About Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans F, G, and N
Once you’re enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B, you may want additional coverage through a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) insurance policy. Medicare Supplement insurance Plans F, G, and N are three of the standardized Medicare Supplement insurance plans offered in most states. (Massachusetts, Minnesota, Wisconsin have their own versions of Medicare Supplement.)
Please note: Medicare Supplement Plan F (and Plan C) won’t be sold after January 1, 2020 to people who qualify for Medicare on or after that date. You won’t have to give up your Plan F or Plan C if you already have one in 2019.
Medicare Supplement insurance plans are offered by private insurance companies and can help you pay for out-of-pocket costs for services covered under Original Medicare (Part A and Part B). They’re standardized in most states, meaning that different insurance companies must offer the same basic benefits for plans of the same letter. Plans F, G and N are three of the most comprehensive plans. Plan F covers 9 benefits, Plan G covers 8 benefits and Plan N covers 7 benefits. Other Medicare Supplement insurance plans, such as Plan A, cover as few as 4 benefits.
Benefits that plans F, G and N may cover
Medicare Supplement insurance Plan N generally covers:
- Medicare Part A coinsurance and hospital costs up to an additional 365 days after Medicare benefits are used at 100%
- Medicare Part B coinsurance or copayment at 100%
- First three pints of blood at 100%
- Part A hospice care coinsurance or copayment at 100%
- Skilled nursing facility care coinsurance at 100%
- Part A deductible at 100%
- Foreign travel emergencies (up to plan limits) at 80%
Plan N pays 100% of the Part B (medical) coinsurance except for a copayment of up to $20 on some office visits and up to a $50 copayment for emergency room visits that don’t result in inpatient hospital admission.
Medicare Supplement insurance Plan G typically covers everything that Plan N covers (listed above) as well as:
- Part B excess charges at 100% (explained below)
Medicare Supplement insurance Plan F offers more coverage than any other Medicare Supplement insurance plan. It usually covers everything that Plan G covers as well as:
- The Medicare Part B deductible at 100% (the Part B deductible is $185 in 2019). However, changes are coming in 2020. Medicare Supplement plans that cover the Part B deductible won’t be available to you if you become eligible for Medicare January 1, 2020 or later. Those include Plan F and Plan C.
In some states, some insurance companies offer a high-deductible option for Plan F. If you chose this option, you must pay for Medicare-covered costs such as coinsurance, copayments and deductibles up to a deductible amount before your policy pays anything. The Plan F deductible amount can change every year and is $2,300 in 2019. This high-deductible option might have a lower premium than the regular Plan F.
The changes for 2020 mean that high-deductible Plan F won’t be sold to anyone who’s not already eligible for Medicare before January 1, 2020. But a high-deductible Plan G might be available in 2020, reports America’s Health Insurance Plans (ahip.org). It’s very similar to high-deductible Plan F, but doesn’t cover the Medicare Part B annual deductible.
Comparing plans F, G, and N
Because Medigap Plan F offers the most benefits, it is usually the most expensive of the Medicare Supplement insurance plans. However, this may not always be the case, and you should shop around to find the best plan option for you. If you know that you will face high out-of-pocket health-care costs, Plan F could give you the most help with these costs.
Note that both Plan F and Plan G may cover Medicare Part B excess charges, and they are the only Medicare Supplement insurance plans that do. Excess charges are the difference in cost between what a non-participating doctor or health-care provider charges for a medical service and the Medicare-approved amount. If you see a non-participating provider, he or she is allowed to charge up to 15% above what Medicare has approved for a covered service. You’ll normally be responsible for paying this excess amount out-of-pocket unless you have a Medicare Supplement insurance plan.
Enrolling in Medicare Supplement insurance plan F, G, or N
You might want to try to predict your future health care needs when you are first enrolling in a Medicare Supplement insurance plan, as you may not be able to switch plans later when your needs change. In most cases, you won’t have a right under federal law to switch Medicare Supplement insurance policies unless you’re in your 6-month Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment period. During this Open Enrollment Period, you can buy a Medicare Supplement insurance plan from any insurance company that’s licensed in your state. This Open Enrollment Period begins on the first day of the month in which you’re both enrolled in Medicare Part B and age 65 or older. If you apply for a Medicare Supplement insurance plan after your Open Enrollment Period ends, you may be subjected to medical underwriting. Medical underwriting uses information on your past or current health problems to charge you more for coverage or even deny you coverage. You will not be subject to medical underwriting during Open Enrollment.
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