Blue Cross Blue Shield Medicare Supplement Insurance 2024 Review

The 33 Blue Cross Blue Shield companies offer a variety of Medigap plans and added benefits, depending on your location.
Alex Rosenberg
By Alex Rosenberg 
Updated
Edited by Holly Carey

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This influences which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.

MORE LIKE THISMedicareInsurance
Best for Nationwide availability
Blue Cross Blue Shield Medigap

Blue Cross Blue Shield

Blue Cross Blue Shield is a collective of 33 companies. BCBS plans are available throughout the country, but plan types, prices and performance vary.

M-F 9am-9pm ET, Sa 10am-9pm ET

Speak to a licensed insurance agent on askchapter.org

GET A QUOTE

from askchapter.org

Plan types offered

A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M and N.


NAIC complaint rate

Close to expected


Premium discounts available

Average


Plan types offered

A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M and N.


NAIC complaint rate

Close to expected


Premium discounts available

Average


Pros

  • "Blue to Blue" program could mean easier changes to coverage in the future.
  • Available in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.

Cons

  • Offerings and experiences vary depending on BCBS company.
  • Higher prices for Plan N.
  • Cheaper Medicare Select plans have network requirements.

Blue Cross Blue Shield is a collective of 33 companies. Together, BCBS companies make up about 43% of the U.S. health insurance market

American Medical Association. Competition in Health Insurance. Accessed Jan 17, 2024.
.

BCBS companies offer Medicare Supplement Insurance, or Medigap, in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Some companies, such as Anthem, offer policies in many states, while other BCBS companies have smaller service areas.

BCBS companies are licensed by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, but they function independently. You can find the company that serves your location on the BCBS website.

Here’s what you should know about Blue Cross Blue Shield Medicare Supplement Insurance.

Blue Cross Blue Shield Medicare Supplement Insurance pros and cons

Blue Cross Blue Shield’s Medigap offerings have advantages and disadvantages.

Pros

Cons

  • Flexibility to change plans. The "Blue to Blue" program could make it easier and less expensive to change your coverage in the future.

  • Plans are offered everywhere. BCBS companies offer Medigap policies in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.

  • BCBS companies vary. Prices, plan types, extras and member experiences can vary depending on your local BCBS company.

  • Some plan types are pricey. Prices for Plan N were at least 50% more expensive than the market’s best prices in estimates obtained for this review.

  • Best-priced plans may have network restrictions. Medicare Select plans can be cheaper than standard versions, but you have to stay in-network.

Blue Cross Blue Shield Medicare Supplement Insurance plans

Blue Cross Blue Shield companies offer different selections of Medigap plan types depending on the state and company. There are as many as eight Medicare Supplement Insurance plans available for purchase by any Medicare member:

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

  • Medigap Plan B — basic benefits plus coverage for the Medicare Part A deductible.

  • Medigap Plan D — a mid-cost option that covers most Medigap benefits.

  • Medigap Plan G — the highest-coverage option available to new Medicare members. Available as either a standard plan or a high-deductible option in some locations.

  • Medigap Plan K — the lowest-cost Medigap plan, with 50% coverage for most benefits.

  • Medigap Plan L — a low-cost option with 75% coverage for most benefits.

  • Medigap Plan M — coverage for most benefits, but only half of the Part A deductible.

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

Blue Cross Blue Shield also offers Medigap Plan C, Medigap Plan F and the high-deductible version of Plan F in certain locations for qualifying beneficiaries who were eligible to enroll in Medicare prior to 2020. Newer Medicare members can’t buy these plans from any company.

In addition, Blue Cross Blue Shield offers plans in Massachusetts, Minnesota and Wisconsin according to each state's Medigap plan standards, which differ from the standardization system used in the majority of the country.

Blue Cross Blue Shield’s plan offerings vary by state. In some states, multiple BCBS companies can offer different selections of plans. Enter your ZIP code on Blue Cross Blue Shield’s website to check out the BCBS company and plan offerings available in your location.

Medicare Select policies add network requirements

In some locations, Blue Cross Blue Shield companies offer Medicare Select versions of policies in addition to the standard version.

According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Medicare Select is "a type of Medigap policy sold in some states that requires you to use hospitals and, in some cases, doctors within its network to be eligible for full insurance benefits (except in an emergency)."

In exchange for the network restrictions, Medicare Select plans offer lower premiums than their non-Select counterparts.

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

Some plans allow you to purchase additional coverage with cost sharing for services not included in standard Medigap policies. For example, some Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield plans offer Anthem Extras packages, which can cover some costs for dental cleanings, dental procedures and eye exams, plus an allowance for eyeglasses or contact lenses.

These add-ons require premiums in addition to the cost of the Medigap policy. For example, Anthem Extras packages with dental and vision coverage in Georgia cost between $19 and $48.40 per month depending on the coverage level

Anthem. Anthem Extras. Accessed Jan 17, 2024.
.

Cost for Blue Cross Blue Shield Medigap plans

The following price estimates were obtained for three metropolitan areas representing above-average, average and below-average costs for the most popular Medicare Supplement Insurance plans (Plan G and Plan N)

NerdWallet analysis of American Association for Medicare Supplement Insurance data. Best Costs Medigap 2024 – Plan G. Accessed Feb 9, 2024.
:

  • Los Angeles: More expensive than average. Blue Shield of California is the BCBS licensee.

  • Atlanta: Average cost for the U.S. Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield is the BCBS licensee.

  • Dallas: Less expensive than average. BlueCross BlueShield of Texas is the BCBS licensee.

The sections below show pricing information from Blue Cross Blue Shield for a 65-year-old female nonsmoker as filed with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Find a Medigap Policy That Works For You. Accessed Jan 17, 2024.
. (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 any company that filed prices. For example, Blue Cross Blue Shield’s lowest price for Medigap Plan G in Los Angeles appears alongside the lowest price on Medicare.gov for all Plan G policies available in Los Angeles to an applicant with identical demographics.

Plan G

On average, Blue Cross Blue Shield’s estimated prices for Medigap Plan G were about 20% higher than the least-expensive Plan G policy in the area.

BCBS price

Medicare.gov lowest price

Los Angeles

$155.

$137.

Atlanta

$151.

$119.

Dallas

$130.

$109.

Plan N

On average, Blue Cross Blue Shield’s estimated prices for Medigap Plan N were about 51% higher than the least-expensive Plan N policy in the area.

BCBS price

Medicare.gov lowest price

Los Angeles

$152.

$105.

Atlanta

$161.

$90.

Dallas

$106.

$82.

Discounts

Here are a few examples of discounts Blue Cross Blue Shield offers to qualifying Medicare Supplement Insurance applicants:

  • Automatic payments: Some plans offer discounts on premiums if you set up automatic payments from your bank account.

  • Prepayment: Some plans offer discounts on premiums if you pay for a full year in advance.

  • Household: Some plans offer discounts if a spouse or household member is also enrolled in a Medigap policy from the same company.

Available discounts may vary according to factors such as your location, household status and how you apply for a policy.

Blue Cross Blue Shield member complaints

11% fewer complaints than average

Members file complaints about Medicare Supplement Insurance policies from Blue Cross Blue Shield companies at rates about 11% below the market average for all Medigap plans, according to 2022 data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners for Blue Cross Blue Shield companies and their subsidiaries that sell Medigap policies

National Association of Insurance Commissioners. Company Complaint Index. Accessed Jan 17, 2024.
.

NerdWallet conducts its data analysis and reaches conclusions independently and without the endorsement of the NAIC.

Blue Cross Blue Shield’s spending on care

79.6% for member benefits

Medicare Supplement Insurance companies 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, Blue Cross Blue Shield Medicare Supplement Insurance plans spend about 79.6% of premiums on member benefits

. (The other 20.4% goes to overhead expenses like administrative costs, marketing, salaries and commissions.)

For comparison, the average for all companies is 80.4%. The minimum required by law for individual Medigap policies is 60%

Code of Federal Regulations. Title 42, Part 403, Section 215. Accessed Jan 17, 2024.
.

Additional benefits

Medigap plans have standardized Medicare benefits, but insurance companies can offer additional perks. Here are examples of extras included with some Blue Cross Blue Shield Medicare Supplement Insurance policies:

  • Blue to Blue: Some plans allow qualifying members to switch between Medicare Advantage and Medigap plan types at certain times during the year without underwriting, so there’s no extra cost or chance of denial due to your health status or medical history.

  • Fitness: Some plans offer SilverSneakers or similar fitness programs that can include gym memberships, fitness classes, training sessions and tracking apps.

  • Discount programs: Some plans offer access to programs that provide discounts on, for example, prescriptions, over-the-counter health and wellness products, vision services, eyewear, hearing services or hearing aids.

Blue Cross Blue Shield Medicare Supplement Insurance service area

Blue Cross Blue Shield companies offer Medicare Supplement Insurance policies in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.

In total, BCBS companies cover about 3.5 million Medigap beneficiaries, and their combined share of the total Medicare Supplement Insurance market is about 27%

National Association of Insurance Commissioners. 2022 Medicare Supplement Insurance Experience Reports (Market Share Percentage). Accessed Feb 9, 2024.
.

Blue Cross Blue Shield Medigap customer service

Here’s how Blue Cross Blue Shield Medigap members can contact customer service:

  • Call the toll-free number on your Blue Cross Blue Shield member ID card.

  • Find your BCBS company online for direct contact information.

Compare alternatives

Get more information below about some of the major Medicare Supplement Insurance providers.

About Blue Cross Blue Shield

Blue Cross Blue Shield began as two companies — Blue Cross and Blue Shield — that offered affordable health care solutions in the early 1900s and started to come together in the 1940s. It was made official in 1982 when they formed the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, which now includes 33 independent and locally operated companies across the country. Nationwide, it provides health care coverage to 115 million members in the U.S. and Puerto Rico.

The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association has two main offices, in Chicago and Washington, D.C.

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).

Still deciding on the right carrier? Compare Medigap plans

Get more smart money moves – straight to your inbox
Sign up and we’ll send you Nerdy articles about the money topics that matter most to you along with other ways to help you get more from your money.