In the past few years, several insurance companies launched Medigap plans with additional or “extra” benefits. These plans not only offered the traditional core benefits required by Medigap plans, but also added ancillary coverage not included with Medigap such as vision, dental, and hearing benefits. The trend of offering extra benefits seems to be growing, so we created this tool to help you track plans in your state.
Medigap “Extras” Background
As you may know, Medigap is highly regulated, so every plan offered must have the same core benefits and access to the same doctor network regardless of the insurance provider. This made it easy to compare plans on price because the benefits and networks for all plans were identical.
Then Anthem Blue Cross of California started offering Medigap Innovative plans. These plans were the first to bundle hearing and vision benefits with a standard Medigap F. They became wildly popular since someone was finally offering extra benefits that people really wanted. Soon competitors followed suit with new “Innovative” or “Extra” plans with additional benefits ranging from OTC (Over-the-Counter) discounts to acupuncture.
You will note that plans which now offer extra benefits are improved versions of either Medigap Plan F or Plan G. Why those plans? Well, they are the ones that offer the most coverage and are, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the most popular Medigap plans by a large margin.
Another important fact is that these plans usually do not cost more than their original counterparts. This can be explained due to the pool of younger members that join the new plans which keeps the claim costs down.
Medigap with Extra Benefits in California
California was the first to offer Extra benefits so let’s check out the full comparison between these plans below.
|Benefits||Health Net Innovative F||Health Net Innovative G||Blue Shield F Extra||Blue Shield G Extra||Anthem Blue Cross Innovative F|
|Standard Benefits||Plan F||Plan G||Plan F||Plan G||Plan F|
|Access to Medicare’s largest network of doctors||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Routine Eye Exam (every 12 months)||You pay $10||You pay $10||You pay $20||You pay $20||You pay $25*|
|Glass Frames (every 24 months)||$250 Allowance||$250 Allowance||$100 Allowance||$100 Allowance||$100 Allowance*|
|Glass Lenses (every 12 months)||$250 Allowance||$250 Allowance||You pay $25||You pay $25||You pay $25*|
|Contacts (every 12 months)||$250 Allowance||$250 Allowance||You pay $0||You pay $25||$100 Allowance*|
|Hearing Exam (every 12 months)||You pay $0||You pay $0||You pay $0||You pay $0||You pay $0|
|Hearing Aids (every 12 months)||4 levels of technology: from $0 to $1,580||4 levels of technology: from $0 to $1,580||$499 for Vista 610 model and $799 for Vista 810 model||$499 for Vista 610 model and $799 for Vista 810 model||$750 Allowance|
|Chiropractic/Acupuncture||No||20 visits combined, you pay $0||No||No||No|
|Over-the-Counter Benefits||No||No||No||$100 quarterly||No|
|New to Medicare Discount||$30||$30||$25||$25||$20|
|Enrollment||Quote and Enroll||Quote and Enroll||Enroll||Enroll||Enroll|
*Only Blue View Vision Access network
To sum it all up:
- Both Health Net and Blue Shield offer not only a Plan F but also a Plan G version with more benefits.
- Health Net’s Medigap Plan Innovative F and G have the most generous initial hearing and vision benefits and offer Silver&Fit, an exercise program similar to Silver Sneakers.
- Blue Shield’s Medigap Plan F and G Extra also have a fine vision coverage and Silver Sneakers, but only limit you to one company to choose from when it comes to hearing benefits.
- If you are looking for chiropractic or acupuncture, Health Net is the way to go. If you love Over-the-Counter benefits, then Blue Shield might be your choice.
- Blue Shield G Inspire (not in chart) has the exact same benefits as G Extra but also offers AAA Roadside Assistance.
Medigap with Extra Benefits in Nevada
You definitely don’t need to live in California to get additional Medigap benefits, improving Plan F and Plan G coverage. Nevada is also one of the states which now offers extra benefits.
|Benefits||Anthem Blue Cross Innovative F||Anthem Blue Cross Innovative G|
|Standard Benefits||Plan F||Plan G|
|Access to Medicare’s largest network of doctors||Yes||Yes|
|Routine Eye Exam (every 12 months)||You pay $25*||You pay $25*|
|Glass Frames (every 24 months)||$100 Allowance*||$100 Allowance*|
|Glass Lenses (every 12 months)||You pay $25*||You pay $25*|
|Contacts (every 12 months)||$100 Allowance*||$100 Allowance*|
|Hearing Exam (every 12 months)||You pay $0||You pay $0|
|Hearing Aids||$750 Allowance (every 12 months)||$750 Allowance (every 12 months)|
|New to Medicare Discount||$20||$20|
*Only Blue View Vision Access network
As you can see, both plans offer great hearing and vision coverage and are practically the same.
The difference is of course in the Part B Deductible. Plan F covers it, while Plan G does not. Nevertheless, since Plan F is usually somewhat more expensive, you could actually save up by getting Plan G.
Medigap with Extra Benefits in Illinois
Illinois is the final state to round off our list. Blue Shield of IL launched its Medigap Plan G PLUS not only with hearing and vision coverage, but also with dental. As of now, no other Medigap plan in the country includes dental coverage.
|Benefits||Blue Shield G PLUS|
|Standard Benefits||Plan G|
|Access to Medicare’s largest network of doctors||Yes|
|Routine Eye Exam (every 12 months)||You pay $0|
|Eye Glasses or Contacts||$130 allowance|
|Hearing Exam (every 12 months)||You pay $0|
|Advanced Hearing Aid Member Fee with recharge||$699/per aid|
|Premium Hearing Aid Member Fee with recharge||$999/per aid|
|2 Cleanings per calendar year||You pay $0|
|Two Oral Exams per calendar year||You pay $0|
|1 Dental X-Ray per calendar year||You pay $0|
|1 Oral Cancer Screening per calendar year||You pay $0|
|Unlimited Extractions per calendar year||You pay 25%|
|1 Restorative Filling per tooth per calendar year||You pay 50%|
As you can see, Medigap Plan G PLUS is the only current offering of extra benefits in Illinois but it is a great option!
There are currently three states with companies that offer Medigap plans with additional benefits: California, Nevada, and Illinois. We expect more states will offer these in the future. If you become aware of new offerings please add them to the comments below.
Call us at 800-930-7956 if you have any questions or are looking to enroll. You can also enroll online.