When shopping for Medigap plans, finding the right coverage to meet your needs and budget is actually easier than you might think. While it is true that there are several plans available, as well as multiple insurance carriers offering them, learning first about the most popular plans as well as what they cover will benefit you greatly.
There are currently 10 Medicare Supplement plans available, offered by several different insurance companies. The plans are designated with letters which run A – N. While Plan A does offer the most basic coverage, it does not mean as you go down the alphabet the coverage increases accordingly. While you most certainly can investigate each plan letter separately, keep in mind that not every company is required, nor do they, carry every plan letter. As well, pricing on each plan typically is best on the more popular plans with better coverage. This means it’s highly likely that something like a Plan D in many areas might actually cost more than a Plan F, despite offering less coverage.
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Which Medicare Supplemental Insurance is Best?
Often when looking for Medigap policies you may hear “What is the Best Medicare Supplement plan”? While it’s very easy to simply say that the best plan is the one with the most coverage, you should take the time to investigate a few different options to narrow down which coverage matches your own situation best.
For example, you might be quite healthy and open to a plan that offers a small deductible, along with a lower monthly premium or possibly even some co-pays. Other people might be turning 65 with major preexisting conditions or disease and want to obtain the very best coverage while they are still in the open enrollment period, as they know they’ll likely have difficulty switching later on. Then there are several people on a severely limited income where every dollar count.
Whatever your situation is, it’s worth it to check out all of your options first before signing up.
The More Popular Medigap Plans Available
Medicare Supplement Plan F
Starting with the most comprehensive coverage, Medicare Supplement Plan F (Sometimes referred to as Medicare Part F) is by far the most popular of all the plans currently available. As well it is the plan that nearly every insurance company offering these plans does carry. Keep in mind that regardless of which company offers Medigap Plan F, or any other plan for that matter, the coverage is identical. The premiums however, can and do vary widely between each company. By entering your zip code above you can see just how much the rates differ.
Regardless of which Medicare Supplement plan you use, there is no network that you must adhere to. You may travel anywhere in the United States and use this coverage by simply visiting doctors that accept Part B Medicare.
Medicare Plan F offers more benefits than any other plan. They include:
- No Co-pays or deductibles (Including the costly Part A Hospital deductible)
- No Coinsurance for hospital stays, doctor’s services, or outpatient visits
- Covers 100% of the gaps in Medicare. Show your card and go home with no bills
*In many areas there is also a High Deductible Plan F available. Medicare will still pay first at 80 percent of all medical bills, however the “Hi-F” plan will not pay for any expenses until a deductible of approximately $2110 is met by the patient.
Medicare Supplement Plan G
Medigap Plan G is another option that is very popular, particularly for those age 70 and above due to lower premiums than Plan F. The premiums are lower due to cost sharing on behalf of the beneficiary. Plan G is identical to Plan F other than who pays the annual Part B deductible.
Prior to Medicare paying any insurance bills, someone must pay the annual Part B deductible. This deductible has averaged around $150 over the last few years, and once this is paid (Either by a Medicare Supplement or out-of-pocket by the patient) Medicare Part B will begin paying 80 percent of doctor bills.
The benefit of Medicare Plan G is that by paying this deductible yourself you will save money on your monthly premium, as opposed to Plan F which pays this for you. The premiums for both of these Medigap plans will vary greatly between insurance companies, and are determined based on age, gender, zip code, and most often tobacco use.
Medicare Supplement Plan N
Another great plan that many people are having great success with is Medigap Plan N. This plan was introduced in 2010 and typically offers lower premiums than both Plan F and Plan G. Medigap Plan N still offers outstanding coverage despite the lower rates. On Plan N, you must:
- Pay the Part B annual deductible out-of-pocket
- After this is met, you might have up to a $20 co-pay per doctor’s visit
- There is a $50 co-pay if you visit the emergency room and you are not admitted
- Plan N does not cover Part B excess charges if doctor’s do not accept assignment
As stated above, finding the “best” supplemental insurance for Medicare doesn’t need to be difficult. Learning what each plan covers is the first step, now it’s time to compare rates for each of the Medigap plans as well as the premiums that each company offers them for.