You might have heard the rumors that Medigap Plan F is going away. Are the rumors true? If they are, will you be allowed to keep Plan F if you already have it? Let’s find out.
What is Medicare supplement Plan F?
Medicare supplement Plan F, also known as Medigap Plan F or Medicare Plan F, is an insurance policy that helps pay for the medical expenses that remain after Medicare Parts A and B have paid their portion. There are nine other Medigap plans, but Plan F has the most comprehensive coverage.
Original Medicare offers beneficiaries great benefits, but there are still deductibles, copays, and coinsurance costs associated with the program. There are no out-of-pocket limits on what you could be responsible for paying with Original Medicare. A Medicare supplement will help with those remaining expenses. Plan F will cover all of those expenses, leaving beneficiaries with no out-of-pocket costs.
Is Medicare Plan F going away?
Plan F has been the most popular supplement on the market for years, but is it going away?
In 2015, the House passed the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) which was intended to help with provider reimbursements, among other things. Healthcare providers were concerned about the reimbursements that would be cut over the years, so MACRA was passed to prevent providers from leaving the Medicare program and increase the amounts paid for Medicare services. However, they had to find a way to pay for those increased reimbursements. To do this, one of MACRA’s provisions stated that no Medicare supplement plan was allowed to pay the Part B deductible, which Plan F does.
Nothing changed until January 1, 2020, when MACRA went into effect. Medicare beneficiaries who were already enrolled in Plan F were allowed to keep their plan. However, any individual who turned (or turns) 65 on or after that date was no longer eligible to enroll in Medicare Plan F. It is slowly being phased out of the Medicare supplement insurance plans.
You can keep Plan F, but should you?
Medicare beneficiaries love their Plan F coverage because their medical expenses are predictable. As long as you pay your premiums and only receive Medicare-approved services, you know exactly what your annual expenses are going to be.
However, if you’re currently enrolled in the plan, you’ve likely seen some drastic increases in your premiums over the last couple of years. The increases should level out soon, but your premium may already be much more than you’d like to pay. Plus, if you compare the premiums and coverage of Plan F to other options, you may find that plans with fewer benefits are more cost-effective.
Alternatives to Plan F
The best alternative is Medicare supplement Plan G. It has the same coverage as Plan F, save for one detail: It does not pay the Part B deductible.
Could this plan be a better alternative to Plan F? Let’s review the numbers.
The average premium for Medicare supplement Plan F is between $130-$230, although you could be paying quite a lot more depending on your age and location. If you’re lucky enough to be on the low end of the spectrum, you’ll pay $1560 per year for Plan F.
The average monthly premium for Plan G is between $100-$200. Again, if you’re on the lower end, that’s a total of $1200 per year. The difference in premium is $360. Since the current Medicare Part B deductible is only $233, you’ll come out ahead if you choose the plan with fewer benefits.
Another great alternative to both Plan F and Plan G is Plan N. Like Plan G, it does not pay the Part B deductible. It also does not pay any Part B excess charges, and you will be responsible for copays when visiting your doctor. However, if you are healthy and don’t see a doctor frequently, this may be a great option for you.
Switching Medicare Supplement Plans
You can switch your Medicare supplement plan at any time of the year. Because Medicare supplement plans are standardized and their coverage remains the same across carriers, it’s good to have your plan reviewed every year or two. You may find that you could pay less for the same plan by switching insurance companies.
If you want to change your plan, you may need to pass medical underwriting first. This process requires you to answer health questions so the insurance company can determine if they want to issue a policy. When you are first eligible for a Medicare supplement, you have “guaranteed issue rights,” which means that no carrier can deny you coverage. However, you may not have the same rights once this period has passed. Some states only allow for that one period of guaranteed issue rights, while others give you opportunities to change plans throughout the year.
If you’re mostly healthy and have no chronic conditions, you will likely pass medical underwriting if subjected to it. Making changes while you’re younger and healthier may be something to consider for those who will have to go through this process.
Speak to one of our licensed insurance agents to find out if keeping Plan F or switching to another Medicare supplement plan is a good idea for you. Our agents work with many private insurance companies, so we can compare Medigap policies and premiums to find you a competitive rate.
Can I get Medicare Supplement Plan F?
Yes, but only if you turned 65 before January 1, 2020.
What is the most comprehensive Medicare supplement plan?
While Plan F offers the most benefits, Plan G comes in at a close second.
What’s the difference between Plans F and G?
The only difference in coverage is that Plan G does not pay the Part B deductible.
Who is eligible for Plan F?
Any individual enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B and turned 65 before January 1, 2020, is eligible to enroll in Plan F or any of the other Medicare supplement plans.