Medicare Supplement Plan F is one of the most well-known Medigap Plans. Medicare Plan F is for beneficiaries looking for a complete, all-inclusive healthcare plan that covers all out-of-pocket costs including deductibles, coinsurance and copayments.
Original Medicare leaves beneficiaries with many out of pocket costs due to gaps in coverage. Medigap Plan F covers all these gaps, including your hospital and outpatient deductible.
Also, most beneficiaries don’t realize Medicare Part B only covers 80% of their medical costs.
Without a Medicare Supplement Plan, you’re left responsible for the remaining 20%. Plan F will also pay the 20% that Part B doesn’t cover.
Medicare Supplement Plan F: Everything You Need To Know
You might have heard Plan F referred to as Medicare Part F or Medigap Part F. The correct terminology is Plan F, there’s no such thing as Part F. Traditional Medicare has Parts, Medicare Supplements have Plans.
Keep in mind, you must have Original Medicare Part A and Part B to enroll in a Medigap Plan, such as Plan F.
Medigap Plan F Benefits: First-Dollar Coverage
Of the 11 Medicare Supplement Plans, 3 of them are considered first-dollar coverage plans. Plan F is one of them.
First-dollar coverage simply means that after Medicare pays its share of your medical costs, your supplement plan will pay the rest. Thus, Medicare Supplement Plan F will leave you with $0 out-of-pocket costs.
- Full coverage for Part A AND Part B deductibles
- Full coverage for Part A AND Part B coinsurance or copayments
- Covers the remaining 20% that Part B doesn’t cover
- Coverage for excess charges
- Foreign travel emergency coverage
- Skilled Nursing Facility coinsurance
Medigap Plans give you the freedom to choose any doctor. They also allow you to see a specialist at any time, without a referral from your primary doctor.
They’re also guaranteed renewable, meaning your coverage can NOT be cancelled due to health conditions.
A popular question we hear all the time: “Are Medicare Plan F benefits the same across all carriers?”
Yes, regardless of the carrier you choose to enroll with, the benefits are the same. The only difference is the cost, the premiums will be different for each carrier. That’s why it’s important to compare rates for the same plan across all carriers.
Good news is, aside from the big-name carriers, there are many other carriers out there with good financial ratings. These other carriers may offer lower rates, keeping more money in your pocket.
Plan F Costs: Keep More Money in Your Pocket
Since Medicare Supplement Plan F is the policy with the most benefits, it’s also the most expensive. However, more than 60% of Medicare beneficiaries choose to enroll in Plan F.
Theory behind it is, if you can afford it, why not pay a little extra money to get peace of mind. You’ll keep more money in your pocket in the long run. A serious illness can easily cost you thousands of dollars, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars within one year.
For those without a Medigap Plan, it could be financially devastating. 20% of hundreds of thousands of dollars is a lot of money for most.
Let’s say you need a lung transplant. Part A will cover the sourcing of the transplant organs as well as the surgical procedure itself.
Part B will cover all your outpatient medical services such as doctors’ visits, preventive care, home and mobility equipment, home healthcare needs, etc.
The total cost of both your hospital and outpatient services comes to $80,000. Once Original Medicare pays their portion of your medical costs, the remaining $16,000 is billed to your Medicare Supplement insurance carrier. You pay nothing out-of-pocket.
Without a comprehensive supplement plan to fill in these gaps in coverage, such as Medicare Plan F, the remaining $16,000 would be billed to you.
So, what’s the cost of Medicare Plan F? The only cost for Plan F is your monthly premium.
Premiums for Medicare Plan F
There are many factors carriers consider that impact the cost of your premium. These factors include where you live, your gender, age, etc. That’s why it’s important to speak to a licensed agent that can get quotes in your area.
The average cost is usually somewhere around $150 per month. However, it could be more or less depending on your zip code and other factors.
As stated above, Plan F benefits will remain the same regardless of the carrier you choose to enroll with. Therefore, it’s in your best interest to compare the cost of Medigap Plan F in your area annually.
An annual review of rates in your area across all the carriers that offer Plan F can save you a ton of money year over year.
Changing from One Medigap Plan F to Another
If you enrolled in Plan F during your Open Enrollment Period, you were granted Guaranteed Issue. GI means the carrier must approve your application, regardless of your current health status or any pre-existing conditions. GI only comes around once in a beneficiary’s lifetime.
Therefore, changing from one carrier to another usually requires the enrollee to answer health questions this time around. But don’t let this concern you, 3 out of 4 beneficiaries will still be approved by the new carrier with no issues.
I Heard Medicare Plan F is Being Discontinued
CMS recently announced that all first-dollar coverage plans were going away, including Plan F. In 2020, Plan F & Plan C will be phased out. This also includes high-deductible Plan F.
For those beneficiaries already enrolled, you will be grandfathered in come 2020. There’s no reason to be concerned or feel that you need to switch to another Medigap Plan before the end of 2019.
Who Can Still Enroll in Medicare Plan F After 2020?
The main keyword here is Medicare “eligible.” As long as you become Medicare eligible by December 31st, 2019, you can still enroll in Plan F, Plan C or HD Plan F after 2020.
To clarify, if you turned 65 years old before 2020, you can still enroll in any of the 3 first-dollar coverage plans on an Open Enrollment basis after 2020.
Should I Still Enroll in Plan F Knowing It’s Going Away in 2020?
If Plan F makes the most financial sense to you, then absolutely. Some agents will advise you to enroll in another plan due to the 2020 changes, don’t be fooled by this scare tactic.
Of course, it’s still in your best interest to contact a licensed agent that can compare rates side by side of all the letter plans offered in your area. You might find that one of the other Medigap Plans are a better value for you.
Does Medicare Plan F Come with Prescription Drug Coverage?
Any Medicare Supplement Plan will cover the costs of prescriptions drugs administered at the hospital. However, they do NOT cover prescription drugs that are prescribed by your doctor and taken at home. That’s where Medicare Part D comes in handy.
What About Dental, Vision & Hearing Benefits?
Unfortunately, Medigap Plans do not cover routine dental, vision or hearing services. Good news is, Medicare has many stand-alone dental, vision and hearing plans to supplement your Original Medicare and Medigap benefits. Our agents can also compare these rates in your area.
Don’t Be Fooled by the Hype of Medicare Advantage Plans
Yes, Medicare Advantage Plans include coverage for prescription drugs, as well as dental, vision and hearing services. However, these benefits come with MANY limitations. Limitations that many new beneficiaries are not aware of.
In fact, there has been so many new beneficiaries that enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan that were not properly informed about all the limitations, Medicare had to bring back the annual Medicare “Advantage” Open Enrollment Period.
Starting in 2019, Medicare Advantage enrollees will have a new enrollment period that allows them to leave their Medicare Advantage Plan and go back to Original Medicare. These beneficiaries then pick up a Medicare Supplement Plan to fill in the gaps of coverage.
Medicare brought back the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period because too many beneficiaries were finding themselves stuck in an Advantage plan they didn’t want. They had to wait until the annual Medicare Annual Enrollment Period to switch back to Original Medicare & pick up a Medigap Plan.
Again, don’t be fooled by the hype. You get what you pay for regarding “zero-dollar premium plans.” Save time and money by sticking with Original Medicare and supplementing the benefits with a Medigap Plan & stand-alone Part D prescription drug plan.
If Medigap Plan F is Too Expensive for Me, What’s the Next Best Option?
The next best option is Plan G. You’ll have to pay your Part B deductible, but you get a lower premium. Rumor has it, due to High-Deductible Plan F going away in 2020, there will be a new High-Deductible Plan G added to the list of letter plans. Of course, our clients will be the first to know once we know!
When Can I Enroll in Medicare Supplement Plan F
If you’re enrolled in Original Medicare Part B, you can sign up for Medicare Supplement Plan F at any time. Medicare Supplements do not have enrollment periods like Original Medicare.
The best time to enroll is within 6 months of your Part B effective date. This is because your granted guaranteed issue. However, you can still apply after the 6-month mark of your Part B effective date. You’ll just have to answer some medical questions.
Feel Confident in Your Decision
It doesn’t cost you anything to have your own personal licensed agent in your back pocket. Medicare is constantly changing, keeping up with all these changes is nearly impossible. But not for our agents! They can help you make an informed educated decision on your healthcare plan.
Plus, when you sign up for a Medicare Plan through MedicareFAQ, you’ll get unlimited FREE support from our Client Service Team. If you have any problems with your coverage, like a doctor putting in the wrong code for a service or Medicare denying a claim, we’re here to help at no additional cost!
Get started by giving one of our agents a call today. Or, you can complete our online rate comparison form to see Medigap Plan F rates side by side of all the top carriers in your area.