Attained Age vs Issue Age Medigap Plans

Medigap plans vary in their calculation methods and are based on three rating structures.

  • Attained-Age Medigap plans have premiums based on your current age at enrollment and increase with age. They may start with lower premiums but become more expensive as you age.
  • Issue-Age Medigap plans have premiums based on your age at enrollment and do not increase based on age. They may have higher initial premiums but are more stable and predictable.
  • Community-Rated Medigap plans have the same premium for everyone, regardless of age. They may be a good option for individuals who don’t want premiums to increase based on age but may have higher initial costs.
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What Are Attained-Age Medigap Plans?

Attained-Age Medigap Plans refer to Medicare supplement insurance policies with premiums based on the age at which an individual enrolls. Here are key points to know about these plans:

  • Costs Increase with Age: As individuals age, the Medigap premiums for Attained-Age tend to increase. This is because the risk of medical expenses also increases with age.
  • Premiums Vary by Insurer: Each health insurance company sets premium rates for Attained-Age Medigap Plans. It is essential to compare prices and coverage options from different insurers to find the most suitable plan.
  • Guaranteed Renewable: Attained-Age Medigap Plans are guaranteed renewable, which means that as long as the premiums are paid, the policy cannot be canceled even if the insured develops health issues over time.

What Are Issue-Age Medigap Plans?

Issue-Age Medigap Plans are a type of Medicare supplement insurance based on the age at which the policy is issued. Unlike other Medigap plans, issue-age plans have premiums determined by the age at the time the policy is issued rather than the age at enrollment.

This means that individuals who enroll in an issue-age plan at a younger age may be able to secure lower premiums for the lifetime of their policy. It is important to note that issue-age policies may initially have lower monthly premiums but may still increase over time, as with any Medigap policy.

What Are Community-Rated Medigap Plans?

Community-rated Medigap plans are insurance policies that set premium rates based on the community as a whole rather than individual characteristics. These plans aim to provide equal coverage and rates to everyone in a particular geographical area, regardless of age.

In understanding community-rated Medigap plans, consider the following points:

  • Premium rates: These plans utilize a community rating system, where the average health status and age of the community determine the plan’s cost. This means everyone in the community pays the same premium, regardless of age or health condition.
  • Risk pooling: Community-rated Medigap plans can spread the risk among diverse individuals by pooling together a larger population. This approach helps to stabilize premium rates and ensure affordable coverage options for everyone in the community.

It is worth noting that community-rated Medigap plans exclude factors such as age and health status when determining premium rates, providing a more equitable system for older adults and individuals with pre-existing conditions.

Five Facts About Attained Age Vs. Issue Age Medigap Plans:

1.  Attained-Age policies calculate premiums based on your current age and increase as you age.

2.  Issue-Age Medigap plans calculate premiums based on your age when you sign up and may have lower rates if you sign up at a younger age.

3.  Attained-Age plans often have lower initial premiums but may become more expensive as you age.

4.  Issue-Age plans may have higher initial premiums but do not increase based on age in the future.

5.  Community-Rated policies have the same premium for everyone in a particular geographic area, regardless of age.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Medigap Plan

When selecting a Medigap plan, there are several important aspects to consider. Understanding the Factors to Consider When Choosing a Medigap Plan is crucial to ensure you make an informed decision regarding your healthcare coverage. Here are five key points to consider:

Coverage Options: Evaluate the Medigap plans and assess which best aligns with your healthcare needs. Consider the coverage for hospital stays, skilled nursing care, and hospice care.

Cost: Determine the financial implications of each Medigap plan, including premiums, deductibles, and out-of-pocket costs. Compare the costs associated with each Medigap plan to find the best value for your situation.

Network Restrictions: Unlike Medicare Advantage plans, Medigap plans do not have specific networks of doctors or hospitals. This means you can visit any healthcare provider that accepts Medicare patients. If you prefer the freedom to choose any provider, a Medigap plan may be right for you.

Guaranteed Issue Rights: Understand your guaranteed issue rights, which allow you to enroll in a Medigap plan without being denied coverage or charged higher premiums due to pre-existing conditions. It’s important to know when these rights apply to ensure you can secure the coverage you need.

Attained-Age vs. Issue-Age: Consider whether you prefer a Medigap plan based on attained-age or issue-age. This distinction refers to how premiums increase over time. Attained-age plans have premiums that increase with your age, while Issue-age plans have premiums based on your age at the time of enrollment.

Bottom Line

The attained-Age pricing method initially tends to have lower premiums but increases as the policyholder ages. At the same time, Issue-Age plans are based on the age at the time of purchase and remain relatively stable throughout.

The distinction is important as it determines the affordability and predictability of premiums over time, which can significantly impact individuals’ financial planning and long-term budgeting.

In addition, it is noteworthy that Attained-Age Medigap Plans may be more suitable for individuals looking for short-term cost savings, especially in the initial years.

However, those prioritizing long-term stability and predictability may find Issue-Age plans more advantageous. Factors such as income, health status, and future medical needs should be considered when deciding between the two options, as they can significantly impact the value and benefits of each plan.

Sources:  Medicare.govAARP.orgKaiser Family Foundation


  • Do all states offer issue-age-rated Medigap plans?

    No, not all states offer issue-age-rated Medigap plans. States like Arizona, Idaho, Georgia, and Florida are among the few that offer these plans. It’s important to check with Medigap plan providers in your state to determine if they provide issue-age-rated plans.

  • Do Medicare Supplement premiums increase with age?

    Yes, Medicare supplement premiums may increase with age, depending on the type of plan. Attained-age-rated plans generally increase premiums as you get older, and issue-age-rated plans have higher premiums if you join when you’re older. Community-rated plans are not based on age, but premiums may still increase due to inflation and location.

Mark Prip

Since 2003, Mark Prip has been leading  Policy Guide, Inc., providing knowledgeable information about Medicare, life insurance, and dental coverage to clients in over forty states. With his unparalleled hands-on experience aiding countless Medicare beneficiaries in selecting an appropriate health plan, he is a prime example amongst other competitors for expertise and assistance. Mark has held his Florida Health & Life Insurance License (E051889) since 2003. View his license profile on the Florida Department of Insurance website.