What Medicare Supplement Plans Does Blue Shield of California Offer?

Tamera Jackson by Tamera Jackson | Licensed since 2007
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This article was updated on: 09/16/2018

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Are you enrolled in Original Medicare, Part A and Part B? You might have noticed that the program comes with certain out-of-pocket costs for many services – deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance, for example. To help cover these costs, you may be able to get a Blue Shield of California Medicare Supplement (also known as Medigap) plan.

Blue Shield of California offers several Medicare Supplement plans in California to help pay for your Part A and Part B out-of-pocket expenses. There are several standardized Medicare Supplement plans in California (as in most states), and one of them (offered by Blue Shield) even caps annual out-of-pocket costs for enrollees, giving them greater predictability over their health insurance spending. Here’s what you need to know about Blue Shield Medical Supplement plans.

What are Medicare Supplement plans?

Medicare Supplement plans, also known as Medigap plans, help cover the difference between what Original Medicare pays for covered services and the total cost of these services. Medicare Supplement plans are standardized with lettered names in most states; there are 10 plans labeled A through N (there is no Medigap Plan E, H, I, or J). Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Wisconsin have their own standardized plans. Every plan with the same lettered name must include the same coverage; for example, a Medicare Supplement Plan N you buy in Cupertino would have the same benefits as a Medicare Supplement Plan N you buy in Half Moon Bay, or even in another state. However, premiums vary even among plans of the same name.

What Medicare Supplement Plans does Blue Shield of California offer?

There are currently eight different Blue Shield Medicare Supplement plans available in California. Please note that with some Medicare Supplement plans, you need to meet your Medicare Part A and Part B deductible (as applicable) before plan benefits apply.

All Blue Shield of California Medicare Supplement plans include an extra benefit not always seen with Medicare Supplement plans: membership in a SilverSneakers fitness program.

Here is an outline of other benefits included in Blue Shield of California Medicare Supplement plans.

Blue Shield Medicare Supplement Plan A

This is Blue Shield of California’s most basic Medicare Supplement policy, which includes these benefits:

  • All of your Part A hospitalization coinsurance plus 365 additional days of benefits after Original Medicare coverage is exhausted.
  • The first three pints of blood (if a hospital or other facility has to buy blood for you as required for a Medicare-covered procedure)
  • Medicare Part B coinsurance or copayment for outpatient care (generally 20% of Medicare-covered expenses)
  • 100% of any Part A coinsurance for hospice care
  • Basic gym access through SilverSneakers fitness

Blue Shield Medicare Supplement Plan C

This Medicare Supplement plan’s benefits include:

  • All of your Part A hospitalization coinsurance plus 365 additional days of benefits after Original Medicare coverage is exhausted.
  • The first three pints of blood (if a hospital or other facility has to buy blood for you as required for a Medicare-covered procedure)
  • Medicare Part B coinsurance or copayment for outpatient care (generally 20% of Medicare-covered expenses)
  • 100% of any Part A coinsurance for hospice care
  • 100% of your Part A deductible
  • 100% of your coinsurance for skilled nursing care
  • 100% of your Part B deductible
  • 80% of medically necessary emergency care expenses during foreign travel, up to plan limits
  • Basic gym access through SilverSneakers fitness

Blue Shield Medicare Supplement Plan D

This Medicare Supplement plan’s benefits include:

  • All of your Part A hospitalization coinsurance plus 365 additional days of benefits after Original Medicare coverage is exhausted.
  • The first three pints of blood (if a hospital or other facility has to buy blood for you as required for a Medicare-covered procedure)
  • Medicare Part B coinsurance or copayment for outpatient care (generally 20% of Medicare-covered expenses)
  • 100% of any Part A coinsurance for hospice care
  • 100% of your Part A deductible
  • 100% of your coinsurance for skilled nursing care
  • 80% of medically necessary emergency care expenses during foreign travel, up to plan limits
  • Basic gym access through SilverSneakers fitness

Blue Shield Medicare Supplement Plan F

This Medicare Supplement plan’s benefits include:

  • All of your Part A hospitalization coinsurance plus 365 additional days of benefits after Original Medicare coverage is exhausted.
  • The first three pints of blood (if a hospital or other facility has to buy blood for you as required for a Medicare-covered procedure)
  • Medicare Part B coinsurance or copayment for outpatient care (generally 20% of Medicare-covered expenses)
  • 100% of any Part A coinsurance for hospice care
  • 100% of your Part A deductible
  • 100% of your coinsurance for skilled nursing care
  • 100% of your Part B deductible
  • 80% of medically necessary emergency care expenses during foreign travel, up to plan limits
  • 100% coverage of your Part B excess charges*
  • Basic gym access through SilverSneakers fitness

*A Medicare Part B excess charge is the difference between the Medicare-approved amount for the charge, and the amount a provider is legally allowed to charge for a Medicare-covered service.

Blue Shield Medicare Supplement High Deductible Plan F 

Blue Shield also offers High Deductible Plan F which offers the same benefits as Plan F.  This high deductible plan pays the same benefits as Plan F after you have paid a calendar-year $2,200 deductible.  Benefits from High Deductible Plan F will not begin until out-of-pocket expenses exceed $2,200.  These expenses include the Medicare deductible for Part A and Part B, but do not include the plan’s separate foreign travel emergency deductible.

Blue Shield Medicare Supplement Plan G

This Medicare Supplement plan’s benefits include:

  • All of your Part A hospitalization coinsurance plus 365 additional days of benefits after Original Medicare coverage is exhausted.
  • The first three pints of blood (if a hospital or other facility has to buy blood for you as required for a Medicare-covered procedure)
  • Medicare Part B coinsurance or copayment for outpatient care (generally 20% of Medicare-covered expenses)
  • 100% of any Part A coinsurance for hospice care
  • 100% of your Part A deductible
  • 100% of your coinsurance for skilled nursing care
  • 80% of medically necessary emergency care expenses during foreign travel, up to plan limits
  • 100% coverage of your Part B excess charges*
  • Basic gym access through SilverSneakers fitness

*A Medicare Part B excess charge is the difference between the Medicare-approved amount for the charge, and the amount a provider is legally allowed to charge for a Medicare-covered service.

Blue Shield Medicare Supplement Plan K

This Medicare Supplement plan’s benefits include:

  • All of your Part A hospitalization coinsurance plus 365 additional days of benefits after Original Medicare coverage is exhausted.
  • 50% of the cost of the first three pints of blood (if a hospital or other facility has to buy blood for you as required for a Medicare-covered procedure)
  • 50% of your Medicare Part B coinsurance or copayment for outpatient care (generally 20% of Medicare-covered expenses)
  • 50% of any Part A coinsurance for hospice care
  • 50% of your Part A deductible
  • 50% of your coinsurance for skilled nursing care
  • Calendar-year maximum on out-of-pocket expenses
  • Basic gym access through SilverSneakers fitness

Blue Shield Medicare Supplement Plan N

This Medicare Supplement plan’s benefits include:

  • All of your Part A hospitalization coinsurance plus 365 additional days of benefits after Original Medicare coverage is exhausted.
  • The first three pints of blood (if a hospital or other facility has to buy blood for you as required for a Medicare-covered procedure)
  • 100% Part B coinsurance after your copayment (typically up to $20 for certain office visits and up to $50 for emergency room visits that do not result in your admission as an inpatient)
  • 100% of any Part A coinsurance for hospice care
  • 100% of your Part A deductible
  • 100% of your coinsurance for skilled nursing care
  • 80% of medically necessary emergency care expenses during foreign travel, up to plan limits
  • Basic gym access through SilverSneakers fitness

As with all Medicare Supplement plans, these benefits apply only to products and services covered by Original Medicare. You can’t enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan and a Medicare Advantage plan at the same time, in most cases.

When can I sign up for a Blue Shield Medicare Supplement plan in California?

It’s generally best to sign up during your Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period (OEP). This six-month period begins the month you’re both at least 65 years old and enrolled in Medicare Part B. During this period, your acceptance into a Medicare Supplement plan is guaranteed as long as you meet the eligibility requirements (you’re enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B, and you live within the Medicare Supplement plan’s service area). Your enrollment in a Medicare Supplement plan can’t be denied due to a health condition.

If you apply for a Medicare Supplement plan outside the Medicare Supplement OEP, the plan may require you to undergo medical underwriting, and can either refuse your application or charge you a higher amount due to your health condition. However, there are some situations where you might have guaranteed issue rights to enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan.

Would you like to compare Medicare Supplement plans? Just use the Find Plans button on this page.

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