Medicare Supplement or “Medigap” plans cover health care costs that Medicare Parts A and B won’t pay for. This includes Medicare deductibles, copays, coinsurance, and extended hospital stays. There are several reasons you might be shopping for a Medigap plan this year:
- You are turning 65 and enrolling in Medicare for the first time
- You’re switching from a Medicare Advantage plan to Original Medicare and you want supplemental coverage
- You didn’t buy a Medicare Supplement plan when you first joined Medicare, but you want one now
- Want to switch from your current Medicare Supplement plan to a different one
Whatever the reason, there’s a Medicare Supplement plan that’s right for you.
Top 3 Medicare Supplement Plans for 2019
Medicare Supplement plans are sold by private insurance companies, not the government.
However, the government has standardized the plans into 10 choices, known as Plan A through Plan N. (If you live in Massachusetts, Minnesota or Wisconsin, your options are different.)
Each lettered plan will always have the same benefits, no matter which insurance company you buy it from.
For example, Plan F from Aetna has the same benefits as Plan F from UnitedHealthcare.
All Medicare Supplement plans charge a monthly premium, and the amount you pay may vary from one insurance company or location to another – even for the exact same plan.
Premiums also depend on the plan you choose. Not surprisingly, plans that pay almost all your out of pocket costs tend to be more expensive than plans with more limited benefits.
Finally, your premium may depend on when you enroll in your Medigap plan.
- If you buy coverage when you are first eligible or in certain other specific situations when you have what is known as “guaranteed issue rights,” your plan may be more affordable. This is because the insurance company is not allowed to charge you extra based on health conditions you already have.
- If you buy a plan or change plans at any other time, your premium may be higher if you have preexisting conditions – or you may be unable to get coverage at all. This is a major reason to buy a Medigap plan as soon as you enroll in Medicare Part B.
Medicare Supplement Plans Comparison Chart 2019
Best Medicare Supplement Plans in 2019
Medicare Supplement Plan N
Plan N is our top-ranked Medicare Supplement Plan for 2019. We like it because it has a great set of benefits at a relatively low monthly rate.
In fact, the major difference between Plan N and more expensive plans is that with Plan N, you may have to make a small co-pay when you get medical treatment – up to $20 at the doctor’s office and up to $50 for an emergency room visit.
If you prefer to share some of the cost in exchange for a lower premium every month, Plan N could be a good choice for you. Here are Plan N’s other benefits:
- An extra 365 days of hospitalization coverage after your Original Medicare benefits have been used up.
- Payment of the 20 percent Medicare Part B coinsurance (but you will be responsible for a $20-$50 copays)
- The first three pints of blood needed for a medical procedure
- Hospice and skilled nursing facility coinsurance or copayments
- The Medicare Part A deductible of $1,340
- Foreign travel emergencies, up to plan limits
- The 20 percent coinsurance for preventive care under Medicare Part B.
Medicare Supplement Plan G
Plan G is also a solid choice. It offers more coverage than Plan N, but the monthly premiums tend to be higher.
The basic benefits under Plan G are the same as for Plan N. But there are two important differences:
- Plan N requires a copay for doctor and emergency room visits. Plan G does not, it covers the full 20 percent coinsurance not covered by Original Medicare.
- Medicare Plan G pays Medicare Part B excess charges, while Plan N does not. Healthcare providers are allowed to tack on an additional 15 percent fee in most states if they feel that the Medicare payment rate is not high enough. This fee, known as “excess charges,” is not covered by Original Medicare or most Medigap policies. Excess charges are not allowed in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
Plan G may be a good choice if you have frequent healthcare provider visits, want to avoid copays, or are concerned about excess charges.
Medicare Supplement Plan F
Plan F is the most comprehensive Medicare Supplement plan you can buy. But because its premiums tend to be higher than Plan N or G, we’ve ranked it number 3. Plan F has all the same benefits as Plan G, including coverage for excess charges.
The only difference between Plan F and Plan G is that Plan F pays the Medicare Part B deductible, which is currently $183 per year.
Plan F is a good choice for someone who wants to make one monthly premium with no deductibles or copays to worry about. Plan F is being discontinued for new enrollees in 2020, but if you buy it in 2019 you will be allowed to keep your coverage.
Top Alternative Medigap Options for 2019
High Deductible Plan F for 2019
Plan F also comes in a high deductible version. The high deductible Plan F offers all the same benefits of Plan F, but you must meet a deductible of $2,300 before your Medigap plan will pay for anything.
You can expect lower monthly premiums with the high deductible plan, but you will pay more out-of-pocket.
Since this plan is considered a first-dollar coverage plan, minus the deductible, it will also be going away in 2020.
Medicare Supplement Plan K
If you prefer to have a higher share of your own expenses, then Plan K might be a good option for you. With Plan K, you’ll pay 50% of costs such as copays and coinsurance under Part A & B. Other costs you’ll be responsible for are the Part B deductible and excess charges.
This option may be a good alternative to Plan N, the only issue is a lot of carriers don’t offer it. Those that do, usually offer better overall savings with Plan N vs Plan K.
Compare Rates Online for the Top 2019 Medicare Supplement Plans
Comparing plans and costs is easy. Just fill out our form or give us a call and we’ll search insurance companies in your area to give you rates on the top Medigap plans – with no obligation.