Married couples who are on Medicare have this question all the time.
Depending on your medical needs, your Medicare Plan may be different from your spouse’s, which is why you should always have separate plans. Coverage varies from company to company. As your situation changes, you’ll need to make sure you update your benefits. Age, gender, and pre-existing conditions all play a role in what plan you should have.
Many people on Medicare purchase Supplement plans or Medicare Advantage plans to help minimize their out-of-pocket expenses on Medicare.
Most people on Medicare also purchase Part D drug plans to help with their prescription medications costs.
When it comes to these other types of coverages, we talk to many couples who wonder if they should be on the same plan or purchase their plans through the same insurance company.
When on Medicare, insurance companies always issue separate tickets of insurance. Although you may be with the same company and have the same plan, you will always have different policies
Medicare Supplement Coverage
As we mentioned above, Supplement Plans are purchased in addition to Part A and Part B to help minimize your out-of-pocket medical expenses when you are on Medicare.
We talked about supplements, also known as Medigap plans, in more detail in another post, which you can read here.
There are situations in which you and your spouse may or may not want to have the same plan.
Should we have the Same Plan?
There are ten different supplement plans you can choose from.
These plans help cover the portion of your medical expenses that Part A and Part B do not.
The most popular plans are Plan F, Plan G, Plan N.
We talked about these plans in more detail in another post, which you can read here.
Some plans offer a bit more coverage than others and have a higher monthly premium.
If you have more significant medical needs you might want to pay a slightly higher monthly premium and have more coverage.
On the other hand, if you are very healthy and hardly use your insurance might find it more beneficial to pay a bit less for a plan that provides slightly less coverage. We talked about the best Medicare Supplement for healthy people here.
So, if you and your spouse have similar medical needs, you would probably want to have the same coverage.
If one of you has more significant medical needs, a plan with more coverage and higher monthly premiums may be a better choice.
Let’s Look at an Example
Jeanie and her husband Harold will be getting on to Medicare next month and have been shopping for Supplement Plans to help with the portion of their medical expenses not covered by Part A and Part B.
Jeanie is very healthy and only goes to the doctor once a year for her annual checkup.
Harold has had a heart attack, heart surgery, and other health struggles in the past and sees his family physician, cardiologist, and a couple of different specialists pretty regularly.
Jeanie decides Plan N will be the best supplement for her because even though it requires her to pay a $20 copay for doctor office visits, it has low monthly premiums.
Harold, however, decides that Plan G will be the best for him because even though he will pay around $30 more per month than Jeanie, he will not have to pay a copay when he sees his doctors.
They both have different coverage because their health is very different.
Sometimes we see one spouse have an Advantage Plan while the other has a Supplement.
Should We Purchase Our Plans From the Same Insurance Company?
No rule mandates you and your spouse purchase your plan from the same insurance company.
Some couples prefer to have their plans through the same company because they feel that it keeps things like making payments and monitoring policy activity more streamlined.
One significant advantage of purchasing your plans from the same company is that you can often take advantage of a household discount.
A household discount reduces your plan’s monthly premium when you and your spouse, domestic partner, or other Medicare age household members purchase your plans from the same insurance company.
Household discounts are usually 5% or 7%, and sometimes even 12% or 14% depending on the state you live in and the company offering the plans.
There are a handful of states where insurance companies do not offer a household discount, but most do. It is always a good idea to ask your agent.
Some companies offer you a household discount just for being married or living with someone and not require both people to be with the same company. Most require that you both purchase your plans through the same company to get the discount.
In some situations, especially if you and your spouse will be purchasing different letter plans, it may be more cost-effective to buy your plans from separate companies.
Some companies have better rates for females, while others have better rates for males.
Rates vary based on geographical location, age, and sex.
The best thing you can do is contact an independent insurance agent who knows each company’s ins and outs, any available discounts, state-specific guidelines, and which plan is the best fit for each of your individual needs.
You can learn the best way to pick an agent here.
Let’s Look at an Example
Remember Jeanie and Harold from our earlier example?
Even though Jeanie is considering Plan N and Harold Plan G, they are purchasing those plans from the same insurance company.
Because of this, they will each receive a 7% discount off of their monthly premium.
The quote she got was $100 for a woman her age that lives in her same geographic location. Jeanie’s rate goes down to $93.
Harold will pay $120.90 per month for his Plan G instead of the standard rate of $130 for a man his age living in his same geographic location.
Medicare Advantage Plans
Medicare Advantage plans are sold by private insurance companies approved by Medicare to cover all your Part A and Part B services.
Advantage plans are another type of additional coverage that people will get to help minimize their out-of-pocket expenses on Medicare.
We talked about Medicare Advantage plans, also known as Medicare Part C, in more detail in another post, which you can read here.
If you and your spouse choose to go the Advantage route, you may or may not want to be on the same plan or purchase your plan from the same company.
Keep reading to find out more.
Where you live matters also
When choosing a Medicare Advantage Plan, your providers, medications, and the county you live in determine what plan is best for you.
If you and your spouse take different medication or see different doctors, chances are you’ll have different plans.
Medicare supplements are standardized, meaning a supplement plan purchased from one company in a particular part of the country will provide the same benefits and coverage as that same plan purchased from any other company in any other part of the country.
We talked about standardized supplements in more detail in another post, which you can read here.
Advantage plans are quite the opposite – one plan can be vastly different from the next, and plans change, depending on where you live. If you lose your Advantage plan because you relocated, you’ll need to pick a new one that services your new area.
Should We Purchase Our Plans From the Same Insurance Company?
Only if both of your doctors and medications are covered by the same plan. If your health is different from each other, you’ll most likely be on different plans.
If you have similar medical needs, you may find that the same company’s same plan is the best fit for both of you, given your geographic location.
The best thing you can do is contact an independent insurance agent who knows which companies and plans provide the best service and coverage in your area, based on your specific needs.
Medicare Part D Plans
Medicare Part D plans are purchased from Medicare-approved insurance companies to help cover your prescription medication costs.
We talked about Part D in more detail in another post, which you can read here.
Much like Advantage plans, Part D plans are unique to your specific geographic location.
You can use your Part D plan anywhere in the country, but if you move, you will lose your Part D plan and will have to pick a new one.
If you and your spouse have very similar prescription medication needs, you may find that the same Part D plan is the best fit for each of you.
Just like an Advantage, you’ll need to pick a plan that best covers your individual needs.
There is no advantage or disadvantage to being on the same plan with the same company.
Part D plan providers do not offer any household discounts for spouses, domestic partners, or household members.
Let’s Look at an Example
Jeanie takes no prescription medications, while her husband, Harold, takes quite a few.
Jeanie decides to purchase the drug plan with the lowest monthly premium for her in her area while Harold chooses a different plan with a completely different company.
His monthly premium is slightly higher than Jeanie’s, but the copayments and coinsurance amounts for his specific drugs are much lower than they would have been if he had purchased the same plan as Jeanie.
Since both of their needs are different, they have different plans.
Is There a Discount for “Bundling?”
When it comes to Medicare, it is very different from other insurance types, like homeowners and car insurance.
There is no discount for “bundling,”
Bundling means you purchase all of your different coverage types from the same company.
No company will offer a discount if you purchase both your Part D plan and your Supplement through the same company- Part D plans and Supplement plans are entirely separate.
Advantage Plans often include Part D coverage as part of the benefits package. You won’t have the option of getting a drug plan that is a different company from your Medicare Advantage coverage.
Many couples think they should have the same plan from the same company, but this is not necessarily always the case.
If you and your spouse have vastly different medical and prescription medication needs, it may be that you have entirely separate plans with totally different companies.
Many insurance companies will offer a household discount if you and your spouse purchase your supplement plans – even if they are entirely different letter plans – through the same company.
There is no household discount when it comes to other types of coverage besides supplemental.
The best thing you can do is contact an independent insurance agent looking out for your best needs and not the interests of an insurance company.
They will help you find the best plan with the best company that suits your individual needs and find any discount available to you.
If you have any questions, use the search tool at the top of this page or on the home page.
Or, if you would like further detail on any of the topics we discussed, please fill out a contact form and submit your questions.
If you prefer to speak by phone, call us at 888-209-5049.