SOURCE: Weiss Ratings

Weiss Ratings

December 02, 2011 12:52 ET

Weiss Ratings: High-End Medigap Plans Available at Basic-Plan Prices

Proactive Consumers Get More for Their Money

JUPITER, FL--(Marketwire - Dec 2, 2011) - High-end Plan F Medicare supplement insurance policies (Medigap) are readily available at or below prices charged for the basic Plan A or mid-level Plan C, according to a new analysis by Weiss Ratings, an independent rating agency of U.S. financial institutions. Consumers struggling with the decision to save money on their Medigap policies versus getting the coverage they desire may not need to give up benefits to find affordable premiums.

Consumers should not assume that plans with more benefits cost more when evaluating the price-benefit tradeoff. For example, a 65-year-old female in California could purchase a Plan F policy for $1,384 a year, while some insurers in the state offer a Plan A policy for as high as $3,741. In Florida, the lowest price for Plan A is $1,346, yet significantly more coverage is available in the lowest-priced Plan F policy of $1,554, only a $208 difference per year. Weiss analyzed more than 4,800 premium rates for three of the standard plans in states with at least one million residents aged 65 or older.

"Our study proves that consumers can purchase a Medigap plan with more bells and whistles for less than the cost of many basic plans," said Gavin Magor, senior financial analyst at Weiss Ratings. "Beyond just saving money on comparable plans with similar benefits, seniors can actually afford a better plan if they are proactive, do their research and evaluate what's available in today's insurance market."

Among states with the largest population of eligible seniors, the range of annual premium rates available for Plans A and C compared to the lowest rates available for top-of-the-line Plan F1 are illustrated below:

State Plan A
Price $
Plan C
Price $
Plan F
Price $
Plan A
Price $
Plan C
Price $
California 853 1,320 1,384 3,741 5,133
Florida 1,346 1,542 1,554 3,516 4,566
Georgia 863 1,234 1,253 2,655 3,437
Illinois 805 1,052 1,055 2,889 3,740
Michigan 479 1,160 1,196 2,932 3,796
North Carolina 788 980 1,004 2,346 3,036
New Jersey 1,088 1,730 1,772 2,603 3,654
New York 1,299 2,070 2,079 3,035 4,727
Ohio 856 1,097 1,101 2,531 3,570
Pennsylvania 858 1,181 1,237 3,225 4,175
Texas 877 997 1,021 2,932 3,796

Weiss strongly recommends that consumers first look for the coverage they want, then find the price point they can afford. Only if their price point is not available should consumers consider compromising on coverage. Weiss also emphasizes the importance of checking the financial strength of the insurer before making a purchase. With Medicare open enrollment2 ending December 7, the window of opportunity is closing for consumers who haven't yet signed up for supplemental coverage.

Senior citizens, or those caring for seniors, who wish to learn more about Medigap can compare specific policy prices at They can also obtain a personalized report providing comparisons of the actual premium rates offered in their zip code for each of the ten standard Medigap plans, along with the Weiss Financial Strength Rating for each insurer. The financial strength of an insurer can affect claim payments and should be a key factor for consumers to consider when selecting policy coverage.

About Weiss Ratings
Weiss Ratings, the nation's leading independent provider of bank, credit union and insurance company financial strength ratings and sovereign debt ratings, accepts no payments for its ratings from rated institutions. It also distributes independent investment ratings on the shares of thousands of publicly traded companies, mutual funds, closed-end funds and ETFs.

1 Table represents rates for a 65-year-old female.

2 There is no annual open enrollment period for Medicare supplement policies, but if you are considering changing from a Medicare Advantage plan or are seeking supplemental coverage for the first time, this should be part of your evaluation.

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