If you are a Medicare beneficiary looking for Medicare supplements, then this place is for you. We will discuss the top 3 best Medicare supplements available and talk about why they are the best. Topics include plan options, price, and availability. So, whether you’re just starting your search or you’re almost ready to sign up, I’m going to jump right in and give you the best Medicare supplement advice without all the confusion.
What are the best Medicare Supplements and what do they cover?
If we had this conversation prior to 2020, I would have said that the best plans in order of what they cover would have been Plan F, Plan G, and Plan N. However, medigap plan availability has changed in the past few years. Some plans are no longer available to newly eligible Medicare beneficiaries. So, let’s begin with where we are today and work backwards.
For anyone just turning 65, new to Medicare, or losing employer coverage, Plan G and Plan N are the two most popular Medicare supplements. Plan G is the better of the two, by far, providing more comprehensive coverage at a slightly higher price. Plan N is a reasonable option for those who want Medicare supplement insurance coverage but don’t want to pay as much as Plan G. The third option is a little harder to pinpoint.
The top selling Medicare supplement today is Medigap Plan G. This plan offers the most comprehensive coverage of all the Medicare supplements available to those people who are eligible for Medicare. It covers almost all of the out-of-pocket costs that you would normally incur with Original Medicare, including copays, coinsurance, and Part A deductibles. In fact, Plan G covers everything except the Part B Deductible. While it’s not available in all states, it is available in most and is offered by most medigap insurance companies. Plan G even covers excess charges. Average rates for Plan G are about $125 a month.
Medigap Plan N is the second-best selling Medicare supplement. It has lower premiums than Plan G but covers fewer out of pocket expenses. The biggest difference is you will have copay for doctor visits and emergency room visits. So, you will want to consider whether the money you save in monthly premiums is worth the copays. While you are healthy, this may not be much of a concern but if you develop a critical illness, you will certainly want to consider what impact the copays will have on your wallet.
Additionally, Plan N does not cover excess charges. Excess charges are important to consider because, while they are not common, they are not uncommon. Plan N is available in most states and offered by most insurance companies. The average monthly premium for Plan N is $110 a month.
The third best Medicare Supplement is where the road shifts and the answer is not clearly defined. You see, if we are approaching this from the point of how much a medigap plan covers, I would say Plan D but Plan D is only available is limited states and offered by limited insurers. If I keep moving down the list, we see the same problems with Plan M, Plan L, Plan K, Plan B, Plan A and so on. So, where does that leave us. That leaves us with HD Plan G.
HD Plan G or G-HD is more accurately referred to as High Deductible Plan G. I do not want to muddy the waters too much (though this is easily done when discussing Medicare) so I will say that the HD Plan G pays just like the regular Plan G but you must first meet a separate high deductible before coverage kicks in. This G-HD deductible increases annually. In 2022, it is $2490. This plan is not as widely available as the most popular medigap plans, Plan G and Plan N but that may change with time.
As the Medicare landscape changes, so do the offerings. In fact, High Deductible Plan G was not even available until January 1, 2020. This date is significant because that is when a provision of MACRA (Medicare Access Chip Reimbursement Access) kicked in which said medigap plans covering the Part B deductible can no longer be purchased by people new to Medicare.
And, Medigap Plan F
Now, that we are back to 2020. This is where we circle back around to Medigap Plan F. Plan F is first dollar coverage. It pays everything Original Medicare does not pay, including Part A and Part Deductibles, coinsurance and excess charges. It is, also, still available to anyone who was already eligible for Medicare on January 1, 2020. While all medigap plans see annual price increases, Plan F has seen higher increases. The average Plan F premium in 2022 is just $155 a month.
Pros and Cons of Each Plan:
-Pros: Best value, most comprehensive coverage, low monthly premium, excess charges covered
-Cons: Not available in all states, Part B deductible not covered
-Pros: Good value, low monthly premium, covers some out of pocket costs
-Cons: Not as comprehensive as Plan G, copays for doctor visits and emergency room visits, excess charges not covered
HD Plan G:
-Pros: Plan G benefits, but with a high deductible
-Cons: Not as widely available as Plan G and Plan N, high deductible increases annually
-Pros: First dollar coverage, still available to those who were already eligible for Medicare in 2020
-Cons: Highest monthly premium, not available in all states, only available to people who were 65 or already enrolled in Medicare on January 1, 2020.
Who Can Buy a Medigap Plan?
-You must have Medicare Part A and Part B
-You pay the private insurance company a monthly premium for your Medigap policy
When Can I Buy a Medigap Plan?
-You have a six-month window called the Medigap Open Enrollment Period to buy a Medigap policy without having to answer health questions
-Your Medigap Open Enrollment Period starts the month you turn 65 or enroll in Medicare Part B
-You may also qualify for a medigap policy by answering medical questions. This is commonly called “underwriting”
Where Can I Buy a Medigap Plan?
-You can buy a Medigap Plan from any insurance company that offers them in your state. You do not have to get your Plan from the same company that provides your Part D prescription drug coverage.
-In some states, you may be able to buy a Medigap policy from a company outside your state
How Do I Compare Medicare Supplement Plans?
The best way to find Medicare supplement plans is to use an online medigap quoting tool, like the one on our website. With our quoting tool, you can compare plans and prices from multiple insurers in your area and choose the plan that’s right for you.
I hope this information has been helpful in explaining what the top 3 best Medicare supplements are and how I got there. If you have any questions about which plan is right for you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. As always, I am here to help!