Medicare Plan F is a supplementary insurance policy, also known as Medigap. The plan works alongside Original Medicare to cover out-of-pocket costs.
People who have Original Medicare, otherwise known as Medicare Parts A and B, may choose to buy Medigap, as an additional insurance policy.
Despite Plan F costing more than the other Medigap plans, it is popular because its comprehensive cover leaves people with very few out-of-pocket expenses.
As of January 1, 2020, Plan F will not be available to new Medicare enrollees, but individuals who already have this plan will be able to keep it.
Below, wediscuss the coverage and availability of Medicare Plan F, as well asalternative Medigap plans.
We may use a few terms in this piece that can be helpful to understand when selecting the best insurance plan:
- Deductible: This is an annual amount that a person must spend out of pocket within a certain time period before an insurer starts to fund their treatments.
- Coinsurance: This is a percentage of a treatment cost that a person will need to self-fund. For Medicare Part B, this comes to 20%.
- Copayment: This is a fixed dollar amount that an insured person pays when receiving certain treatments. For Medicare, this usually applies to prescription drugs.
The extensive coverage of Plan F includes the following:
- 100% of the deductibles for Parts A and B.
- 100% of the Part A coinsurance.
- Hospital expenses up to an extra 365 days after a person uses all available Medicare benefits.
- 100% of the copayment or coinsurance for Part A hospice care.
- 100% of the copayment or coinsurance for Part B.
- The first 3 pints of blood.
- 100% of the coinsurance for skilled nursing facility care.
- 80% of foreign travel emergency healthcare costs up to the plan limits.
In addition, Plan F covers 100% of Part B excess charges. These expenses refer to the amounts providers charge that are higher than Medicare-approved costs.
Some states offer a high-deductible version of Plan F. This means a person must first pay all Medicare costs up to $2,370, which is the deductible in 2021.
Similar to other Medigap plans, Plan F does not cover prescription drugs or extra benefits, such as dental and vision.
Since January 1, 2020, Plan F is no longer available to a person who is newly enrolling with Medicare. If an individual already has either the original or high-deductible version of Plan F, they may keep it.
A person who became eligible for Medicare before this date but has not yet enrolled might be allowed to buy a Part F plan.
As an alternative to Plan F, there are some other Medigap plans available. These include Plans A, B, D, G, K, L, M, and N.
All of these plans provide the same primary benefits, but may also include some additional ones. Those that offer more coverage usually have higher premiums.
Medigap plans can vary significantly in cost, and the premium price with one insurance company may differ to another despite the benefits being the same.
Once an individual decides on a Medigap plan, they can consider comparing prices before buying.
Some states also offer Medicare Select plans. These plans can include any of the above Medigap plans but require a person to use in-networks doctors or hospitals. The premiums are generally less expensive than other Medigap plans.
What is the closest alternative to Plan F?
Plan G has become a popular alternative because it is very similar to Plan F.
The only difference is that it does not pay the Medicare Part B deductible. If comprehensive coverage is important to a person, Plan G may be the best alternative to Plan F.
Plan F offers a high deductible version of the policy where an individual pays the deductible amount of $2,370 before the Medigap benefits take effect.
They must also pay a $250 deductible for emergency healthcare costs they encounter when traveling in foreign countries.
Some states also offer a high-deductible version of Plan G.
When comparing plans, a person may find it helpful to check the copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles. Some individuals may prefer a policy with less coverage than Plan G.
These options could include:
- Plan D provides all of the coverage of Plan G, except for Medicare Part B excess charges.
- Plan N, which is similar to Plan D but does not cover the Medicare Part B deductible.
Medigap also offers choices for a person who may require less coverage. These include:
- Plan L pays 75% of certain costs.
- Plan K pays 50% of certain costs.
To compare Medigap plans at a glance, this tool shows what plans are available in a particular area.
As Medicare Parts A and B do not pay for all healthcare costs, some people buy a Medigap supplement insurance plan. Medicare Plan F provides the most coverage.
Plan F is no longer available to new Medicare enrollees, but a person might be able to buy a Plan F policy if they were eligible for Medicare before January 1, 2020. Plan G is the option that most closely resembles Plan F.
Before buying a Medigap plan, a person may wish to take a careful look at the differences in their coverage, as insurance companies may offer the same plans but with different pricing. Once a person decides on a policy, they can then compare the costs between insurance providers.