Anthem Medicare Supplement Insurance 2022 Review

Anthem offers dental and vision coverage options with popular Medigap plan types, but only in 16 states.

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Anthem is the second-largest health insurer in the U.S.

American Medical Association. Competition in Health Insurance. Accessed Mar 31, 2022.
. It offers Medicare Supplement Insurance, or Medigap, both as part of the Blue Cross Blue Shield collective and on its own.

Anthem stands out from most other Medigap insurers by offering options to add dental and vision coverage to Medigap plans. It offers only a few Medigap plan types, though, and serves fewer states than most competitors.

Here’s what you need to know about Anthem Medicare Supplement Insurance.

Anthem Medicare Supplement Insurance pros and cons

Anthem’s Medigap offerings have advantages and disadvantages.

Pros

Cons

  • Dental and vision coverage options. Anthem offers several tiers of dental and vision coverage to mix and match with Medigap plans.

  • Plenty of discounts. There are several options to save on premiums with discounts based on your household and payment methods.

  • Health and wellness extras. Anthem offers extra perks for a variety of fitness, health and wellness products and services.

  • Few plan options. Only a few Medigap plan types are available — albeit the most popular ones.

  • Limited state footprint. Medigap policies are available in only about one-third of states.

  • Spending for overhead. Anthem spends more on overhead and less on member benefits than other major Medigap insurers.

Available Medicare Supplement Insurance plans

Anthem offers three Medicare Supplement Insurance plans for purchase by any Medicare member:

  • Medigap Plan A — the basic benefits included in every Medigap plan without any extras.

  • Medigap Plan G — the highest-coverage option available to new Medicare members.

  • Medigap Plan N — a plan with lower premiums but higher copays.

Anthem also offers Medigap Plan F for qualifying beneficiaries who were eligible to enroll in Medicare prior to 2020. Newer Medicare members can’t buy these plans from any insurer.

In addition, Anthem offers Medicare Supplement Insurance in Wisconsin that fits the state’s standards, which differ from the standardization system used in the majority of the country.

Enter your ZIP code on Anthem’s website to see the Medigap plan types available in your location.

Medicare Select policies add network requirements

In some locations, Anthem offers both standard and Medicare Select versions of certain Medigap plans. With a Medicare Select policy, you have the same coverage as the standard version, but you’re required to get nonemergency services from in-network providers.

In exchange for the network restrictions, Medicare Select plans offer lower premiums than the non-Select version of the same plan.

If you have a Medicare Select policy and get services from an out-of-network provider, you’re not fully covered. You become responsible for some of the costs that the plan would cover if you had stayed in-network. Review the materials for a Medicare Select policy you’re considering to learn about the network limitations and in-network facility list for the policy.

Add-on coverage for dental and vision

In some locations, Anthem offers the option to add on coverage with cost sharing for services not included in standard Medigap plan types. For example, Anthem Extras packages can cover some costs for dental cleanings, dental procedures and eye exams, plus an allowance for glasses frames or contact lenses.

This add-on coverage requires its own premiums, which vary according to your location and the coverage level you select.

Additional benefits

Medigap plans have standardized Medicare benefits, but insurers can offer additional perks. Here are examples of extras included with some Anthem Medicare Supplement Insurance policies:

  • Fitness: The SilverSneakers fitness program gives qualifying members access to participating gyms, pools and classes, plus on-demand videos for home workouts.

  • Prescription drug discounts: Qualifying members can use a discount card to save on prescription drugs not covered by insurance at participating providers.

  • Health and wellness discounts: Anthem offers discounts on certain vision, hearing, fitness and alternative medicine products and services.

Anthem Medicare Supplement Insurance service area

Anthem offers Medigap policies in 16 states — 14 with Blue Cross Blue Shield branding and two under its Amerigroup subsidiary.

Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield:

  • California.

  • Colorado.

  • Connecticut.

  • Georgia.

  • Indiana.

  • Kentucky.

  • Maine.

  • Missouri.

  • Nevada.

  • New Hampshire.

  • New York.

  • Ohio.

  • Virginia.

  • Wisconsin.

Amerigroup:

  • Arizona.

  • Texas.

Anthem covers about 671,000 Medigap beneficiaries and has about a 4.8% share of the total Medicare Supplement Insurance market

National Association of Insurance Commissioners. 2020 Medicare Supplement Insurance Experience Reports (Market Share Percentage). Accessed Mar 31, 2022.
.

Cost

The following price quotes were obtained for three states representing above-average, average and below-average costs for Medicare Supplement Insurance, when compared across all plans and providers using pricing data from Medicare.gov

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. 2020 Medigap Data. Accessed Mar 31, 2022.
:

  • Colorado: More expensive than average.

  • Virginia: Average cost for the U.S.

  • Ohio: Less expensive than average.

The sections below show pricing information from Anthem for a 65-year-old female nonsmoker and reflect “base” pricing with discounts removed or factored out whenever the option was available. (Note: Some Medigap prices may be higher for males.)

For comparison, each table also includes the price for the least-expensive option to buy the same plan from other providers, based on information from Medicare.gov. For example, Anthem’s price for Medigap Plan A in Sandusky, Ohio, appears alongside the lowest price on Medicare.gov for all Plan A policies available in Sandusky to an applicant with identical demographics.

Plan A

On average, Anthem’s quoted prices for Medigap Plan A were about 66% higher than the least-expensive Plan A policy in the area.

Anthem-quoted price

Medicare.gov lowest price

Fort Collins, Colorado

$103.29.

$70.

Richmond, Virginia

$101.

$65.

Sandusky, Ohio

$134.56.

$69.

Plan G

On average, Anthem’s quoted prices for standard (non-Select) Medigap Plan G were about 24% higher than the least-expensive Plan G policy in the area.

Anthem-quoted price

Medicare.gov lowest price

Fort Collins, Colorado

$117.47.

$97.

Richmond, Virginia

$109.

$97.

Sandusky, Ohio

$126.68.

$92.

Opting for a Medicare Select version of Plan G in Ohio offered a savings of $14.29. (A Medicare Select version of Plan G wasn't available through Anthem in Fort Collins or Richmond at the time quotes were obtained for this review.)

Plan N

On average, Anthem’s quoted prices for standard (non-Select) Medigap Plan N were about 55% higher than the least-expensive Plan N policy in the area.

Anthem-quoted price

Medicare.gov lowest price

Fort Collins, Colorado

$107.

$70.

Richmond, Virginia

$106.

$78.

Sandusky, Ohio

$129.08.

$73.

Opting for a Medicare Select version of Plan N in Ohio offered a savings of $21.81. (A Medicare Select version of Plan N wasn't available through Anthem in Fort Collins or Richmond at the time quotes were obtained for this review.)

Dental and vision add-ons

Costs for Anthem Extras packages vary depending on your location and the level of dental and vision coverage you choose, but they’re the same regardless of your choice of Medigap plan. For example, a basic Anthem Extras package could cost $22 per month whether you’re buying it with Medigap Plan G or Plan N.

Here are the price ranges for Anthem Extras packages offered in the quotes obtained for this review:

  • Fort Collins, Colorado: $22-$50.

  • Richmond, Virginia: $19-$47.05.

  • Sandusky, Ohio: $22-$45.

Discounts

Here are some examples of discounts Anthem offers to qualifying Medicare Supplement Insurance applicants:

  • Household: Some members can receive 5% off of their premiums for each additional household member who also has a Medigap policy from the same Anthem provider.

  • Automatic payments: Some members can receive $2 per month off of premiums if they pay with automatic bank draft withdrawals.

  • Annual payment: Some members can receive $48 per year off of premiums by prepaying for a whole year of coverage.

Anthem’s spending on care

68.6% for member benefits

Medicare Supplement Insurance providers must report data on the premiums they collect and how much they spend to provide benefits for members.

Based on the most recent year of data, Anthem Medicare Supplement Insurance plans spend about 68.6% of premiums on member benefits

. (The other 31.4% goes to overhead expenses like administrative costs, marketing, salaries and commissions.)

For comparison, the average for all providers is 72.3%. The minimum required by law for individual Medigap policies is 60%

Code of Federal Regulations. Title 42, Part 403, Section 215. Accessed Mar 31, 2022.
.

Member complaints

24% above average

Anthem members file complaints about their Medicare Supplement Insurance policies about 24% more often than the average for all Medigap providers. This is according to three years’ worth of data (2019-2021) from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners for Anthem and its subsidiaries that sell Medigap policies

National Association of Insurance Commissioners. Company Complaint Index. Accessed Mar 31, 2022.
.

Complaint rates for all of the insurance offerings from Anthem and those subsidiaries are about the same, with a complaint rate for all policy types about 21% above the average for all insurers over the same three years of data.

Customer service

Here’s how Anthem members can contact customer service:

Third-party ratings

There are a few companies that weigh in on customers’ experiences with insurers or the strength of the company in question, and we’ve included two here:

AM Best Financial Strength Rating: A to A-

AM Best is a credit rating agency that specializes in the insurance industry. In December 2021, AM Best affirmed its Financial Strength Rating of A (Excellent) for Anthem’s core Blue Cross Blue Shield-branded insurance subsidiaries

. AM Best also upgraded its Financial Strength Rating from A- (Excellent) to A (Excellent) for Anthem’s Amerigroup affiliate companies and affirmed its rating of A- (Excellent) for Unicare Life & Health Group, another Anthem subsidiary that offers Medicare Supplement Insurance.

A and A- ratings in this category indicate that AM Best believes Anthem has an excellent ability to meet its ongoing insurance obligations.

Moody’s Investors Service: A2

Moody’s Investors Service is a credit rating agency that evaluates the financial strength and creditworthiness of public and private organizations of all types. In March 2021, Moody’s affirmed A2 insurance financial strength ratings for the six Anthem insurance operating subsidiaries that Moody’s rates

.

An A2 rating indicates that Moody’s considers Anthem’s obligations to be a low credit risk and that Anthem is in the middle of this rating category. A stable outlook indicates that Moody’s expects a low likelihood of the A2 rating changing over the medium term.

Compare alternatives

Compare Medicare Supplement Insurance providers

Complaint rate: 67% worse than the market average.

Service area: 43 states.

Percent of premiums spent on benefits: 75.6%.

Complaint rate: 63% better than the market average.

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Percent of premiums spent on benefits: 71.7%.

Complaint rate: 24% worse than the market average.

Service area: 16 states.

Percent of premiums spent on benefits: 68.6%.

Complaint rate: 0.4% better than the market average.

Service area: 50 states and Washington, D.C.

Percent of premiums spent on benefits: 72.6%.

Complaint rate: 40% worse than the market average.

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Percent of premiums spent on benefits: 75%.

Complaint rate: 335% worse than the market average.

Service area: 49 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico.

Percent of premiums spent on benefits: 77%.

Complaint rate: 62% better than the market average.

Service area: 49 states and Washington, D.C.

Percent of premiums spent on benefits: 71.4%.

Complaint rate: 50% better than the market average.

Service area: 45 states and Washington, D.C.

Percent of premiums spent on benefits: 71.7%.

About Anthem

Anthem Inc., headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, was formed in 2004 out of a merger between WellPoint Health Networks and Anthem. The company operates Medicare plans under a variety of subsidiaries, many of which use Blue Cross Blue Shield trade names.

Anthem offers commercial health insurance for individuals and employers; Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement Insurance and Medicaid plans; life, disability, dental and vision insurance; and services for other government health insurance programs. In 2020, Anthem had $121.9 billion in annual revenue.

Find the right Medicare Supplement Insurance plan

Because Medigap plans are standardized, you can get precisely the same Medicare benefits from any company offering the plan. So when you shop, keep these considerations in mind to find the best policy to fit your needs:

  • Is your preferred plan available? Health insurance companies don’t always sell every plan, so check who sells the plan you want to buy in your area.

  • What are the premiums? Prices for the same plan can vary between companies, so check to find the most competitive rates.

  • Will your premiums change over time? Most policies cost more as you age, but some companies offer policies that let you lock in a price when you sign up.

  • Are there extras? Medigap plans’ core benefits are standardized, but in certain cases, some companies include such perks as discount programs or gym memberships.

If you have additional questions about Medicare, visit Medicare.gov or call 800-MEDICARE (800-633-4227, TTY 877-486-2048).
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