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Van Der Noord Financial Advisors

Is It Time to Consider Switching from Plan F?

Which Medigap Plan Is Best for You?

Open Enrollment for Medicare Supplement Plans begins October 15 and extends to early December. And while all plans have been standardized to assist consumers in making a decision, there are still multiple choices that can complicate the selection process. Fortunately, according to the experts, there are only two of the 10 plans offered worth considering – Plan G & Plan N. 

               The most popular Medigap plan has long been plan F, which covers all of original Medicare’s copays, coinsurance and deductibles.  Plan F was discontinued as of January 1, 2020 but remains open to anyone who was Medicare-eligible prior to that date. 

               Plan F was popular for a reason, but now there’s a reason to steer clear.  Now that plan F is discontinued, its enrollees are likely to face larger premiums. Here's why. When the government discontinues a Medigap plan, its premiums tend to shoot up sharply over the years that follow. Since there will no longer be new young retirees allowed to join that plan, the existing pool gets older and sicker. So, to remain profitable, insurers are forced to raise the premium.  Insurers generally must accept anyone who applies for a Medigap plan during his/her initial six-month Medigap open enrollment period, but in most states, insurers can reject people who apply after that period.  Rejection is likely if the applicant has an expensive medical condition.  So it may be wiser to sign up for a Medigap plan that’s nearly as comprehensive as F but not discontinued. 

               According to Danielle Roberts, a Medicare Supplement Accredited Advisor in Fort Worth Texas, Plan G is the new plan F.  The difference is that G doesn’t cover the  Medicare Part B deductible which is $203/year in 2021.  Nevertheless, Ms. Roberts feels that paying the higher deductible is still going to be less than the risk of ever increasing plan F premiums.

               Alternately, Plan N might save you money depending on your doctors.  Plan N is a lot like plan G, but with lower premiums and a few modest out-of-pocket costs- up to a $20 copay for some office visits and a $50 copay for some ER visits.  The other difference is that N doesn’t cover part B “excess charges”. So, if a health-care provider bills more than the Medicare approved amount, plan G will pay the excess but plan N won’t.

               The High-deductible version of plan G is a good low-cost option.  If you’re looking for a Medigap plan that does have low premiums, your best bet may be a “high deductible” plan G, if it available in your state.  These provide the plan G coverage described above, but with an annual deductible of $2,370 in 2021.