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Blue Cross Blue Shield Review

Thursday, May 19th

2022 Medicare Supplement Plan Reviews

Blue Cross Blue Shield Review 3.5 Star Rating

Blue Cross Blue Shield

3.5 Star Rating

BlueCross Blue Shield (known as Anthem in some states, as well as BCBS) is one of the biggest names in insurance. They have a website specifically dedicated to Medicare Supplement Plans, so you don't have to worry about sorting through health insurance information that doesn't apply to you.

Information-filled, but confusing layout

If you're looking for an online quote, you may have a hard time spotting where to start. The BCBS site for Medigap coverage is full of information you may or may not need: terms to know, enrollment periods, and so on. To get a quote, look on the right side of the page where it says Enter Zip Code and Find Coverage.

Finding the online quotes

From there, it'll take you to another page that asks you to fill in your information to talk to a Medicare Health Benefit Advisor or to call them directly (855-536-6475). However, if you look carefully, you'll spot links that say Browse or Find a Plan that let you get an initial idea of pricing online before you reach out to BlueCross Blue Shield.

Help Me feature

On that page, you can either choose to View All Plans or select Help Me Find a Plan. If you already know which Medicare Supplement Plan interests you, choose the first option. If you need some guidance and are willing to answer a few questions, the second choice will walk you through which available plans are a good fit.

Simple process

Since we were interested in getting a quote to fit our designated profile, the 65-year-old female in Wisconsin looking for Plan G coverage, we opted to view all plans. Be sure to click on the tab that says Medicare Supplement Plans, because the page defaults to Medicare Advantage Plans instead. There, you'll have to enter your gender, date of birth, the date your Part B coverage was effective, and your desired coverage start date. We didn't get an option to start coverage right away, unlike some of BCBS's rivals.

Best Medicare Supplement Plans

Discounts available

The results page is fairly easy to understand. It clarifies the basic plan and any extra riders you may want to consider. It also described a $2/month savings if paying automatically every month via bank withdrawal, or a savings of $48/year when paying in full annually. There is also a household discount of 5% if more than one household member is enrolled in a BCBS Medicare Supplement Plan. That discount is lower than many other insurers, who typically offer anywhere from 7% to 15% off, and sometimes that applies even if no one else is currently enrolled with you.

Middle of the road premiums

The price that the BlueCross Blue Shield site gave us was $137.66/month. That included all of the riders necessary to equal Plan G coverage in Wisconsin. That's neither the highest nor the lowest premium we found, which was surprising given that BCBS is one of the major players in the Medicare space.

Start your application online

One nice feature is that BCBS allows you to start your application for a Medicare Supplement Plan online. Every other Medicare Supplement Plan provider required a phone call, but BCBS allowed us to create an account and get the ball rolling. You'll need your Medicare card handy, along with any applicable supporting documents like a POA or guaranteed issue notice.

BBB ratings vary by state

It can be tricky finding a Better Business Bureau listing for BCBS, because Blue Cross Blue Shield has separate offices in each state. Getting an overall BBB rating for BCBS is next to impossible. For example, their rating in South Carolina is A+ with 7 customer complaints, while their rating in New York is D-. This tells us that their service and customer response can vary greatly by where you live. For states where BCBS is graded highly, you can expect them to respond to questions and complaints quickly. For states where they have a lower grade, perhaps not so much.

Highly regarded by the experts

On the other hand, we found quite a few experts on Medigap coverage that had positive things to say about BCBS. People tend to like knowing that their insurance comes from a big-name provider, and they offer coverage in enough places to make it likely you can get the plan you're looking for.

Overall good choice

On the whole, BlueCross Blue Shield is a good source of Medicare Supplement Plans. And, we really like the fact that you can start your enrollment process online: no need to wait for business hours on a weekday if you're ready to go. Still, we'd like to see their web interface cleaned up and simplified, and some effort made to clean up their BBB ratings.

Where Can You Find the Best Medicare Supplement Plans?

If you or a loved one is approaching the age of 65, or will be qualified for Medicare Parts A and B soon for another reason, it's the ideal time to start shopping around for supplemental coverage.

You are probably already aware that your Medicare insurance pays for most of your costs - but not all. That's why Medicare Supplement plans are often known as "Medigap": they close the distance between the 80% that's covered and the 20% that isn't, so that you have fewer or no out-of-pocket costs.

The Best Medicare Supplement Plans Compare Medicare Supplement Plans Compare Medicare Supplement Plan Reviews What are the best Medicare Supplement Plans Best Medicare Supplement Plan Reviews

Medicare Supplement Plan FAQ

Medicare Supplement Insurance is additional coverage beyond traditional Medicare. Also known as "Medigap" , these plans cover some or all of the expenses that aren't covered by your basic Medicare benefits.
Original Medicare only covers 80% of most medical expenses. The remaining 20% can get extremely costly, especially if you have a long hospitalization or a condition that requires specialized treatment. Medicare supplemental plans can ease the financial burden, kicking in where Medicare stops and reducing your out-of-pocket costs.
That depends entirely on the plan you select. Will you choose a high-deductible plan with lower premiums, or is it worth it to you to pay more in premiums to pay nothing when you have a medical expense? It also is heavily influenced by your particular situation: where you live, if you're a smoker, male vs. female, your age, and so forth. For Plan G coverage (the most popular of the Medicare supplemental plans), expect monthly premiums in the $110 - $160 range.
It can be confusing at first, partly because they're all identified by letter names (for example Plan A, Plan B, and so on) - and they're often mistaken for the similarly-named components of Medicare itself (Part A, Part C, and more). Again, the main differences relate to the trade-off between deductible amounts and premiums: pay more upfront to spend less later, or vice-versa. Plan benefits are standardized, however, so whether you choose a Plan M with one insurer or another, your coverage is the same.
While your coverage is the same regardless of which provider you use, premiums vary. It's a good idea to speak with a few companies, or with a broker that can give you quotes from several insurers to compare. Also, each company offers a different package of "extras" to complement your Medigap coverage. Some services will keep an eye on your premiums and let you know if you're going to experience a significant increase - and they'll even recommend a new insurer if they find one that's better suited to your needs.
Unfortunately, yes. Just like any other form or insurance (such as auto, medical, homeowner's), your Medicare supplement insurance premiums may change. Insurers may lock in your rate for a year or two, but you should be prepared for an increase in the future. There are a few providers who have a strong track record for keeping increases infrequent and small.
That depends. While some states require Medigap plans to be available for disabled individuals under the age of 65 (the age that standard Medicare eligibility starts), there's no corresponding federal law. And, many states that permit Medigap coverage for the disabled also have restrictions that don't apply for the 65-and-up plans. You should speak to a Medicare Supplement Plan advisor to learn about the options in your state of residence.
Not only is it legitimate, it's an important component of many seniors' healthcare benefits and financial planning. Of course, you should be careful to choose a reputable provider and work with an agent or referral service that takes the time to understand your needs and explain all of the available options. There's a limited window of opportunity to sign up for a Medigap plan without having to submit medical reports, so it is recommended that you begin doing your research well before your 65th birthday.
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Continued from above...

Medicare Supplement Plans are given letter names, so it can be easy to wind up confused. Plus, plans and their coverage are always changing. For example, Plan F was considered the go-to package, but it was discontinued for anyone starting coverage after January 1, 2020. Its replacement at the time, Plan G, offered similar benefits - fully covering that extra 20% and more - but added an annual deductible to the equation.

Another factor to keep in mind is the "guaranteed issue period". For the six months following your 65th birthday, you can get a Medicare Supplement Plan with no requirements beyond paying your premiums. By law, you can't be excluded for any health conditions, although your premiums will be higher if you're a smoker. But, once that grace period concludes, insurers can require more detailed information about your health conditions such as diabetes or heart conditions, and you can expect your premiums and available plans to change accordingly.

When buying a Medicare Supplement Plan, you have two basic routes: buy directly from an insurance company or go through a broker. Going to an insurance company you already trust can be an appealing option. You'll typically find the best rates for that particular insurer. On the other hand, using a broker often gives you access to not just your favorite insurance company but many others. So, with one process you can get the best rates from a number of providers at the same time - including that rate you got when you contacted the insurance company directly.

Whether you decide to use a broker or to buy directly from an insurance company, it's wise to do your research beforehand. The last thing you want is for an eager rep to steer you towards a plan that doesn't fit your needs, so take the time to browse several providers' websites before getting in touch. However, because Medicare rules state that all plans have to be sold in person or on the phone, you'll eventually have to speak with someone to finalize your Medicare Supplement Plan.

TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best Medicare Supplement Plans available today. We hope our in-depth evaluations help you save time and money by giving you the information you need to choose the best provider and plan for your needs!

Compare Medicare Supplement Plans

Select any 2 Medicare Supplement Plans to compare them head to head

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