What's the Difference: A Medicare Supplement Plan Comparison
Everyone has heard of Part A, Part B, Part C, and Part D. Though they may be confusing in themselves, that is not what we are talking about here. See, in order to even decide between Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans one must have signed up for Part A and Part B and then decide which route they wish to go. While Medicare Advantage (also known as Part C is a combination of all parts, Part A: Hospital, Part B: Medical and Part D: Drug; Original Medicare is completely different. Original Medicare is run by the government and it has its own plans to choose from. In this article, we are talking strictly about the Original Medicare plan choices only, generally speaking.
Medicare Supplement plans, also known as Medigap plans, play a crucial role in filling the gaps left by Original Medicare coverage (which is just Part A: Hospital and Part B: Medical).
A medicare supplement, or Medigap, picks up the remaining 20% bill due from your pocket after Original Medicare pays 80% of your bills.
Supplements are sub-categorized into ten standardized plans labeled A through N. It's important to understand the differences and compare the options to choose the most suitable plan for your healthcare needs. In this article, we will define Medicare Supplement plans A through N, explain how to compare and choose a plan, discuss some of the pros and cons of each, highlight the most popular plans, and address frequently asked questions about Medigap insurance.
Note: Plan C & Plan F aren’t available if you turned 65 on or after January 1, 2020, and to some people under age 65. You might be able to get these plans if you were eligible for Medicare before January 1, 2020, but not yet enrolled.
*Plans F & G offer a high deductible plan in some states.
**Plans K & L show how much they'll pay for approved services before you meet your out-of-pocket yearly limit and Part B deductible. After you meet them, the plan will pay 100% for approved services.
***Plan N pays 100% of the costs of Part B services, except for co-payments for some office visits and some emergency room visits.
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A general overview of the Medicare Supplement plans A through N:
Covers Medicare Part A coinsurance and hospital costs up to an additional 365 days after Medicare benefits are exhausted.
Covers Medicare Part B coinsurance or copayment.
Most basic of all Medigap plans
Includes the same coverage as Plan A.
Plus, it covers the Medicare Part A hospital deductible.
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Includes the same coverage as Plan B.
Covers skilled nursing facility coinsurance.
Covers the Medicare Part B deductible.
Covers Part B excess charges.
One of the most comprehensive supplements.
It covers everything except Medicare excess charges and 20% you would normally pay toward outpatient expenses.
Plans C & F are very popular.
Includes the same coverage as Plan C, except it does not cover the Part B deductible.
It does not cover Medicare excess charges.
Plan D is one of the least popular plans.
Offers the most comprehensive coverage.
Includes all benefits covered by Plan C.
Covers the Part B deductible.
Covers excess charges.
It covers ALL of the items that you would normally pay for, with no out of pocket costs to you. Not even co-pays for doctors or hospitals.
Note: Plan F is not available to new Medicare enrollees who became eligible in 2020 or later.
There is a high-deductible version of Plan F that provides great coverage after you meet the deductible first.
Provides coverage similar to Plan F, except it does not cover the Part B deductible.
This plan is gaining in popularity.
Covers 50% of Medicare Part A coinsurance and hospital costs.
Covers 50% of Medicare Part B coinsurance or copayment.
Has a yearly out-of-pocket limit.
Includes the same coverage as Plan K, except it covers 75% of the costs.
Covers the same benefits as Plan D, except it only covers 50% of the Part A deductible.
Provides coverage similar to Plan D.
Requires copayments for some services, such as a copayment for emergency room visits.
Provides lower premiums in exchange for you paying co-pays.
It does not cover Medicare excess charges.
Good for those interested in the most affordable rates.
When comparing Medicare Supplement plan rates for 2024, keep in mind that the plans themselves are standardized. While each insurance company sets its own rates, the benefits offered by a specific plan, such as Plan F, remain consistent across all providers. This allows for easy price comparison between policies. Therefore, it is not necessary to choose a plan based on brand names itself, but on cost to you.
If you have already decided on a specific Medigap plan, you can proceed to evaluate the carriers offering that plan. Consider factors such as household discounts, historical rate increases, and financial ratings when making your choice.
When comparing Medicare Supplement plans, consider factors such as coverage, cost, and your individual healthcare needs. It's also essential to review the terms and conditions of each plan and consult with insurance agent, Jessica Wynn, MPH, RN at www.SevenInsureHealth.com to make an informed decision that best fits your individual needs.