Nearly every week, we get questions on our Facebook page asking us what the top 5 Medicare supplement plans in 2019. The good thing about Medicare supplements is that they are standardized so they rarely change. In fact, the last plan change occurred back in 2010 when Medigap Plan N came onto the scene.
There are some changes coming in 2020 though, so in this post, we’ll tackle the top 5 Medicare supplement plan in 2019 from my point of view as the co-founder here at Boomer Benefits.
Some things you should know about all top Medicare supplement plans, and those are:
- They pay after Medicare to cover your deductibles, coinsurance, and copays
- You must live in the state where you are purchasing your Medicare supplement plan
- You must be enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B to be eligible to buy a Medicare supplement
- They do not include Medicare Part D. You purchase that separately.
With those things in mind, let’s dive in so I can share with you my thoughts on which plans are the top 5 Medicare supplement plans in 2019 and why they are worth considering.
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Top 5 Medicare Supplement Plans for 2019
Medicare Supplement Plan F
As the most comprehensive Medicare supplement you can currently buy, Plan F has long been the top seller. It covers all of the gaps in Medicare so you will have zero spending on deductibles, coinsurance or copays while on this plan. It also comes with foreign travel emergency benefits and even covers excess charges, which means that you don’t pay anything extra even if your provider charges excess charges.
There are millions of Americans covered on Plan F. However, beginning January 1st of 2020, new Medicare enrollees will no longer be able to buy Plan F. While people already on Medicare will always have the option to buy Plan F, they are taking it away from new enrollees because Congress wants to eliminate plans with first dollar coverage. To put it another way, they want you to have to pay a deductible of some kind before your Medigap plan can begin paying anything. They hope that this means you will think twice before going to the doctor over a sneeze or a sniffle.
There is some concern that rates for Plan F will rise over time after 2020. Since this plan will have no new younger beneficiaries coming into it, there will be an aging block of people on Plan F. If you are concerned about this affecting your rates over time, you might consider our next plan, which is Plan G.
Medicare Supplement G
Plan G covers all the same things as Plan F except for you pay your own Part B deductible. In 2019, that deductible is $185. So, on your first outpatient service of the year, you can expect to pay the first $185 out of pocket. Then the plan kicks in and pays just like Plan F for the rest of the year.
In most states, you will find that premiums for Plan G are lower than premiums for Plan F. This makes sense since Plan G covers slightly less. Here at Boomer Benefits, we like to run quotes for both plans and compare the costs. If Plan G saves you more than $185 per year in premiums, then it is a better value for you than Plan F anyway.
When we have clients with lots of doctor visits due to a chronic illness, Plan G can make a good choice because you don’t have to shell out any copays for medical visits like you do on Plan N.
Medicare Supplement Plan N
Plan N is the newest plan, having been rolled out in 2010. It covers the same benefits as Plan G with these exceptions:
- You pay a copay of up to $20 for medical visits
- You pay a copay of up to $50 for ER visits
- If your provider charges excess charges, you are responsible to pay these yourself
Most providers on Medicare accept Medicare’s assignment rates and will not bill you anything more. However, if the provider doesn’t accept assignment, he or she can bill you up to 15% extra. These are called excess charges. People on Plan F and Plan G don’t have to worry about them because those plans cover the excess charges for you.
If you go with Plan N, you can avoid these excess charges by asking your providers ahead of time if they accept Medicare assignment. You simply avoid those providers that do not accept assignment.
Also, in some states, excess charges are not allowed. If you live in one of those states, you don’t have to worry about this on Plan N. Residents of Vermont, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York, Minnesota, Massachusetts, and Connecticut cannot be charged excess charges by providers.
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High Deductible Plan F
Over the last decade, many of us have become aware of high deductible health plans that allow us to open a health savings account. These are popular with large employers so you might be used to having a plan with a high deductible.
Medicare has a version of this which is the high deductible Plan F. On this plan, Medicare pays its 80% of your outpatient expenses and you cover your own 20% and deductibles on both Parts A and B. However, if your spending goes over $2300 for the year, then the plan kicks in and covers 100% after that, just like regular Plan F would.
This plan will also go away in 2020, but it will be replaced with a high deductible Plan G which will function in the same way.
Medicare Supplement Plan K
People who like the idea of paying a higher share of their own expenses but having some good catastrophic protection may also like Plan K. On this plan, you pay 50% of certain items like the Medicare Part A and B coinsurance and copays. You also pay your own Part B deductible, excess charges. There are no foreign travel emergency benefits on this plan.
We get a fair amount of people who ask about Plan K, but when it comes down to ultimately choosing a plan to enroll in, we usually find that people originally interested in Plan K eventually settle on choosing Plan N. Part of this is due to the fact that not many carriers offer Plan K and when they do the savings vs benefits make them ultimately choose N.
Best Medicare Supplement Plans for 2019: Carriers
Many times when people are searching for the top Medicare supplements for any given year, they are actually wanting to know about insurance carriers. They want to know the top 5 Medicare supplement insurance companies who are playing in the Medicare supplement insurance space. For more on my thoughts about that, visit this post.
Ultimately it comes down to personal preference when choosing a Medigap policy. What you need is a solid set of quotes and we can help with that. Contact us today to have us compare rates online of the top Medicare supplements in 2019 in your area.
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