Before enrolling in Medicare, you must learn your options to get the most comprehensive coverage for your medical needs. Many beneficiaries find all the plan options shocking and overwhelming. There are several parts and plans in the Medicare world, and learning the differences is crucial when making the transition. Once you know and understand Original Medicare, you’ll realize it does not cover 100% of your costs. So, what are your options?
Secondary Medigap plans
One kind of plan you can choose is a Medigap plan. Medigap plans are secondary insurance plans you can purchase from a private insurance carrier. Visit the article What is Medigap for a more in-depth explanation. They are designed to cover the gaps in Medicare costs that you are responsible for paying. There are a total of 10 standardized Medigap plans, and each plan offers different coverage. With all of these options, how do you choose?
Most popular Medigap plan in 2023
Most beneficiaries gravitate to Medigap Plan G as it provides the most comprehensive coverage to those new to Medicare as of 2020. Medigap Plan G has the most value and covers all your approved hospital costs, Part A deductible, Part B coinsurance, Part B Excess Charges, skilled nursing facility coinsurance, hospice coinsurance, and more.
The only gap in Medicare it does not cover is the Part B annual deductible. In 2023, that deductible is $226. Once you’ve met that amount for Part B services, Medicare Part B will cover 80% of your approved costs, and your Plan G will cover the remaining 20%.
How much does Plan G cost?
In addition to the comprehensive coverage, most states’ premium is relatively reasonable. Medigap premiums are based on age, zip code, gender, and tobacco use, so your premium will look different from someone in another state. However, many people don’t mind paying a higher premium when they know they will have fewer out-of-pocket costs during the year.
Provider freedom with Plan G
One attractive feature of Medigap plans, such as Plan G, is provider freedom. You can see any provider in the U.S. as long as they accept Medicare. This also makes it easy to travel around the country because your coverage will remain the same no matter which state you are in.
Medigap Plan G also provides foreign travel emergency coverage. You would pay a $250 deductible before the plan covers 80% of the cost of the service. There is also a $ 50,000-lifetime limit, so once your plan pays that amount, it’s gone. The medical emergency does need to happen within the first 60 days of leaving the U.S. for your Plan G to cover it.
Plan G versus other Medigap plans
There are two other popular Medigap plans that beneficiaries tend to focus on. Those plans are Plan F and Plan N. However, Plan F is phased out to new beneficiaries, and you can only get it if you were Medicare-eligible before 2020. The difference between Plan F and Plan G is Plan F covers the Part B annual deductible, whereas Plan G does not. So, it does have more comprehensive coverage, but it also tends to have a higher premium.
Plan N tends to have a lower monthly premium because you are responsible for more out-of-pocket costs. For example, with Plan N, you owe the Part B deductible, up to $20 copays for office visits, up to $50 for emergency room visits, and the Part B excess charges. For those who go to the doctor infrequently, Plan N can be a popular option. But some people don’t want to deal with copays even if they are small and, therefore, lean toward Plan G.
Finding the right plan for you
As you approach the Medicare age, researching your options and understanding the different plans is key to finding the right plan for your needs. Medigap carriers can ask health questions on the application when you have had Medicare Part B for over six months, so this is a big decision.
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