Here’s How to Choose between Medicare Supplement Plans F, G and NGuide to help you choose between Medicare Supplement Plans F, G and N
Our content follows strict guidelines for editorial accuracy and integrity. Learn about our and how we make money.
Choosing Medicare Supplement Insurance is difficult at the best of times. However, deciding between plans that are as similar as F, G and N can be an even bigger headache.
This is why you need to compare each of these Supplement Plans side by side to determine what you can afford and which benefits are the most important to you.
In this article, we do exactly that.
We take a closer look at what each plan covers and weigh up their benefits so that you can make an informed decision about which one works best for you.
The federal Medicare program is health insurance for people 65 or older, certain people under 65 with disabilities and people of any age with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD).
To help cover a range of medical services, Medicare is made up of different parts. These include:
Part A covers the care and treatment of patients in hospitals and other medical facilities. For example, hospice and nursing facility care.
Part B covers outpatient care and services. This can include bills for physical therapy and specialist consultations, as well as vaccines and preventative screenings.
Part D helps cover the costs of prescription drugs and is run by private insurance companies.
If you’d like to learn more, be sure to read our 2022 guide to Medicare. It outlines how Medicare works, what it covers, and the different types of options that you can choose from.
Medicare Supplement Plans: Everything You Need to Know
A Medicare Supplement Plan (also known as Medigap) is a health insurance policy that you can buy from private companies.
Many Americans buy these plans because they help pay for the remaining health care costs that Medicare Part A and B don’t cover.
Some of the expenses that Medicare doesn’t cover are:
Hearing aids and appointments for fitting them
Routine dental care
There are 10 standardized Supplement Plans that you can choose from. If you live in Wisconsin, Massachusetts, or Minnesota, the policies work differently.
Each plan can be identified by a letter: A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M, and N. It’s important to remember that these plans are different from Medicare parts.
This means that Medicare Supplement Plan D is not the same as Medicare Part D, for example.
Depending on which Supplement Plan you choose, it could pay for:
Part of the expense that Medicare doesn’t cover. This is called the deductible.
20% of the amount you’re responsible for paying, also known as the copayment.
And any other additional medical costs
How Do I Enroll in Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans?
You must first have Medicare Parts A and B to qualify for a Medicare Supplement Plan.
The best time to enroll in one of these plans is during the Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period. This window happens once in your life and lasts for six months.
This is because Medicare beneficiaries are likely to get better premiums and have more options to choose from.
An insurance company cannot sell you a Medicare Supplement Plan if you have Medicaid or a Medicare Advantage Plan
Medicaid is a federal and state program that helps people with limited resources and income with medical expenses.
Also known as Medicare Part C, a Medicare Advantage Plan is hospital and medical insurance provided by private companies instead of the government.
If you’d like to take an even closer look at Medicare Supplement Plans, make sure you read this article.
A Closer Look at Medicare Plans F, G, and N
We’ve put this chart together so that you can weigh up each of these plans side by side and find one that works best for you.
All of these plans are standardized across America. This means that the benefits for Plan N in California will be the same as Plan N in New Jersey, for example.
How to read the comparison chart:
On the left-hand side of the chart, you can see the nine basic benefits that Medicare Supplements F, G, and N cover.
Where you see a percentage, the plan will cover that percentage of the benefit and you must pay the rest.
|Medicare Part A: Coinsurance and hospital costs up to an additional 365 days after Medicare Benefits are used||100%||100%||100%|
|Medicare Part B: Coinsurance or copayment||100%||100%||100%|
|Blood (the first 3 pints)||100%||100%||100%|
|Part A Hospice Car: Coinsurance or copayment||100%||100%||100%|
|Skilled Nursing Facility Care||100%||100%||100%|
|Part A Deductible||100%||100%||100%|
|Part B Deductible||100%|
|Part B Excess Charges||100%||100%|
|Foreign travel emergency (up to plan limits)||80%||80%||80%|
When you compare each of these Medicare Supplement Plans, you can see that they all offer similar comprehensive coverage.
Although these plans seem nearly identical, they each have subtle differences that affect your coverage and how much you would pay. Let’s take a closer look.
Terms You Need to Know:
Deductible: This refers to the set amount you pay for health care services before your insurance begins to pay. For example, if you have a $2,500 deductible you have to pay $2,500 before your insurance kicks in.
Coinsurance: The percentage of costs you pay after your deductible has been met.
Copayment: A set rate you must pay for doctor office visits, hospital stays and prescriptions.
Out-of-pocket expenses: This term refers to costs that are not covered by Medicare and that you must pay for yourself. For example, a consultation fee for an appointment with a specialist.
What Is Medicare Supplement Plan F?
Due to the fact that Plan F covers the most benefits, the monthly premiums are generally the most expensive.
There are three ways that a licensed health insurance agency could set premiums for Supplement Plans. These are:
1. Community-rated: This premium is not based on your age. This means that the same monthly premium is charged to everyone. However, the price will vary according to inflation.
2. Issue-age rated: This premium will be based on the age you are when you buy the policy. Therefore, the premium is lower for people who buy it at a younger age and won’t change as you get older.
3. Attained-age rated: This premium is based on your current age and will go up as you get older. Although these premiums might be the least expensive at first, they will eventually become the most expensive and are also affected by inflation.
Not only will insurance companies set your premium on the factors above, but they will also consider where you live and what your lifestyle habits are.
One of the advantages of Plan F is that you’ll only have to pay your monthly premium and you will have no out-of-pocket expenses.
Medicare Supplement Plan F has a high-deductible option.
For 2022, this was set at $2,370. This means that you will have to pay this amount before the insurance covers anything.
It’s important to note that if you were not eligible for Medicare until 2020 (i.e., you were not over 65, or under 65 with ESRD) you will not be able to buy Plan F.
However, if you were eligible for Medicare before 2020 you can keep or choose Plan F.
What Is Medicare Supplement Plan G?
This plan is very similar to Medicare Supplement Plan F because it covers a wide range of benefits.
The premiums for Medicare Supplement Plan G will also vary according to the insurance company that you purchase it from.
One of the main differences between these two plans is that Plan G does not cover the Medicare Part B deductible.
Remember, Medicare Part B covers outpatient services like vaccines, specialist consultations, or cancer screenings.
This would mean you would have to pay an annual deductible of $233 (in addition to the minimum monthly Part B premium of $170.10) when you need these outpatient services.
The Part B monthly premium of $170.10 will vary depending on what your income is.
After you meet this annual deductible amount, Plan G will provide full coverage for the rest of the Medicare gaps.
Plan G also offers a high-deductible option of $2,370. Although this will lower your premiums, you will have to pay this amount before any of your medical costs are covered.
Unlike Plan F, there are no eligibility requirements for Medicare Supplement Plan G. This means anyone who is enrolled in Medicare can choose Plan G.
Plan G vs Plan F: A Summary
|Plan F||Plan G|
|This is the most comprehensive of all the Medicare Supplement Plans.||This plan covers everything Plan F does except the Medicare Part B deductible.|
|Due to Plan F’s premiums being high for more Medicare coverage, you would not have to pay out-of-pocket costs.||You would have to pay the $233 annual deductible and the monthly premium of $170.10|
|Plan F has a high-deductible option of $2,370.||Plan G also has a high-deductible option of $2,370|
|If you were not eligible for Medicare until 2020, you cannot choose Plan F.||There are no eligibility requirements for Plan G. Anyone enrolled in Medicare can choose this plan.|
What Is Medicare Supplement Plan N?
Plan N is another popular choice because it covers many of the Medicare Benefits, except the Part B deductible and Part B Excess Charges.
Similar to Plan G, you will have to pay the standard monthly premium of $170.10 plus the $233 annual deductible amount.
After the annual deductible is paid, Medicare will cover the remainder of your costs.
With Plan N, you will also have to cover co-payments of up to $20 for doctor visits and $50 for emergency room visits (as long as you are not admitted to the hospital).
People with Medicare Supplement Plan N will also have to pay excess charges to some health care providers. This amount can be up to 15% more than what Medicare allows.
However, this can be avoided by simply asking the medical provider upfront whether or not they accept Medicare assignment.
A doctor who accepts assignment has agreed to accept the Medicare-approved amount as full payment for the medical service you receive.
The greatest benefit of Plan N is that the premiums are generally lower because you agree to cover the copayments when you visit the doctor or hospital.
There are also no eligibility requirements for Plan N, which means anyone with Medicare Part A and B can choose it.
How Do I Choose a Plan That’s Right for Me?
Although Medicare Supplement Plans F, G, and N offer similar benefits, there are subtle differences between each one that will affect your coverage and budget.
One of the best ways to weigh up each of the plans is to determine what your individual health care needs are.
Medicare Plan N vs Plans G and F
If you have chronic conditions or visit the doctor often, Plan F or G will likely be more cost-effective and you’ll have peace of mind that you will be covered for a wide range of benefits.
However, if you don’t need to visit the doctor regularly and are okay with copayments Plan N might work better for you.
To help you decide, ask yourself these questions:
Which basic benefits are the most important to me?
How often will I need to use my Medicare Supplement Plan? (In other words, do you need to see the doctor regularly?)
How much is the monthly premium?
Will I be able to afford the premium when the price increases each year with inflation?
How much am I willing to spend on out-of-pocket expenses?
It’s also important that you check with your State Insurance Department to see if the Medicare Supplement Plan you are interested in is available where you live.
Are You Still Unsure? Speak to the Experts
At PolicyScout, we know how important it is to find a Medicare Supplement Plan that offers wide coverage but doesn’t break the bank.
If you need any guidance, contact PolicyScout today. We will be able to recommend the top providers so that you can find a plan that works best for you.
If you’d like to learn more, send us an email or give us a call.