JUPITER, Florida (October 24, 2011) — Seniors living in Connecticut pay more for Medicare supplement insurance (Medigap) than those in any other state, according to a study by Weiss Ratings, an independent rating agency of U.S. financial institutions. For seven of the ten standard Medigap plans, the average annual premium among all insurers in Connecticut is the highest in the U.S. — on average more than double the premiums charged in the least expensive states.
With the nation’s 48 million Medicare beneficiaries in the midst of annual open enrollment for supplemental coverage, the Weiss study demonstrates the wide price variations nationwide.
In addition to Connecticut, seniors in New York pay the most, on average, for two of the ten standard plans, while Florida seniors pay more for the remaining plan. The ten standard plans, mandated by Congress, are named alphabetically — Plans A, B, C, D, F, and G have been in place since 1992; Plans K and L were added in 2006; and Plans M and N added in 2010. Each plan has the exact same benefits regardless of the insurance company offering it.
In contrast, seniors in Utah and Hawaii pay lower premiums, on average, than those in any other state. Utah insurers ranked least expensive for five of the standard plans and Hawaii insurers for four. Montana rounded it out with the least expensive nationwide for the other plan.
“Regional differences in medical costs explain some of the price variations across the country. But companies that charge two, three, and often four times more for the same coverage in one state versus another or even within a state or city are simply not justified,” commented Melissa Gannon, vice president of Weiss Ratings. “We’ve been warning consumers for many years that considerable savings are available if they take the time to comparison shop.”
State rankings for the two most popular Medigap plans are shown below:
|Plan C||Plan F|
|State||Avg. Annual Premium ($)||State Rank||Avg. Annual Premium ($)||State Rank|
|District of Columbia||2,032||16||1,952||21|
States and the District of Columbia ranked 1 – 48. Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Massachusetts are not subject to the federal mandate for Plans A-N and have their own individual standardized plans.
Senior citizens or those caring for seniors who wish to learn more about Medigap can compare specific policy prices at www.weissratings.com/medigap. They can also obtain a personalized report providing comparisons of the actual premium rates offered in their zip code for each of the ten Medigap plans, along with the Weiss Financial Strength Rating for each insurer offering the plans. 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 financial strength ratings on banks, credit unions, insurance companies as well as sovereign debt ratings on 49 countries, accepts no payments for its ratings from rated entities. By adhering to its independent business model, Weiss outperformed Standard and Poor's, Moody's, A.M. Best and Duff & Phelps (now Fitch) in warning of future life and health insurance company failures according to a 1994 study by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), while also outperforming its competitors in identifying the safest insurers, according to its follow-up study using the GAO's research methodology. Similarly, Weiss was the only one to identify, in advance, nearly all major banks that failed or required a federal bailout in the 2008-2009 debt crisis.