Medicare Supplement Comparison – If you’ve been researching your Medicare supplement options, you’ve probably come across a supplement comparison chart. You might see them in different colors and fonts, but they all look very similar. But what are these popular comparison charts, and what do they really tell you? That’s what we’re going to find out today.
What’s on a Supplement Comparison Chart?
First things first. What are you looking at when you see one of these charts? Each column represents one of the ten Medigap plans that are available for you to purchase. You’ll see plans A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M, and N.
Each row is a benefit that might be covered by the plan. Intersecting boxes will usually be marked with a checkmark to indicate that the plan covers that service. Blank boxes or boxes with an “X” in them mean the plan does not cover that particular benefit.
The Medicare supplement comparison chart is a helpful tool you can use to get a quick overview of each Medicare plan and narrow down your choices to the ones with the coverage you want.
What Do Medicare Supplements Cover?
Let’s talk about the benefits you see in each row of the comparison chart, so you know just how extensive each one is. This is the order the most often follow on the chart.
Part A Coinsurance and hospital coverage
Part A is your hospital insurance. Once you meet your deductible, your coinsurance expense is based on how many days you’ve been in the hospital. The first 60 days are covered by Part A. Day 61 to day 90 will cost you $389 per day. Starting on day 91, if you have any of the 60 lifetime reserve days left, your cost will be $778 per day. If you don’t, you’ll be responsible for the full fee.
Every Medicare supplement plan includes this benefit, so you’ll have no inpatient hospital costs if you enroll in a Medigap plan.
Part B coinsurance or copayments
Medicare Part B is your outpatient insurance. After you pay the Part B deductible, the program operates on an 80/20 split where Medicare pays 80%, and you pay 20%. There are also copayments for some doctor’s visits.
Every Medigap plan includes this benefit, but Plans K and L only pay a portion of the leftover costs.
Part A hospice care coinsurance or copayment
Medicare Part A will have small copays for prescription drugs associated with hospice care, as well as a 5% coinsurance cost for inpatient respite care.
All Medigap plans include this benefit, with Plans K and L paying a percentage instead of the full amount.
First three pints of blood
Part A pays for blood transfusion, except for the first three pints you receive. Again, this is a benefit of every Medicare supplement plan. Plans K and L will pay 50% and 75%, respectively.
Skilled nursing facility coinsurance
Skilled nursing facility care falls under Part A. Once you meet your deductible, Part A pays for the first 20 days of your stay. From day 21 to day 100, you’ll be left with $194.50 per day.
Medigap plans A and B do not include this benefit. The rest of them do, with Plans K and L only paying a percentage.
Part A deductible
In 2022, the Part A deductible is $1556 per benefit period, which begins on the first day of a hospital or skilled nursing facility stay. You could have to pay the deductible more than once if you have multiple hospital stays.
Plan A does not cover the Part A deductible. Plans K and M pay for 50% of it, and Plan L pays for 75 % of it. The other plans pay for the full Part A deductible.
Part B deductible
The Part B deductible is $233 in 2022. There are only two plans that include this coverage: Plans C and F. However, only beneficiaries who turned 65 before 2020 can enroll in one of those plans.
Part B excess charges
Part B excess charges are amounts that your provider charges that are more than the Medicare-approved amounts for services. If your healthcare provider does not accept Medicare assignment, they can charge up to 15% more. (There are eight states that prohibit this practice.)
Plans F and G include payment for any excess charges.
Foreign travel emergency
On the last two of the comparison chart, you’ll see foreign travel emergency care. Plans C, D, F, G, M, and N include this benefit. They will pay 80% of your expenses in the case of a medical emergency in a foreign country. There are other limits on this benefit, including how long you’ve been overseas, and set maximum amounts of coverage.
What Can’t You See on a Medicare Supplement Comparison Chart?
While the Medicare supplement plan comparison chart will give you a great idea of which plans might be right for you, it is missing some information.
First, eligibility requirements. As we mentioned, you cannot enroll in Plans C or F if you turn 65 after January 1, 2020. Second, not all Medigap plans are sold in every state or by every insurance company. There are also high-deductible versions of Plans F and G that are not listed on the chart. (Both have the same benefits as their respective traditional plans but come with a deductible of $2,490 in 2022.)
Lastly, Plans L and K have annual out-of-pocket limits. The limit for Plan L is $3,310, and the limit for Plan K is $6,620. Once you’ve paid this amount out-of-pocket, all expenses are paid for at 100%.
You can read more here on Medicare Plan Comparison 2023!