What Is The Most Desired Zip Code In The U.S New Medicare Supplement Competition in Texas

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New Medicare Supplement Competition in Texas

The top dogs in the Texas Medicare supplement market are getting a run for their money. Two competing carriers have taken the stage and are battling for the top spot in most Texas zip codes. Cigna and Manhattan Life, underwritten by American Retirement Life Insurance Company, have recently attracted the attention of agents and consumers in Texas. With low fees and fast processing, it’s no wonder these two carriers are gaining huge amounts of new business and exposure so quickly.

American Retirement Life Insurance Company, a subsidiary of Cigna, began selling Medicare supplements in Texas in early February 2013. Over the past year, ARLIC has delivered extremely competitive rates – dramatically improving the situation for Texas Medicare Supplements. Before the Cigna brand, only three carriers could offer the lowest premiums: Omaha Insurance, Oxford Life and Continental Life (Aetna). These providers each have their own zip code that they track competitively. A year ago, your chances of getting 1-2 “good” prices in any zip code were low. Or Omaha, Oxford or Continental, alongside one of the less competitive brands. It was a thin pick.

Now that Cigna has entered the mix, consumers will find better prices and more options for choosing a quality carrier.

Cigna also offers a quick and easy application process, as does Manhattan Life. Agents can submit new deals through electronic filing and their clients can easily save money. New deals are usually issued in 3 days to 2 weeks (they boast 3-5 day guidelines). Of course, this also depends on the time of year you apply—open enrollment months are inevitably busier.

Due to their cheap prices, demand for Cigna has boomed. They are quickly hiring more employees to keep up with the demand for their products. This growth of their company in the first year of business is extraordinary and can only mean success. If you’re a consumer worried about the company’s financial outlook, this gives you peace of mind that ARLIC’s low prices and the Cigna brand are here to stay.

Located in Austin, Texas, ARLIC’s rates are extremely competitive for residents of Travis County and surrounding areas. There are also some “hot” areas, such as zip codes in and around North Texas. If you are a Medicare Supplement policyholder who lives in one of these areas, it may be time to call an agent and review your current policy.

ARLIC offers Plans A, F, G, and N — which are available in 18 other states. You can check the availability on the ARLIC website.

A new addition to the Texas Medicare Supplement market is Manhattan Life. A few months ago, Manhattan Life didn’t sell in Texas. To be honest, I didn’t know this company at all. Then I slowly started seeing their name pop up in my quote engine – and now when I search for Texas zip codes, Manhattan Life is definitely in the top 5 in most areas, and even in the top 2 in some places. I suspect this will change (to the right) as they grow in the coming year.

Like Cigna, Manhattan Life is a reputable and financially stable carrier that is part of a larger family; Central United Life, Western United Life and Family Life are all close relatives and trusted brands in the industry.

In addition to Texas, Manhattan Life offers Medigap plans in AZ, GA, IL, IN, MI, MS, NC, NE, PA, SC, TN, TX and VA. Plans available for purchase include A, B, C, D, F, G, M, and N, which offer more latitude than ARLIC (although not all are offered in every state).

Both Cigna and Manhattan Life are leaders in the Texas area. While Cigna is still the first of the two, I suspect Manhattan Life is targeting more specific niches if it hasn’t already. I also expect both companies to evolve over the next few years — whether it’s stabilizing their rates and focusing on certain areas, or perhaps, in the case of Manhattan Life, displacing Cigna from the top spot; only time will tell.

Some consumers have expressed concern about buying a contract from a new carrier and then having the carrier raise prices to “bait and switch” and lock customers into high premiums. While I can’t guarantee anything, I don’t think this is a smart technique for either company. Remember, even though the prices are low, they are still competitive with the powerhouses that have been selling in Texas for years. It takes 5-10 years to build a solid reputation amidst such dominant competition.

Fortunately for consumers, the introduction of these new products only makes prices more competitive. If you’ve never considered getting your policy reviewed, now is the perfect time to call an agent because carriers are fighting for your business more than ever.

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