Choosing the right Medicare Supplement plan for you eases the stress of dealing with healthcare in retirement. When you turn 65, you become eligible not only for Original Medicare, but also for Medigap. Knowing the top 5 Medicare Supplement plans based on your specific needs will help you determine your options.
Every beneficiary has a different set of needs, so we’ve narrowed down the top 5 Medicare Supplement plans based on varying healthcare situations. That way, you can decide which one will work best for you.
There’s no “right” Medigap plan for any one person. It all comes down to personal preference and specific healthcare needs. We’re basing our recommendations on the plans beneficiaries are most likely to choose.
1. MEDICARE SUPPLEMENT PLAN G
Medicare Supplement Plan G is very similar to Plan F, which we’ll describe below. It’s one of the top 5 Medicare Supplement plans because it offers everything that Plan F offers except for eliminating the Original Medicare Part B deductible.
The Part B deductible is less than $200. When you compare Medicare Supplement Plan G with other plans, such as Plan F, make sure you look carefully at the monthly premiums. You might find that you’ll save considerably more money with Plan G because, once you hit the deductible, you don’t have any other out-of-pocket costs.
This is why we recommend Plan G over Plan F if you’re interested in the most comprehensive Medigap plans. When you get Medigap quotes, you’ll likely see that the savings in premiums far outweigh the Original Medicare Part B deductible.
2. MEDICARE SUPPLEMENT PLAN F
Medicare Supplement Plan F is the most popular Medigap plan — and for good reason. It offers the most comprehensive coverage, so you don’t have any out-of-pocket costs. However, it’s also the priciest plan in terms of the premium you’ll pay, which is why discerning consumers often choose Medigap Plan G instead.
You’re an ideal fit for Medicare Supplement Plan F if you prefer managing your healthcare expenses with one monthly fee instead of dealing with unpredictable out-of-pocket expenses. Although you’ll pay more every month, you’ll experience peace-of-mind.
Plan F will disappear in 2020. You can still get it through 2019, though, so if you’ll turn 65 before then, you can take advantage of Medicare Supplement Plan F.
3. MEDICARE SUPPLEMENT PLAN N
The second of our top 5 Medicare Supplement plans is Medigap Plan N. It might seem identical to Plan D, which we’ll cover in detail below. They both cover the same things with one small — but potentially expensive — caveat.
You’ll notice in the chart above that there are two asterisks under Medigap Plan N for Medicare Part B coinsurance and copayment. This is because Medigap Plan N covers the coinsurance payment, which is any percentage of a doctor’s fee for which you would otherwise be responsible, but it doesn’t cover the copayment.
A copayment is a fixed fee you pay to a provider at the time of service. For instance, you might have to pay $30 every time you visit your general practitioner.
Under Medigap Plan N, your copayments are limited to $20 or less for physicians and $50 or less for emergency room visits. The amount of money you pay might be less than without a Medigap plan, but you should still take it into consideration.
4. MEDICARE SUPPLEMENT PLAN D
The fourth of our top 5 Medicare Supplement plans is Medigap Plan D. It’s very similar to Medigap Plan C, our fifth choice below, except that it doesn’t cover Original Medicare Part B excess charges or the deductible.
As of 2018, the Original Medicare Part B deductible will cost you $183 out-of-pocket every year. When you meet the deductible, Medicare will take care of the rest.
When choosing from the top 5 Medicare Supplement plans for your specific needs, consider out-of-pocket costs as well as upfront expenses. For instance, if you can save more than $183 on your annual premium with a different plan, you might be better off with it. However, if the difference in premiums is less than $183, you might want to consider Medigap Plan D.
5. MEDICARE SUPPLEMENT PLAN C
You might want to choose Medicare Supplement Plan C if you need comprehensive coverage, but you don’t need to worry about Original Medicare Part B excess charges.
Excess charges occur when your doctor charges more than Original Medicare pays. In that case, you become responsible for the difference. If you don’t want to have to cover out-of-pocket charges related to visits with physicians or hospital outpatient services, you might want to choose a different plan.
However, if your physicians charge what Medicare pays, you don’t have to worry about coverage for excess charges. Alternatively, if the excess is minimal, you can weigh the differences in premium between Medigap Plan C against other plans to determine which one will save you the most money.
We count Medicare Supplement Plan C among the top 5 Medicare Supplement plans because it covers 100 percent of several categories of coverage, including Original Medicare Parts A and B deductibles. If you travel internationally, you can also rely on this plan to cover 80 percent of charges you incur from foreign emergency healthcare services.
If you ever have to go to a skilled nursing facility, Medigap Plan C will cover 100 percent of your coinsurance payments. Additionally, it covers your Original Medicare Part B coinsurance or copayment.
LIke Plan F, Medigap Plan C will no longer be available after 2020. You can still sign up for it before then — in which case, you can keep it indefinitely — but you won’t be able to sign up for it as a new beneficiary after the first of that year.
Examine your premiums to compare the two. If you’ll save money with a plan that covers all of your Original Medicare Part B copayments, it might be the better choice.
Choosing the right Medigap plan for you can seem confusing, which is why we’ve shared our picks for the top 5 Medicare Supplement plans based on common consumer preferences. Medicare Supplement Plan F might be ideal if you want full coverage, while Medicare Supplement Plan G may offer a better option if you want to save money on your monthly premium.
Consider Medigap Plan C if you don’t mind paying excess charges. Plan D might be more appropriate if you’d like to avoid paying the Original Medicare Part B deductible, and Plan N is ideal if you’re comfortable paying Part B copayments.
To compare plans and premiums, use Ensurem’s Medigap Quoter. It’s an easy way to look at plans side by side and make the best decision for you.