deductible. The 2020 Part B annual deductible is $198.
- Part B coinsurance. Once Your Part B deductible has been met, you will be responsible for 20% of the Medicare-approved amount for covered services.
- Excess charges. Some healthcare providers don’t accept Medicare assignment. Assignment is the amount Medicare is willing to pay for a service. Providers who don’t accept assignment are allowed to charge up to 15% more than the Medicare-approved amount. For example, if the Medicare-approved cost for a service is $1,000, but your provider doesn’t accept Medicare Assignment, they can charge you another $150 (15%). You then would be responsible for $200 (20% coinsurance) and $150 for the excess for a total of $350.
As you might imagine, these costs can add up quickly, particularly if you have or develop a chronic disease like high blood pressure, arthritis, or diabetes.
How Do Medicare Supplement Plans Work?
Medicare Supplement insurance plans are offered through private insurance companies such as Cigna. There are elven standard Medicare Supplement plans approved by the federal government. These standardized plans are lettered A, B, C*, D, F*, F-High Deductible*, G, K, L, M, and N. (*Beginning in 2020, Plans C, F, and F-High Deductible are only available to individuals first eligible for Medicare before 2020.)
The federal government requires that all private insurance companies offer the same basic benefits. In other words, a Medicare Supplement Plan G will offer the same benefits whether you purchase it from Cigna or another insurance company.
While plan benefits are the same across all insurance companies, premiums will vary. In addition, some companies may offer extra benefits.
How Much Do Medicare Supplement Plans Cost?
Pricing for monthly Medigap premiums is set by the insurance companies issuing the policies. There are three methods used to determine premiums:
This method charges the same premium for all eligible applicants in a state without regard to age or gender.
This method of calculation uses your age when you first enroll to determine the premium. With this method premiums will not go due to increases in your age, provided that your policy is renewed.
This method is likely the most common calculation method. Your premium is based on your age at enrollment. Premiums start out low, then increase as you age.
In addition to these rating methods, plan premiums can be influenced by the plan letter you select, where you live, extra benefits offered by the insurance company, discounts, and medical underwriting.
Why Choose a Cigna Medicare Supplement Plan?
Cigna offers a variety of Medicare Supplement plans with competitive monthly premiums. In most states Cigna also offers a Household Premium Discount for households with more than one individual enrolled in a Cigna Medicare Supplement plan. Cigna provides free plan quotes for Medicare-eligible individuals. Cigna customers have access to dedicated customer service representatives through a toll-free number (1-866-459-4272).
Eligibility for Cigna Medicare Supplement Plans
If you are enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B, then you are eligible to apply for a Cigna Medigap plan. The best time to enroll is when you first enroll in Part B. Enrolling and paying premiums for Part B marks the beginning of your Initial Open Enrollment Period when you can purchase a Medigap plan without any underwriting concerns. During your Initial Open Enrollment, you have guaranteed issue rights which means you cannot be declined coverage for any medical reason.
If you opt for a Medicare Advantage plan rather than a Medigap plan, and your Medicare Advantage plan loses its contract with Medicare, or you permanently leave the plan’s service area, you can apply for a Medicare Supplement plan with guaranteed issue rights.
Otherwise, you will have to wait for the annual Medicare Open Enrollment Period, and you will be subject to medical underwriting.
How to Enroll in a Cigna Medicare Supplement Plan
To continue evaluating your Medigap plan options, consider obtaining a free, personalized Medigap quote from a licensed Medicare insurance agent. With a personalized quote you’ll have access to plan and premium information, tailored to fit your needs.