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Getting Medicare Supplement Plans in Washington

Updated on: June 21st, 2021

We aim to help you make informed healthcare decisions. While this post may contain links to lead generation forms, this won’t influence our writing. We follow strict editorial standards to give you the most accurate and unbiased information.

Original Medicare — or Medicare Part A (hospital care) and Part B (outpatient care) — helps to cover many of your healthcare costs. However, you’ll still be responsible for fees like copayments and deductibles, which can quickly add up. 

A Medigap policy, also called a Medicare Supplement plan, is additional coverage offered by a private insurer that helps reduce or eliminate the costs not covered by Original Medicare. Just over 300,000 people in Washington had Medigap policies in 2018.1

What You Need to Know

A Medicare Supplement plan can help pay the costs not covered by Original Medicare.

To qualify for a Medigap policy, you must be enrolled in Medicare Part A and B.

In Washington, you can choose from 12 Medigap policies, including two high-deductible options. 

When Can You Enroll in Medigap? 

The best time to sign up in Washington is during your Medigap Open Enrollment Period (OEP).2 This six-month period automatically starts the month that you turn 65 and are enrolled in Medicare Part B. During your OEP, you can buy any Medicare Supplement plan at the lowest available rate, even if you have a preexisting condition like diabetes. You can also make changes to your policy during your OEP. 

Outside your OEP, the process becomes more complicated. An insurer can charge you more for a policy or deny you coverage because of a preexisting condition. The insurer can also implement a six-month waiting period before your coverage goes into effect. 

If you’re outside your OEP but you qualify for a guaranteed issue right, the insurer must sell you a policy without imposing restrictions or charging you more money. You have a guaranteed issue right in certain situations, such as your current plan is leaving Medicare or you want to switch from Medicare Advantage back to Medigap.3 

You might also be eligible for a Special Enrollment Period with a qualifying event like losing your current coverage or moving.4 During a Special Enrollment Period, you can make certain types of changes to your coverage.

Best Time to Enroll

You’ll have the most flexibility to enroll in or change Medigap policies during your Open Enrollment Period.

In Washington, you can choose from 12 Medicare Supplement plans, including two high-deductible options.5 Each letter plan is the same across different insurers. The plans offer different levels of coverage and different premiums, deductibles, and copayments. Make sure you carefully review each plan you’re considering so that you understand what’s included. 

Plans F, G, and N are some of the most popular policies. Note: Plan F isn’t available if you qualified for Medicare after January 1, 2020.

Plan F

Plan F is the most comprehensive policy with the highest monthly costs. It includes: 

  • Part A coinsurance and hospital costs
  • Part B copays/coinsurance
  • Blood (first 3 pints)
  • Part A hospice
  • Skilled nursing facility
  • Part A deductible
  • Part B deductible
  • Part B excess charges
  • Foreign travel emergency – 80%

Plan G

Plan G is similar to Plan F, but it doesn’t include the Part B deductible. It includes: 

  • Part A coinsurance and hospital costs
  • Part B copays/coinsurance
  • Blood (first 3 pints)
  • Part A hospice
  • Skilled nursing facility
  • Part A deductible
  • Part B excess charges
  • Foreign travel emergency – 80% 

Plan N

Plan N is a lower-cost option than Plans F or G. It doesn’t cover the Part B deductible or Part B excess charges. It includes:

  • Part A coinsurance and hospital costs
  • Part B copays/coinsurance
  • Blood (first 3 pints)
  • Part A hospice
  • Skilled nursing facility
  • Part A deductible
  • Foreign travel emergency – 80%

A Word of Advice

The cost and coverage levels of Medigap policies can vary widely. Consider the expenses you’re likely to need help with when deciding on the best choice for you.

How Do You Choose a Medicare Supplement Plan?

To get the best value out of your Medigap policy in Washington, choose one that covers the types of medical expenses that you face most often. You may find that a plan with a higher premium is a better choice for you, since you’ll save more money on your recurring healthcare costs. A plan that strikes a balance between good coverage and an affordable premium may be the best choice. 

How Much Do Medigap Policies Cost? 

Medigap policies vary in cost, coverage, copayments, and deductibles. As an example, the following estimates are for a 65-year-old nonsmoking female in Washington: 

  • Plan F: $113-$428
  • Plan F High Deductible: $44-$70
  • Plan G: $98-$243
  • Plan G High Deductible: $44-$66
  • Plan N: $124-$2056

What If You Want to Change Your Medigap Policy?

It’s difficult to change your Medicare Supplement plan in Washington outside your Open Enrollment Period, unless you have a guaranteed issue right or Special Enrollment Period. If you choose the best plan for your needs during your Open Enrollment Period, you likely won’t have to worry about changing your policy later on. 

What Are Alternatives to Medicare Supplement? 

You could also consider a Medicare Advantage plan. Medicare Advantage (MA) plans, or Medicare Part C, are plans from private insurers that offer a contracted network of medical providers. Most MA plans offer vision, dental and prescription drug benefits in addition to the coverage of Original Medicare.7 However, you’re generally limited to in-network providers. 

What Are Medicare Resources in Washington? 

  • Statewide Health Insurance Benefits Advisors (SHIBA) provides free help and information about Medicare and your healthcare choices. Volunteer advisors can help you to determine your eligibility, choose the best program for you, enroll in Medicare, and more.8
  • Through the Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner, you can research health plans or talk to an insurance specialist.9
  • Apple Health is the Medicaid program in Washington. Medicaid is a federal and state program that provides healthcare assistance to those with low income or disability.10

Next Steps

If you’re considering a Medicare Supplement plan, compare the available plans in Washington to see which one is best for your health needs and your budget. That way, you can be sure you’re making the right choice when you sign up. 



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  1. America’s Health Insurance Plans. “State of Medigap: Trends in Enrollment and Demographics.” ahip.org (accessed January 15, 2021).

  2. U.S. Government Website for Medicare. “When Can I Buy Medigap?” medicare.gov (accessed December 16, 2020).

  3. U.S. Government Website for Medicare. “Guaranteed Issue Rights.” medicare.gov (accessed December 16, 2020).

  4. U.S. Government Website for Medicare. “Special circumstances (Special Enrollment Periods).” medicare.gov (accessed December 16, 2020).

  5. U.S. Government Website for Medicare. “Supplement Insurance (Medigap) plans in Washington.” medicare.gov (accessed December 16, 2020).

  6. Supplement Insurance (Medigap) plans in Washington.”

  7. U.S. Government Website for Medicare. “Medicare Advantage Plans.” medicare.gov (accessed December 16, 2020).

  8. Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner. “Statewide Health Insurance Benefits Advisors (SHIBA).” insurance.wa.gov (accessed December 16, 2020).

  9. Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner. “Home.” insurance.wa.gov (accessed December 16, 2020).

  10. Washington State Health Care Authority. “Apple Health (Medicaid) coverage.” hca.wa.gov (accessed December 16, 2020).