Is Medicare Supplement Plan F Going Away?
Summary: Medicare Supplement Plan F is the most comprehensive of the standardized Medicare Supplement plans available in most states. These plans might not be sold after 2020.
Medicare Supplement insurance: a quick summary
Medicare Supplement Plan F is a specific type of Medicare Supplement plan.
Medicare Supplement (also called Medigap) insurance may help pay for out-of-pocket costs of Medicare Part A and Part B. These costs might be coinsurance, copayments, or (in some cases) deductibles.
Please note: Medicare Part A and Part B make up the federal government’s Original Medicare program. Medicare Supplement plans are also named with letters, such as Plan A, but they are not the same thing.
In 47 states, there are up to 10 Medicare Supplement plans that are standardized with lettered names – for example, Medicare Supplement Plan F. Each standardized plan has the same set of basic benefits. Plan F, for example, has the same basic benefits whether you buy it in Vermont from one company, or in Washington from another. (Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Wisconsin have their own standardized plans.)
Medicare Supplement Plan F
Each lettered Medicare Supplement plan has its set of basic benefits. Here’s what Medicare Supplement Plan F may cover:
- Inpatient hospital costs and coinsurance under Medicare Part A for an additional 365 days after Medicare coverage runs out
- Coinsurance for skilled nursing care facilities
- Medicare Part B coinsurance/copayments
- Part A deductible
- Part B deductible
- Limited emergency medical care overseas (80% up to plan limits)
- Hospice care coinsurance/copayments under Part A
- First three pints of blood
- Part B excess charges (the amount a doctor is legally allowed to charge beyond the Medicare-approved amount for a medical service)
There’s also a high-deductible version of Medicare Supplement Plan F. With that plan, you generally have to pay an annual deductible before Plan F pays your Medicare out-of-pocket costs.
Like all Medicare Supplement plans, Plan F is sold by private insurance companies.
Is Medicare Supplement Plan F being discontinued?
Apparently so, for some people. According to congress.gov, starting in 2020, Medicare Supplement plans that pay the Medicare Part B deductible will no longer be sold to those newly eligible. This change is part of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA).
- If you already have Medicare Supplement Plan F (or Plan C, which also covers the Part B deductible), you can generally keep it.
- If you were eligible for Medicare before January 1, 2020, you may be able to buy Medicare Supplement Plan F or Plan C.
- If you qualify for Medicare on January 1, 2020 or later, you may not be able to buy Medicare Supplement Plan F or Plan C.
Medicare Supplement Plan F: how much is the deductible in question?
The Medicare Part B deductible, which is the deductible amount involved in the MACRA legislation, can change every year. In 2020, it’s $198. That’s the amount you have to pay before Part B pays for covered services.
Is there another Medicare Supplement plan that may be comparable?
If you become eligible for Medicare in 2020 or later, although you may not be able to buy Medicare Supplement Plan F or Plan C, you may be able to buy a very similar plan.
Medicare Supplement Plan G generally has the same basic benefits as Plan F, except for the Part B deductible. A high-deductible version of Plan G might become available in 2020, according to Oregon.gov. So, you might want to look into Plan G. If you live in Massachusetts, Minnesota, or Wisconsin, contact your state health insurance assistance program (SHIP) to learn about Medicare Supplement plan details in those states. Go to https://www.shiptacenter.org/ and select your state.
If you’d like to compare Medicare Supplement plans, just click the Browse Plans button on this page to get started.
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