Of the Medigap plans available, Plan F provides the widest array of benefits and the most comprehensive coverage. Plan F and Plan C (not to be confused with Medicare Part C), the second most popular Medicare Supplement plan, are sometimes referred to as “first dollar” plans: They cover Medicare copays and co-insurance from the very ‘first dollar.’
What does Plan F include?
Plan F provides the following coverages, over and above Medicare Part A and B:
• Part A deductible
• Hospital care co-insurance and costs
• Hospice care co-insurance and co-payments
• Part B (physician’s charges, lab fees and durable medical equipment co-payment)
• First three pints of blood
• Skilled nursing care co-insurance
• Part B deductibles
• Part B excess charges
• Foreign travel emergency care.
Plan C covers all the same benefits except Part B excess charges – Together, Medicare Supplement Plan F and Medicare Supplement Plan C account for over 60 percent of all Medicare Supplement insurance customers.
Basically, if you never want to pay a doctor co-pay, plan F, combined with Medicare Part A, Part B, and an optional Part D (prescription drug) plan may be a good option for you. Although, you will have copays for your medications.
The advantage to Plan F, of course, is that it provides the broadest protection available among Medicare Supplement plans against medical costs. The disadvantage is that Plan F also comes at a higher monthly premium than other plans. Generally, the broader the protection against medical costs, the higher the monthly premium. For that reason, Plan F isn’t always necessarily the best fit – even for people who want a comprehensive plan.
If you want a fairly broad range of financial protection but you wince a little at the higher premiums of a Plan F Medigap policy, you can look at either Plan C, described above, or Plan G. Plan G, which is a great alternative to Plan F, pays everything Plan F pays, except the Part B calendar-year deductible. But your Part B deductible, as of 2017, is only $183. So if you are still in relatively good health and don’t have a specific reason to believe you won’t spend $183 in doctor bills, lab fees and durable medical equipment this year, plan G may be a good bet for you. Plus, rate increases, which are typically annually, are much lower per year than the Plan F, and other plans.
In each case, Medicare Supplement Plan F, G or C will pick up your $1,316 deductible in the event you have a hospital stay.
Note: Not all companies market these plans. As a licensed agent that specializes in Medicare Supplement/Medigap insurance, I can help you search for carriers active in your state that will write a Plan F, G or C policy, or any other plan that best fits your needs and your budget, and help you analyze the premiums and make the best decision.
Other Medigap Benefits
If the freedom to choose your doctor is important to you, consider Medicare Supplement plans rather than the alternative Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage). Medigap allows you to choose any doctor from nearly 900,000 practicing physicians in the U.S. that accept Medicare patients. Medigap also covers most specialist care without a referral.