UPDATED: Nov 30, 2018
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About Manhattan Life
Named for its New York City birthplace, Manhattan Life Insurance Company was founded in 1850. The company became the first to issue life insurance to a woman, and also first to issue a group life policy. In 1894 the Manhattan Life Building became New York’s first skyscraper, and it stood as the tallest building in the world at the time. It was eventually demolished.
A century after its creation, Manhattan Life continued to pioneer into the 1980s, moving into reinsurance and policy management. The company also restructured into a full stockholder ownership during the same era. Today Manhattan Life Insurance Company is part of Manhattan Life Group, which has several other subsidiaries. Policies from Manhattan may be underwritten by any of those underlying companies.
Manhattan Life Insurance Company still operates out of New York although Manhattan Life Group has its headquarters in Houston, Texas. The group focuses on life insurance, retirement products, and supplemental health products including Medicare Supplement.
Policies are sold across the country through agents.
Manhattan Life Medicare Supplement
Manhattan Life offers five out of the eleven available Medicare Supplement plans: A, C, F, G, and N.
Plan A is considered the base plan and pays for Medicare coinsurance amounts for hospital, medical, and hospice care. It also provides coverage for the first three pints of blood needed on a yearly basis.
Each of the other plans offered by Manhattan Life includes these coverages along with additional benefits. Plan F is the most comprehensive. It covers all of the coinsurance and deductible amounts, emergency medical during foreign travel, and all other out of pocket costs not paid for under Original Medicare.
The remaining plans are somewhere in between, with Plan N being the only option that uses copays in order to provide coverage at a more budget-friendly rate.
Although the Manhattan Life site does not state that they offer plan M, they do have a description of it on the Medicare Supplement page among the short descriptions of the other plans they offer.
Online quoting is not offered for Medicare Supplement directly on the Manhattan Life website, nor is there a link to a location to obtain a quote. The website does provide the option to locate a local agent in order to obtain a quote. This is likely to result in some solicitation attempts, which may be problematic for those that prefer to compare rates without having to fend off sales attempts.
In an unusual move, the company appears to have a separate subset of their website where Medicare Supplement quotes can be obtained. Without searching for this, most customers would reach out to an agent and miss the opportunity to get quotes online. While it makes sense that the company would want potential customers on the phone with an agent that can close the deal, it begs the question of why they would then have the quoting system at all.
The fine print on this site indicates that the policies being quoted are underwritten by a subsidiary company, Western United Assurance (this is common practice for groups like Manhattan Life). We attempted to get a quote using the request form, which requires the entering of personal contact information, but every zip code we entered for a sample was rejected, including the California zip code we usually use and the one for Manhattan Life’s Texas headquarters. The site stated coverage from Western United Insurance was not available in those areas. As a result, our attempts to get a quote from the secondary website came up empty.
Manhattan Life does have online access to claims forms that can be downloaded, filled out, and then re-uploaded, but none of them appear to pertain to Medicare Supplement insurance.
In most cases, Medicare Supplement insurance claims are handled directly with providers, who will bill the insurance company and be paid directly. Because this is how most companies handle things, we aren’t surprised to see no Medicare claim forms on the website.
Ratings and Consumer Reviews
Manhattan Life Group has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), and there are only 10 complaints on file in the past three years. They have been accredited since 2013, and there are five reviews for an overall one-star rating. The reviews cite difficulty with claims, and some appear to reflect a lack of understanding of the policy contract.
There is very little to go on in terms of reviews for this company, which is a bit surprising as they are fairly large. In general, we view a lack of reviews as a positive thing for an insurance company.
The Bottom Line
Manhattan Life has a long, stable history in the insurance industry and we see nothing of concern in terms of their reputation. They offer a solid handful of Medicare Supplement plans, but we were unable to get a look at their rates. Still, for those that do not mind making phone calls to get rate quotes, this company may be worth the call.
For a list of companies that we recommend, visit our Best Insurance Companies page.