A Medicare Supplement plan (also known as a Medigap plan) is a policy offered by private insurance companies that will pay for some or most of the out-of-pocket costs left by Medicare after they've paid their part. The plans have been standardized throughout most of the country with only a few states offering coverage that differs from the federal guidelines. Illinois offers the standardized plans which feature letters like Plan F, Plan G, Plan N, etc. Each plan offers specific coverage features, but the plans benefits do not vary between the different insurance companies so if they have the same plan letter, they have the exact same benefits. While Medicare Supplement plans offer a great deal of protection for the cost, they do not cover prescription drugs. That is handled by Medicare Part D, which most people take to work alongside their Medicare Supplement plan.
Like Original Medicare, there are no hospital or provider networks that are required to be used with a standard Medicare Supplement policy. You're allowed to see any provider or go to any hospital that accepts Medicare as payment. Some companies offer Medicare Select plans that feature a lower premium if you agree to choose a network hospital for inpatient hospital stays. With Select plans, you would be responsible for the Part A Deductible if you were admitted as an inpatient to an out-of-network hospital. Most of the plans available are standard plans that offer the advantage of choice and no network limitations.
Until recently, the most popular Medicare Supplement plan was Plan F. This plan featured little to no out-of-pocket expense for Medicare recipients as it paid for all deductibles and co-payments left by Medicare. It is uncommon for people with a Plan F to ever receive a bill for a hospital stay or a visit to a healthcare provider..
Congress passed a law a few years ago that eliminated Plan F for anyone enrolling in Medicare after January 1, 2020. If you joined Medicare prior to this date, then you will still be able to purchase a Plan F and if you have a Plan F, it’s not going anywhere. There may be a good reason to consider a switch though.
Plan G has been available alongside Plan F and there is only ONE difference between the two plans. Where Plan F pays all deductibles and co-payments left by Medicare, Plan G does not cover the Part B deductible. This deductible is only $198 in 2020 and only needs to be met once per calendar year. It changes for everyone when Medicare decides to adjust it. So why would you consider a Plan G instead? Well when comparing the cost of Plan F premiums to Plan G premiums, it is nearly always the case that the extra money paid for the Plan F exceeds the amount of the Part B deductible. If you’re paying more than the $198 a year in premium but not getting anything beyond that one bill covered, it simply makes sound financial sense to take the Plan G and pay the deductible yourself. For anyone enrolling in Medicare after January 1, 2020, the Plan G offers the most benefits and has replaced Plan F as the most popular option. There are other options you can consider as well including Plan N and some high-deductible plans you may find meet your needs. I’ll be happy to review all options with you when we meet.
Your Medigap Open Enrollment Period is the 6-month window that starts the month you turn 65. During this time you can purchase any Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan available in your state without answering questions about your health. After this period ends, if you wish to purchase a Medicare Supplement plan, you will have to go through Medical underwriting which may limit your options and cause you to pay more for your coverage. I always advise my clients that choose to take a Medicare Supplement plan to do so during their Medigap Open Enrollment period as they will save the most money by not having limits placed on their choices due to their health history. Many of the carriers I work with will actually accept your application 6 month BEFORE you turn 65, which would allow you to lock in your rate should there be a rate increase after you sign up.
In this next section we'll exam how Part D Prescription Drug plans work to provide you medications a lower cost.
Medicare Supplement plans can feel a bit like Sesame Street trying to teach kids the letters of the alphabet. I want to make sure that you understand everything to help you find the plan that would best meet your needs. I'll be happy to answer any questions you have and review the various policy types offered by all of the companies I work with.
I can meet in-person, via the phone, or even via video-conference with my laptop and your internet-connected computer, smartphone or tablet. Simply fill out the form below and I'll be in touch shortly to schedule a time to review your needs, answer your questions, and hopefully make this all seem easier to understand. Or if you prefer, you can call me directly at 309-696-7933.
By completing the form below, I understand that a licensed agent will reach out to me by email or phone to discuss Medicare Advantage Plans, Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans, Medicare Part D Plans, or other types of insurance products.