Mutual Of Omaha Medicare Supplement Review
In life, there are few decisions more important than the decisions you make about your health. This fact only becomes clearer as you get older and your health becomes more of a pressing concern.
With the rising costs of healthcare impacting 44% of Americans’ ability to seek professional medical assistance, those important decisions involve whether or not to get supplementary insurance, what plan to get, and which insurance provider to trust.
In this review, we’ll look at a popular Nebraska-based Medigap provider and the kinds of plans they offer.
Mutual of Omaha Medicare Supplement Plans
The Mutual of Omaha was established in 1909 by a medical student and his wife as an incorporation of the Mutual Benefit Health and Accident Association with the Nebraska Insurance Department. In the 120 years since its founding, Mutual of Omaha has achieved many milestones and gained national prominence. MOO is a household name, partly due to their sponsorship of the 1960s wildlife documentary series Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom.
Today, Mutual of Omaha is considered a giant in the insurance industry, offering health, life, accident, and disability coverage to its policyholders. MOO continues to provide Medigap coverage for Medicare beneficiaries, a service they’ve been providing since the Medigap program was implemented in 1966.
This Fortune 500 company ranks as the 5th largest life insurance provider. It has several subsidiaries, including the Omaha Insurance Company, United World Life Company, Omaha Financial Holdings, Companion Life Insurance Company, and East Campus Realty.
Mutual of Omaha has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and an AA-minus rating with Standard & Poors’s.
What Medigap Plans Does Mutual Of Omaha Offer?
Mutual of Omaha’s Medicare supplement plans, like Medigap plans across the nation, provide additional coverage on top of your original Medicare benefits.
Under Part A and B, Medicare covers the following healthcare expenses:
- Inpatient hospitalization up to 60 days, with a $1364 annual deductible
- Outpatient and medical services, with a $185 annual deductible; after the deductible, Medicare pays 80% of the approved charges while you shoulder the other 20%
Commonly covered services and procedures include:
- Emergency and ambulance services
- Medical equipment
- Some prescription drugs and medication
- Use of hospital or hospice facilities
- Outpatient surgery
- Lab tests & x-rays
Not all health services are covered by Medicare, and not all doctors accept Medicare as payment. But if you make use of a service that is normally covered under your policy, your Medigap insurance plan should cover it as well.
Mutual of Omaha Medicare Supplement Plans: What Are They?
Medicare supplement plans (also called Medigap) aim to reduce your out-of-pocket expenses by providing additional healthcare coverage. There are many different plans with different premiums and different coverage options.
Plans are labelled A through N, although Plans E, H, I, and J have all been discontinued. All insurance providers are legally required to offer Plan A. If they decide to offer additional plans, they must also sell Plan C or Plan F.
It’s important to note that plans are standardized across the U.S and across insurance providers. Switching insurers or moving to another state may affect your premiums, but it won’t affect the benefits you receive under your plan.
Medigap plans vary in which of your healthcare expenses they cover (and how much), but all supplementary plans are exclusive of dental and prescription drug coverage. However, you can purchase them separately for an additional monthly premium. Usually, vision care is also exempt, but Mutual of Omaha offers complementary vision care coverage (for eye exams and glasses) to all their Medicare supplement plan beneficiaries.
The only exceptions to Medigap coverage standardizations are Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. If you live in these states, it’s best to contact a Cigna representative for a more accurate overview of your plan’s benefits.
Things To Remember When Purchasing a Mutual of Omaha Supplement Plan
You can only purchase a Medigap plan if you are enrolled in Medicare Part A and B. If you are only enrolled in Part A or if you are a beneficiary of Part C (also known as Medicare Advantage), then you are not eligible to purchase and receive Medigap benefits.
Below, we list all of the plans Mutual of Omaha is known to offer. However, not all plans will be available in every location. We’ve tried to include as much information as we could about which plans are available where. Still, it’s best to contact an MOO representative to inquire about plan availabilities in your state.
Supplement Plan A
Supplement Plan A offers the most basic additional coverage on top of Medicare benefits. Even though it’s the simplest of Medigap plans, it still offers a huge improvement over Part A + Part B coverage. Under Plan A, you can expect to make use of the following additional benefits:
- Medicare Part A hospital coinsurance and costs, up to 365 days after benefits are exhausted
After the required deductible, Medicare covers all approved hospital costs. You are also allowed to make use of your benefits for a year after your plan expires.
- Medicare Part A hospice care coinsurance or copayment
After the required deductible, Medicare covers all approved hospice costs.
- Medicare Part B coinsurance or copayment
After the required deductible, Medicare covers all approved Part B costs, including your original 20% copayment
- First three pints of blood used in any medical procedure
Medicare covers the costs of three pints of blood that may be necessary during a procedure
Supplement Plan C
Supplement Plan C is only available in Hawaii.
Plan C has a higher premium than Plan A, but it also offers significantly more coverage. In addition to Plan A’s benefits, you also receive:
- Part A deductible
You no longer have to cover the first $1364 of inpatient hospital expenses before your Medicare and supplement plans kick in.
- Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) care coinsurance
Medicare pays 100% of the associated costs if you need to seek short-term treatment at a skilled nursing facility.
- Part B deductible
You no longer have to cover the first $185 of outpatient and medical expenses before you Medicare and supplement plans kick in.
- Foreign travel exchange (80% of approved charges, up to plan limits)
Medicare covers 80% of your billed charges if you require emergency care abroad within the first 60 days of your trip. There is foreign travel exchange lifetime coverage limit of $50,000.
In 2015, a law was passed prohibiting the sale of any Medigap plan that covers the Part B deductible. Starting January 1, 2020, Plan C will not be available for purchase by new beneficiaries. However, you can still enroll in Plan C prior to that date, and current enrollees will still be able to avail of their benefits past that date.
Supplement Plan D
Supplement Plan D is only available in Hawaii and Kansas.
Plan D is a limited low-cost plan available to Medicare beneficiaries who want a little more coverage without spending top dollar. Plan D includes the following benefits:
- Part A hospital coinsurance + 365 days of benefit
- Part A hospice care coinsurance
- Part B coinsurance
- First 3 pints of blood for a medical procedure
- Part A deductible
- SNF care coinsurance
- Foreign travel emergency (80%, up to plan limits)
Under Plan D, you would still have to pay the $185 Part B deductible before claiming Part B benefits.
Medicare Standard Cost & Excess Charges
You are also liable for any Part B excess charges. But what are excess charges?
Medicare assigns a standard cost for the health services they’re willing to cover. For example, if Medicare has determined that a particular service costs $100, a medical professional participating in the Medicare program agrees to being paid that rate for their services.
Medicare Program & Choosing The Right Doctor
If the doctor isn’t part of the Medicare program, or if they otherwise refuse to take Medicare as your “full” payment, they can charge up to 15% of the approved amount. In this case, that would be an extra $15, totalling a bill of $115. Medicare will cover their approved amount of $100, while you cover the rest.
There are plans that cover Part B excess charges (more on them later), but you still have to pay out-of-pocket for those under Plan D.
Supplement Plan F
The most popular Medigap policy, by far, is Plan F. Out of the 12 million Medigap enrollees registered at the end of 2015, almost 6.5 million of those were for Plan F.
Why is Supplement Plan F so popular? Out of all the available Medigap plans, Plan F is the only one that offers all nine additional Medigap benefits at their maximum.
This means that, on top of the long list of benefits of Plan C, you can also get your Part B excess charges covered by Medicare. In most cases, beneficiaries no longer have any out-of-pocket expenses for inpatient or outpatient concerns.
The trade-off is, of course, that Plan F has the highest premium out of all of the plans. But some insurers have found a way to make this sought-after plan more accessible.
Medicare Supplement Plan HF & Supplement Plan F: Are They The Same?
Plan “HF” is the same as Plan F, except that enrollees need to meet a Part A deductible of $2300 before they can claim other Part A benefits.
This might seem like a very high deductible (it’s significantly higher than the deductible on the original Medicare Part A, even), but the monthly premiums can be more than a hundred dollars cheaper compared to the standard Plan F. Plan F is widely available across the United States, but not all states or insures offer this option.
Because Plan F pays for the Part B deductible, it will be phased out alongside Plan C by January 1, 2020. The plan is only being discontinued for new enrollees. Current beneficiaries may opt to stay in their plan and avail of their benefits; however, Plan F prices may slowly increase over time, and it may be more cost-effective to switch to another plan.
Supplement Plan G
With Plan C and F’s discontinuation looming, many current and future Medigap beneficiaries are already looking for its closest replacement.
While none of the plans have the exact same coverage, Supplement Plan G has recently emerged as the next best thing. In fact, some people consider Supplement Plan G to be better than Supplement Plan F, and here’s why.
Under Supplement Plan G, you can get all the benefits of Plan F except for one: the Part B deductible of $185. But Plan G premiums are also lower; on average, you can save $30-60 per month on premiums alone just by switching to Plan G from Plan F.
Even a conservative estimate of those numbers show that you spend $360 more a year on Plan F for a $185 benefit. Many people find that they spend less overall by opting into Plan G instead. Plus, there are no plans to discontinue Plan G in the near future, making it a much more stable plan in the long run.
The biggest downside is that Plan G may not be available in all regions. Contact your Mutual of Omaha representative and ask if they offer Plan G in your neighborhood.
Supplement Plan N
Supplement Plan N is not available in Hawaii.
Plan N was introduced only in 2010, so it is a relative newcomer to the Medigap roster. This plan mainly appeals to people who want to save money while not sacrificing on coverage.
The benefits of Plan N are the same as the benefits of Plan D, with one major difference—while Medicare covers your Part A coinsurance, you need to shell out a small copayment of up to $20 or $50 dollars for office visits and emergency room visits, respectively.
Mutual of Omaha Medicare Supplement Plans: Comparison Table
|Mutual Of Omaha Medicare Supplement Plan Offerings|
|Part A hospital coinsurance + 365 days after end of benefit||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes**||Yes||Yes***|
|Part A hospice care coinsurance||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Part B coinsurance||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|First 3 pints of blood||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Part A deductible||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Part B deductible||No||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Part B excess charges||No||No||No||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|SNF care coinsurance||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Foreign travel emergency||No||80%||80%||80%||80%||80%||80%|
Yes = 100% covered
No = 0% covered
*based on the 2019 Mutual of Omaha monthly premiums for a 68-year-old non-smoker male in Oklahoma
**For a lower premium, the high-deductible option of Plan F has benefits that only kick in after the insured meets the deductible of $2300.
***100% covered except for a small copayment of $20 per office visit and $50 per emergency room visit
How Much Do Mutual Of Omaha Supplement Plans Cost?
It is standard practice in the insurance industry to not post their rates. This is because health insurance coverage is very personal and will vary on a case-to-case basis.
As we mentioned earlier, your plan benefits don’t change just because you live in a particular state, or you’ve chosen a particular provider, or if you have any pre-existing health conditions. Plan F is Plan F, no matter where you.
However, what does change is how much you pay for it. One reason premiums can be so varied is the pricing model that your insurer uses. There are three major pricing models:
- Community-rated: Policies that are community-rated are priced based on location. Everyone in your area, regardless of age, pays the same premium for the same plan.
- Issue age-rated: Policies that are issue age-rated look at the age you were when you first applied for your plan. Someone who applied for the plan at 70 would pay a higher premium than someone who applied at 65.
- Attained age-rated: Policies that are attained age-rated look at the age you are currently. Your rate will go up as you get older.
No matter what pricing model your insurer uses, your premiums may still increase for other reasons like inflation.
Medicare Supplement Plan Pricing Factors Include:
- Age: The older you are, the more expensive your insurance generally is.
- Gender: Men usually pay higher premiums than women.
- Region: Areas with a higher cost of living tend to have higher premiums as well. Someone in Omaha would pay significantly lower premiums than a comparable person in California. Also, not all plans are available in all states.
- Enrollment Period: From the moment you earn your Medicare benefits (on the first of the month of your 65th birthday), you have a 6-month period to enroll. During this period, insurers cannot reject your application or raise your premiums just because you’re a smoker or if you have pre-existing health conditions. However, after this 6-month period, you may need to pay higher rates.
- Tobacco Use: Outside of the 6-month Medigap Open Enrollment Period, tobacco users are quoted significantly higher rates than their non-smoking counterparts.
Mutual Of Omaha Medicare Supplement Plan Features
Cost isn’t the only thing you need to consider when choosing a Medicare supplement insurance provider. Because plans don’t change across insurance carriers, you also need to think about the other benefits that only that insurer can provide.
Here are some of the features of a Medigap account with Mutual of Omaha:
- Convenient customer portal
- Easy online payment options
- Access to claims handling and benefit information
- Instant online quotes
- Electronic application via the website
- Policy approval in the same day
- Complementary eye care plan
- 12-month lock-in rate, no increases in the first year
- 30-day no-obligations trial period
- Access to 880,000 healthcare providers around the U.S.
- Household discounts for up to 2 people
- Guaranteed renewable plans that cannot be cancelled due to health conditions
- Highly-rated customer service
There are a few drawbacks to signing up with Mutual of Omaha. First, many people have reported that they have a difficult time filing claims via the online portal. The MOO Forms page also lacks resources for Medicare-specific policies.
Also, while prices do differ, Mutual of Omaha leans on the more expensive side of the spectrum. In some cases, competing insurance providers offer the same plans for as much as 20% lower.
Mutual Of Omaha Supplement Plans: Are They Right For You?
Assess your needs and budget to pick the right Medigap plan. Whether you want to save money on a low-coverage option or don’t mind spending extra for the peace of mind, there is a Medicare supplement plan for you.
Mutual of Omaha is just one of many insurance providers you can choose from. While price is always going to be a major factor, don’t forget to take into consideration all the other benefits MOO can provide.