At our independent agency, Medicare supplement Plans F, G and N are the most requested plans by our clients. Their popularity can be explained by the fact that these three plans cover the most important gaps left behind by Medicare. But there are some key differences.
Almost all carriers offer all three plans, but there are important changes coming. In 2020, Plan F will no longer be for sale to those who are new to Medicare. It will continue to be available to those who were previously eligible, however.
Medicare Supplement Plan F – The Most Comprehensive Coverage
Traditionally, Plan F has been the popular Medicare supplement. At one point, two out of every five supplement purchases was a Plan F policy. The primary reason, is that it fills in all of the gaps in Medicare – every single one. In other words, if your health care services are a Medicare approved expense, then Plan F will cover the remaining balance.
Due to the fact that it’s the most comprehensive supplement offered, it’s also the most expensive as well. Depending on where you live, your gender and your age, Plan F can be around $150 per month. In some areas it will be less – and in others much more. The older you are the more expensive it will be.
However, the rules are changing in 2020 and we are seeing a lot less demand for Plan F. Most of our clients don’t want to purchase a policy that will no longer be available to the general public. The reason is that rates will likely increase more quickly once this policy becomes less available. Premium stability is one of the more important factors when shopping for supplemental insurance.
Additionally, some carriers also offer High Deductible Plan F. HD Plan F won’t cover it’s portion of your bill until the yearly deductible has been met. Medicare, of course, will still pay its portion first. High Deductible Plan F is very popular because the premiums can be very low. In many places, the premiums are around $35 a month.
(It is important to note that, like all Medicare supplements, Plan F does not cover Part D prescription drug coverage. All Part D Drug Plans must be purchased separately on a stand-alone basis.)
Medicare Supplement Plan G – Also A Wise Choice
Plan G covers everything Plan F does except for the Part B deductible. This deductible usually changes each year, but has always been less than $200. So the only difference is a one-time, very small deductible. But when you run the premiums, Plan G can be nearly $25 less per month. This premium difference more than covers the deductible in many cases. You’re saving money overall.
Plan G is also popular because it is not a guaranteed issue Medicare supplement at this time. This means it’s a little harder to buy in some instances and therefore is more exclusive. This exclusivity translates to lower premiums and lower premium increases. This will change in 2020 however as it becomes one of the new Guaranteed Issue policies. I recommend that most of my clients consider Plan G when they want one of the more comprehensive supplements.
We also expect that High Deductible Plan G will be rolling out very soon. It will likely be the least expensive supplement available for purchase.
It is also worth noting that many insurance companies offer preferred discounts to those who are in their Medicare open enrollment window. Healthy consumers can also receive a preferred rating if they meet certain health criteria. And some plans will offer spousal discounts even when the other spouse does not apply. You always want to ask about any discounts that might be available to you.
Plan N – The New Supplement For Long Term Stability?
Since Plan G will have to take over the old role of Plan F by becoming the new Guarantee Issue supplement, Plan N is in a great position to be the wiser choice of the three. It will be the new exclusive policy in 2020, but it does have some different gaps to consider.
First you want to know that Plan N covers everything that Plan G does except for Part B Excess Charges. These charges (when doctors don’t accept Medicare assignment) are rarely encountered, however. Additionally, Plan N has a $20 office copay and $50 emergency room copay. So with Plan N you have three out of pocket costs to consider:
- The Part B Deductible
- Part B Excess Charges (where applicable)
- Office and ER Copays
In exchange for a little more out of pocket exposure, Plan N rates are some of the lowest available for a comprehensive supplement. In many areas, Plan N is around $85 a month for those who are at or near age 65. And now that Plan G will be issue on a Guarantee Issue basis, Plan N will be the new exclusive plan. As it will be harder to enroll in for some, it will have a healthier population and lower rates increases overall. In many cases, we see Plan N rate increases around 4% which is about half of what we see for Plans G & F.
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