Top Medigap Plans – When most people start looking at Medigap options, their first question is, “What are the top Medigap plans?” It’s a good question and a great way to start considering your choices. In this article, we’re going to review the top three Medicare supplement plans so you can decide if one of them is right for you.
Medigap Plan F
Plan F has been known as the Cadillac of Medicare supplements. It’s got the most bells and whistles and was the most popular choice up until a couple of years ago. Plan F provides first-dollar coverage, which means it leaves beneficiaries with no out-of-pocket costs for covered services. As long as Original Medicare approves the service, it will also be covered by your Medicare supplement plan. Any costs that are left by Parts A and B will be paid by Plan F.
The catch is that Plan F is not available to all Medicare beneficiaries. Only those who turned 65 before January 2020 can enroll in the plan. It’s also going to have the highest premiums since it offers the most coverage. People in their late-60s (since no one who is currently 65 can have Plan F) can expect to pay nearly $200 for Plan F. Individuals who are older could be paying premiums of a few hundred dollars to keep this plan.
Medicare supplements increase in price as we age since our medical needs also usually increase. Some plans increase more quickly than others, which is the case with Plan F. We’ve seen increases around 5% – 6% in recent years. That might be more than some of the other plans, but Plan F is increasing faster because the pool of enrollees is aging, and no younger individuals are coming in to offset the costs.
Medigap Plan G
Plan G is quickly becoming the new Cadillac Medicare supplement. Anyone who is enrolled in Parts A and B of Original Medicare is allowed to apply for Plan G – there are no birthday cutoffs as there are with Plan F. For new beneficiaries who are looking for the most coverage possible, Plan G is the go-to option.
The only difference between the old and new Cadillac is that Plan G does not pay the $233 Part B deductible. Every other benefit is the same as Plan F.
Plan G has one advantage over Plan F, and that is the lower premiums. Although they are still higher than other Medicare supplement options, you could save several hundred dollars a year by switching to Plan G. The average monthly premium for Plan G is approximately $120 – $180.
Your premium is calculated based on your age, gender, tobacco use, and where you live. Men will pay more than women, and tobacco users will pay more than non-users. Generally, zip codes with higher costs of living will also have higher premiums. In addition, since private insurance companies offer these plans, they also get to set their own rates. You should look for a company with lower rates since Plan G benefits remain the same across companies.
The cost-saving you could find by switching from Plan F to Plan G is important to consider because, in many cases, you can save more than $233 a year by switching to Plan G. That minimal cost savings alone will pay the Part B deductible.
Medigap Plan N
The last Medicare supplement we’re going to discuss today is Plan N. It doesn’t offer as many benefits as Plans F or G, but it’s actually the fastest growing supplement on the market because of its great value.
Like Plan G, Plan N does not pay the Part B deductible, but it’s available to all Medicare beneficiaries, unlike Plan F. The other thing not covered by Plan N is the Part B excess charges. Most people don’t consider this a disadvantage of Plan N because excess charges are so rare. The only time you’ll incur an excess charge is if your healthcare provider does not accept Medicare assignment. Since approximately 96% of providers do accept Medicare, you can see how uncommon this situation would be.
In addition, there are eight states which prohibit the use of Part B excess charges altogether. These are called MOM states, which stands for Medicare Overcharge Measures. The eight states include:
- Rhode Island
- New York
Lastly, you will have some copayment expenses if you enroll in Plan N. Each doctor’s visit will cost you up to $20, and each emergency room visit will cost you up to $50. (Your doctor could charge less, but not more than those amounts.) The $50 emergency copay is waived if your visit results in an inpatient admission. There are no copays if you visit an urgent care center, so those are great resources if your primary care doctor can’t see you and your situation is only a minor emergency. Copays do not count towards the Part B deductible.
In exchange for fewer benefits, you’ll get to enjoy a lower premium. New beneficiaries can expect to pay somewhere between $80 – $140 per month.
We’ve discussed the top Medigap plans today, but there are still others that you can consider. Plans F and G both have high-deductible versions that can be a great fit for some people. If you need help wading through your options, our Medicare experts are here to help! Give us a call today to schedule your complimentary consultation.