These are the most and least expensive states for Medigap coverage

They say location is everything when it comes to real estate. Well, the same could be said of what you pay for health care to cover the “Medigap” — what Medicare doesn’t cover — during your retirement years.

Knowing which states pay more for Medigap coverage and which pay less could help you decide where you want to spend your golden years.

RELATED: Ask Clark: What should I look for in a retirement destination?

The cost of Medigap coverage varies greatly by state recently took a look at the cost of Medigap plans in all 50 states and found a few surprises.

For example, Florida may have a reputation as a retirement haven, but Medigap plans cost an average of $1,831 annually in the Sunshine State. That places it among the Top 10 most expensive states for Medigap coverage.

Now, $1,831 may not sound like a lot in the grand scheme of things. But to someone on a fixed income, it represents a monthly expense of $152.58.

Keep in mind that the average monthly check from Social Security is only $1,404, so $152 is a full 10% of your entire monthly income if you’re relying strictly on Social Security to get by!

Meanwhile, the cheapest state in the Union for Medigap plans is sun-soaked Hawaii, where policies are only $1,310 annually — $109.16 on a monthly basis.

10 costliest states for Medigap coverage by annual premium

Massachusetts $1,947
Nevada $1,904
Louisiana $1,897
New Jersey $1,892
Maryland $1,865
Connecticut $1,861
Texas $1,860
Alaska $1,851
Florida $1,831
California $1,817

10 cheapest states for Medigap coverage by annual premium

North Dakota $1,564
Virginia $1,558
Montana $1,526
Idaho $1,519
Maine $1,507
Wisconsin $1,495
Iowa $1,468
Oregon $1,468
New Mexico $1,464
Hawaii $1,310

Note that there is a $637 price difference between the most expensive state (Massachusetts) for Medigap coverage and the cheapest (Hawaii). That works out to be a difference of $53.08 a month.

Cost of living adjustment won’t be enough to keep up with Medigap inflation

Social Security recipients receive a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) in years when there is inflation, yet it likely won't be enough to keep up with increases in the cost of Medigap plans.

That’s because Medigap plans go up based on both inflation and a year-over-year age-based cost adjustment. That is,  the older you get, the more you pay for Medigap coverage.

So perhaps the best strategy, if it makes sense for your life, is to eye the possibility of retirement in one of the cheaper states for Medigap coverage.

This is one of those cases where an ounce of prevention — in the form of pre-planning your retirement strategy as far as location — is worth a pound of cure.

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