Enroll in Medigap Plan F – Plan F has long been advertised as the “Cadillac” of Medicare Supplement plans. However, you may have noticed people don’t talk about it as often anymore. Has Plan F been discontinued? Should you enroll in Plan F? Let’s find out.
What is Medigap Plan F?
Medigap plans, otherwise known as Medicare Supplement plans, help pay the costs that remain after Parts A and B of Original Medicare pay for claims. While Original Medicare offers many benefits, it still leaves beneficiaries with many deductibles and coinsurance expenses. A Medigap plan can pick up all or some of those leftover costs.
Plan F offers the maximum amount of coverage, leaving beneficiaries with virtually no out-of-pocket expenses on Medicare-approved services. It pays all remaining deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance amounts. The full list of benefits includes:
- Part A deductible
- Part A coinsurance and hospital costs with an additional 365 days after the Original Medicare benefits are exhausted
- Part A hospice care coinsurance
- Skilled nursing facility care coinsurance
- Part B deductible
- Part B excess charges
- Part B coinsurance and copayments
- First three pints of blood in a Medicare-approved procedure
- 80% of a foreign travel emergency (up to plan limits)
So, why aren’t people talking about Plan F anymore?
Why Many Beneficiaries Don’t Choose Plan F
The first reason you don’t hear as much about Medigap Plan F is that no newly-eligible beneficiaries are allowed to enroll in it. You must have turned 65 prior to 2020 to qualify for Plan F. Those changes came about due to MACRA, the Medicare Access, and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015. The act declared that no Medigap plans could offer first-dollar coverage, which Plan F did offer. Anyone who was already enrolled in Plan F or who turned 65 before the cutoff date is still allowed to keep Plan F.
The second reason Plan F is less popular is that all those great benefits come with a pricey premium. Medigap premiums are based on your age, gender, location, and tobacco use and can vary from one insurance carrier to the next. That being said, the average premium for Plan F in 2022 was $172 per month. If you are in your 70s and beyond, your premium may be well above the average. And remember, that amount is in addition to your Part B premium, your Part D premium, and any other ancillary products.
Some beneficiaries don’t mind paying the high price for Plan F. They enjoy knowing all their expenses will be covered and won’t have to worry about any bills throughout the year. Still, there is a good reason to reconsider enrollment in Plan F.
The “second-best” Medigap plan is Plan G. It offers much of the same coverage as Plan F, save for one minor difference. It does not pay the Part B deductible. This year (2022), that deductible is $233. The average premium for Plan G is $132. That means Plan G is, on average, $480 cheaper over the course of one year. Even if you were to pay the Part B deductible, you’d still be nearly $250 ahead by enrolling in Plan G.
Alternatives to Plan F
We’ve already mentioned Plan G as one alternative to Plan F. There are plenty of other options if you’d like to decrease your monthly premiums and still retain helpful Medicare benefits.
Plan N is a popular Medigap option that is similar to Plan G. In addition to not paying the Part B deductible, it also does not include payment for any Part B excess charges. Excess charges are quite rare as most providers accept Medicare. Plus, there are currently eight states that do not allow excess charges at all. The biggest difference between Plan N and Plan G is that Plan N requires some copays when you visit your doctor or the emergency room. However, it boasts a lower average premium, hovering around $112 per month.
Medicare Advantage plans are another great alternative to Plan F or the other Medigap options. They are also referred to as Medicare Part C plans. Part C plans work much differently than Medigap plans, so it’s important you take the time to understand their differences before enrolling. For many people, they can provide extensive benefits for low monthly premiums.
If you are currently enrolled in Plan F, you may have more cost-effective options. To find out if you qualify for other plans that will lower your monthly premium, chat with one of our licensed insurance agents at The Medicare Help Desk!