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Medicare Supplement Plan Comparison
Understanding Medicare Supplement Plans
Medicare Supplement plans, otherwise known as Medigap, help to pay some of the health care costs that Original Medicare does not. All Medigap plans follow a set of federal and state laws to protect the consumers of these polices and ensure consistent standards are met. The plans allow you to see any doctor who accepts Medicare patients and covers you for any travel in the U.S.
Some plans will cover payment of your deductible. If not, then your Medigap plan will pay your coinsurance only after you have paid the deductible. As long as you pay your premiums, your Medigap policy guarantees coverage for life.
How to Compare Supplement Plans
There are certain things you may know you’re looking for in a Medicare Supplement plan that will make choosing a plan easier. You might be looking for help covering co-payments or deductibles, or maybe there are certain prescription drugs or medical procedures necessary for your health and well-being. Comparing your needs with the plans offered in your area will help to narrow your decision.
A licensed agent can help you through this decision-making process and even guide you through enrollment. Connect directly with one of our agents to start.
For those who are a little more uncertain about what they need from a supplement plan, we’ve included a brief overview of the plans below that highlight some key aspects and benefits.
Now, let’s get into the details of each plan
Medicare Supplement Plan A:
Plan A (not to be confused with Medicare Part A) is a basic Medicare supplement plan. Insurance companies don’t have to offer every Medigap plan, but if they offer any, then Plan A must be one of them. Plan A covers the following:
- Medicare Part A coinsurance payments up to 365 days after exhausting Original Medicare benefits.
- Medicare Part B copayment or coinsurance expenses.
- The first three pints of blood for use in a medical procedure.
- Part A hospice care coinsurance expenses or copayment.
An important cost to be aware of not covered in this plan, is the Part A deductible. The Part A deductible covers inpatient hospital care, skilled nursing facility, hospice care, and some home care services. Of all the supplement plans, Plan A has the fewest individual benefits.
Medicare Supplement Plan B:
Plan B (not to be confused with Medicare Part B) is similar to Plan A, covering all the same aspects but with the addition of the Part A deductible. Plan B covers the following:
- Medicare Part B out-of-pocket expenses, coinsurance, and copayments.
- Part B preventive care coinsurance.
- Medicare Part A out-of-pocket hospital expenses up to 365 days after exhausting Original Medicare benefits.
- Medicare Part A deductible.
Important to note, however, that Plan B does not cover the following:
- The Medicare Part B deductible.
- Any Medicare Part B excess charges.
- Coinsurance for skilled nursing facility care.
- Emergency care for foreign travel.
Medicare Supplement Plan C:
Plan C is one of the most comprehensive plan options and a popular choice. Medigap Plan F is the only plan that provides more benefits. Plan C covers both deductibles and the 20% normally owed toward outpatient expenses. Notably, however, it does not cover Medicare Part B excess charges, which occur from doctor charges that extend beyond Medicare-approved amounts.
If an insurance company offers Medigap policies, it must offer either Plan C or Plan F among their plan choices.
Medicare Supplement Plan D:
Plan D (not to be confused with Medicare Part D) offers help on many costs not covered by Original Medicare but stops short of paying the Part B deductible or any excess charges. In many ways, Plan D serves as a midpoint plan between the coverage offered in Plans A and B, and the coverage offered by the more extensive Plans C and F.
Medicare Supplement Plan F:
Plan F is the most comprehensive plan and has long been the most popular option. It covers all items and leaves no out-of-pocket costs for covered services. The popularity of this plan comes from the peace of mind it provides. Beneficiaries know the plan covers all items and there won’t be any copays for hospital stays or doctor visits to worry about.
There is also a high-deductible plan offered for Plan F. With this option, you must pay Medicare-covered costs up to the deductible amount of $2,300 before your plan can pay anything.
If an insurance company offers Medigap policies, it must offer either Plan F or Plan C among their plan choices.
Medicare Supplement Plan G:
Apart from Plan F, Plan G is the only Medicare Supplement plan that covers 100% of Part B excess charges. These excess charges occur when doctors and providers don’t accept Medicare assignment. Without coverage, patients pay these charges out-of-pocket.
Plan G benefits are practically identical to those of Plan F. The one key difference is that Plan G does not cover the Medicare Part B deductible. This plan appeals to people seeking broad coverage but don’t wish to pay the Part B deductible.
Medicare Supplement Plan K:
Plan K offers partial coverage of selected plan benefits. It covers 50 percent of remaining Medigap benefits related to Parts A and B. Plan K places a cap on out-of-pocket expenses at $5,560 for 2019, which means that it covers any additional cost once you reach this amount. While Plan K offers less coverage than most Medigap plans, it may be a good choice for those who have minimal health care costs.
Medicare Supplement Plan L:
Similar to Plan K, Plan L offers partial coverage of selected plan benefits, though covers 75 percent of Medigap benefits related to Parts A and B. Plan L places a cap on out-of-pocket expenses at $2,780 for 2019, which means that it covers any cost after you reach this amount. While Plan L offers relatively less coverage than other Medigap plans, it comes with relatively lower premiums.
Medicare Supplement Plan M:
Plan M is similar to Plans K and L in that it offers partial coverage of selected plan benefits. Plan M is also similar to Plan D in that it stops short of paying excess Part B costs. Its difference from Plan D is that Plan M pays 50 percent of the Part A deductible. Paying this half of the deductible comes with a reduced monthly premium
Medicare Supplement Plan N:
Medicare Supplement Plan N is similar to Plan D in many aspects, except for the way it covers Medicare Part B coinsurance costs, in which there are copays for things like doctor visits or emergency room visits. Those costs are completely covered under Plan D. Plan N is attractive to some due to its lower premiums but comes with the trade-off of those copay bills for excess charges.
Upcoming Developments for Medicare Supplement Plans:
- Starting January 1, 2020, any Medigap plans sold to new customers with Medicare won’t be allowed to cover Part B deductibles.
- For this reason, Plans C and F won’t be available to new Medicare enrollees starting January 1, 2020.
- If you currently hold one of these plans prior to January 1, 2020, your coverage will be unaffected, and you will be able to keep your plan.
- If you are eligible for Medicare before January 1, 2020, but did not enroll until after, then you may still be able to purchase one of these plans.
Which is the Best Medicare Supplement Plan?
The best supplement plan will all depend on you and your health care needs. Every Medicare supplement plan offers the same basic benefits as the rest. However, it is the additional benefits of a plan and what is offered in your area that will make the difference in your choice.
You can learn more about these supplement plans by connecting directly with one of our trusted agents. We offer expert advice and honest opinions on all of our available plans. If you’re interested, we can get you started and guide you all the way through enrollment. Have questions? We have answers. Give us a call a call today!