Medicare supplement plans help cover expenses not paid by Medicare part A and part B. They are commonly referred to as Medigap, as these expenses are also called “gaps”. These plans were designed to work right alongside Medicare to help people pay these additional expenses. There are currently 10 different Medigap plans available offered by many different private insurance companies. The plans are standardized which means that each insurance carrier must offer the exact same coverage within each plan letter.
The plans are designated by letters in the alphabet much like the parts are of Medicare. The letters run A through N with each plan having slightly different coverage and benefits. Not every insurance company is required to offer every single plan, in fact they are only required to offer plans A and F. That being said, there are some things you need to know prior to purchasing a plan that can save you a great deal of time and money.
The most popular Medicare Supplement Plans
Even though there are 10 plans available there really are just a few that are the most popular. These plans include plan F, G, plan C, and plan N. “Shouldn’t I at least look at every single plan out there?” You’re more than welcome to look of the benefits of each plan to compare to see which one fits your needs the best. However if a particular plan letter is not popular this means there aren’t that many people enrolled in the plan. This often results in less coverage for higher premiums. Therefore it is wise to stick with one of the more popular plans as you get the most coverage for the lowest premiums.
Medicare supplement plan F
This plan is the granddaddy of them all. This is because plan F covers 100% of the expenses that Medicare part A and B do not cover. You simply show your cards to any doctor, specialist, or hospital in this country that accepts part B Medicare and you may use your coverage. You will then not receive any medical bills on all Medicare-approved expenses. What’s not to like about that? This is why plan F is arguably the most popular Medicare supplement plan on the market today. So just remember plan F equals 100% coverage.
As with every Medicare supplement plan there is no network that you must adhere to you while using your coverage. You simply visit any specialist or doctor in the country that accepts Medicare and they will accept your Medicare supplement plan. Medicare is in Nationwide program therefore so are the supplements.
Medicare supplement plan C
Plan C is identical to plan F except plan C does not cover what are called part B excess charges. Part B excess charges occur when a doctor accepts Medicare but does not accept the assigned rates. In this case doctors may charge up to 15% extra of the Medicare-approved amount. If you have a Medigap plan C you are responsible for paying this additional amount. It’s estimated that over 90% of all doctors in this country that accept Medicare also accept assignment. If your doctor accepts the assigned rates from Medicare then plan C is certainly worth looking at. However it is often the case that plan C is within a few dollars of plan F on premiums. This varies by state, gender, zip code two, and tobacco use.
Medicare supplement plan G
Plan G is quickly becoming one of the more popular Medigap plans. This is because plan G offers outstanding coverage for a relatively low premium, in fact it is always lower than plan F. The difference between plan F and G is only one thing. This is that you must pay the annual part B deductible yourself out-of-pocket. Is this a big deal? Not at all as this deductible only averages around $150 per year. With a plan F the plan pays this deductible for you. However, in reality you are simply paying the deductible by paying higher monthly premiums for plan F. This makes it extremely important regardless of your age to check the premiums between plan F and G to see just how much money you can save with plan G. Some people simply like to never receive any medical bills. In this case a plan F would be the best choice. However, in this economy every dollar counts and it’s worth it to see if there would be a great savings on plan G.
Medicare supplement plan N
Developed in 2010, Medicare supplement plan N is also becoming increasingly popular. Plan N has lower premiums than both plan F and G while still offer in very good coverage for those wanting to minimize their medical bills while on Medicare. With plan N you still are required to pay the annual part B deductible out-of-pocket. Once this deductible is met you will have up to a $20.00 co-pay for each doctor or specialist visit. Depending on what you are visiting for you actually might not have any co-pay. Or it might be a small co-pay of $5 or $10.00. However, on plan N your co-pay after you meet your annual deductible will never be more than $20.00 per visit.
Another difference between plan G and plan N is on a plan N, if you visit the emergency room and you are not admitted that day you will have to pay a $50.00 co-pay. Also, as similar with plan C, plan N does not cover the part B excess charges.
One of the most important things to consider with Medigap plans is that while every company has identical coverage, they all have different premiums for the exact same benefits. This makes it extremely important to get quotes from multiple insurance carriers to see who has the lowest premiums. Working with an independent, experienced agent makes the process extremely easy. An independent agent represents many of the top carriers if not all of them, and can shop the rates easily not just at the start of your Medicare journey but every year when you get a rate increase.
You can begin the process by entering your zip code below to get instant, online quotes for the top Medicare supplement plans in your area.