3 Medigap Plan F Alternatives

Love Med Sup Plan F benefits but cannot afford the price? Check out these three options

by Chris Mihm+ on Oct 06, 2015 | 13 Comments

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Medicare Supplement Plan F (AKA Medigap F) is by far the most popular Medigap plan in the United States. It covers the most “gaps” left by Medicare but it is also the most expensive. While we believe that Plan F medicare supplement is worth its monthly premium, there are a few choices for people who still want to protect themselves but cannot afford the Medicare Supplement Plan F monthly cost.

Alternatives to Medigap Plan F

1) Purchase any other Supplement Plan 
A straight forward alternative to Medigap F, is to choose one of its counterparts. To save money why not select a plan that covers the most expensive benefits (such as hospitalization), but doesn’t offer all the other benefits of Plan F. The good news is that every Medigap plan covers the extra 365 days in the hospital. That is the most expensive benefit, so any plan will put you in a much better position if you end up in the hospital for an extended period of time. So check out plan A, plan N or Plan G if you want to get a lower cost Medigap and are OK will a little more cost sharing. Click here to see a Medicare Supplement comparison chart. To get a quote on a non plan F plan call us at 800-930-7956.

2) Consider a High Deductible Plan F
This plan has a $2,300 deductible, but covers all the same benefits as plan F at a fraction of the cost. Some healthy seniors select this option to save money each month but still remained protected if they ever have significant medical needs. Learn more about Medigap High F here…

3) Research Medicare Advantage
MA plans cap your total out of pocket maximum at $6,700. If you are willing to accept a smaller doctor network, MA plans can be an affordable alternative to Plan F.

Learn More about Medicare AdvantageGet a MA Quote

Alternatives to Plan F Recap:

Selecting the right Medicare insurance plan can be overwhelming. While most experts agree the Plan F is the best supplemental insurance, it isn’t right for everyone. If after checking out the 3 alternatives above you still need assistance, please call us at 800-930-7956. A licensed independent agent will help match you with the plan the best suits your needs and budget. There are no hidden costs or fees for our service.

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Reader Comments and Questions

By Farrel. Beddome on October 21, 2016

I am considering switching from Plan F to Plan N but am concerned about the possibility of paying Plan B "excess charges". I am 76 and have no major medical issues now but you never know at my age what can happen. So I'm thinking ahead and the risk associated with Plan N but it appeals to me because of the lower premium. Also, what is the coverage for cataract surgery under Medicare? Amy change from 2016 to 2017? I understand that Medicare limits the coverage to old fashioned surgical procedures and will not cover modern laser surgery techniques and Plan F is also restricted by this. Help! Farrel

Excess charges are definitely a concern when not enrolled in Medigap Plan F or G. However, the other thing to consider when enrolling in Plan N are the copays. If you were to get sick, you would pay a copay every time you visit a doctor. The combination of the two can really add up.

Medicare's coverage of cataract surgery is the same. Unfortunately, it isn't a simple answer, because it depends if it's outpatient or inpatient, and what type of procedure you are having done. You will want to contact Medicare to confirm coverage before any procedure.
-Eric from https://www.senior65.com/

By wendy on October 03, 2016

For a high deductible F plan: say I am hospitalized in 1/1, I will pay $1288 part A deductible, let's say I also pay other medical expenses which let me meet $2180 plan F deductible. Let's say in May, I need hospitalzied again. Question: Do I need to pay Part A deductible for a new benefit period or no need since I have already paid $2180?

Once you meet your deductible for Medigap High F, you should not have any out of pocket costs (for items, services, treatments that Original Medicare covers). So, if you met the $2180 and were hospitalized again, no, you would not pay the Part A deductible.
-Chris from https://www.senior65.com/

By Pam on March 10, 2016

We have plan F and are thinking of moving to plan G. We have heard there are several health question that must be answered, and all must be answered "no". So, what are these questions??

I wish there was a more simple answer to your question, but there is not. The reason is: each Medicare Supplement provider asks different questions. Also, not all answers need to be "no", but the company can charge more for preexisting conditions or deny you all together. Another thing to consider is if you live in a state that offers Medigap guaranteed switching rights, you won't need to answer these questions. With all of this said, we consider ourselves the switching experts, so please call one of our independent licensed insurance agents at 800-930-7956 to help find the plan in your area that will make it easiest to make the switch from Medicare Supplement F to G.
-Amy from https://www.senior65.com/

By Sr65Fan on December 20, 2015

Dear Sr65, I like to think of myself as healthy, so I am looking for a high deductible medical savings acct plan, but I cannot find any. Seniors cannot have a HSA either. Any clue?

One, love the name! Two, there is a similar program for those on Medicare, it's called a Medicare Medical Savings Account (MSA). These plans are Medicare Advantage plans with a high deductible. What makes this different than an HSA is: Medicare will deposit money into your account your health related services, once you use all of that, then you will pay until you meet your high deductible. If you would like help find an MSA in your area, please call 800-930-7956.
-Amy from https://www.senior65.com/

By Jo Bilot on December 19, 2015

If I have medicare plan N and I go to the doctor. I will have a co-pay of up to $20. If I refuse to own any supplement medicare will pay my doctor all but 20%. My doctor charges $85 for and intermediate length visit. Therefore my out of pocket will be $17, In this scenario alone, paying for a supplement seems pointless..

In that scenario, you're correct, it does not seem to make sense. However, the main benefits of Plan N is that it offers an additional 365 days of hospitalization, covers SNF copays, your Part A deductible, and most of your Part B coinsurance. Take a a href="https://www.senior65.com/medicare/article/medigap-plan-n-details">look at Medicare Supplement Plan N details, to see what is covered in comparison to Original Medicare alone.
-Chris from https://www.senior65.com/

By Jimm Franklin on December 18, 2015

I keep hearing about plan F or maybe G being phased out in 2020 due to too many people going to the doctor for every little sniffle or ache/pain because they have no out of pocket expenses. Then if you are in one of these plans you can be grandfathered in, but if you have a bad illness like cancer, you cannot get another plan. Then the plan f or G rates will go through the roof because of the "captive" small group of people grandfathered in. Is all this true?

There is a proposal that new Medicare Supplement plans in 2020 will no longer cover the Part B deductible. However, there was a change in Medigap plans in 2010, and we haven't seen a significant increase in rate increases for those grandfathered plans. So, while we can't tell you which plans will change, or if all the plans will be restructured, historically based it is unlikely that the rates will go through the roof.
-Chris from https://www.senior65.com/

By Rita Crain on December 08, 2015

My husband and I have Plan F, but would like to change to Plan G to lower our premiums. With Plan F we have not had to pay a penny out of pocket. I keep being told that with Plan G I would have exact same coverage as Plan F except for the deductible for each of us. I like not having any paperwork to do, and not being out any extra money. We would save over a $1000 a year choosing Plan G. I have United of Omaha, but I don't know if every other company is bound by the same payment schedule. Help

Thank you for your comment. It is true that Medicare Supplement Plan G covers the same benefits as Plan F, with the exception of the Part B deductible. If you can save a $1000 a year after paying your Plan G premium and Part B deductible, that sounds like a significant savings, and worth the time to apply. Finally, all Medicare Supplement plans are federally standardized, so while they may have varying monthly premiums, their coverage is identical. Hope this helps!
-Amy from https://www.senior65.com/

By Jeannie U on November 15, 2015

Hello Senior 65, I recently turned 65 and live in California. I'm in good health. I'm considering either a Medigap plan F or N. Is there an out of pocket max for F or N ? Is there a lifetime max benefit amount for F or N ? If I decide to change to a Medicare Advantage policy in the future, can I be denied? And should I anticipate difficulties in switching policies? Are the premiums or the out of pocket expenses for the Medigap policies tax deductible? Thank You, Jeannie .U.

Great questions! If you just turned 65 and are in your initial enrollment period you will not have to answer medical questions. Here are the answers to your other questions:
2) There is no lifetime benefit for most benefits, EXCEPT for hospitalization and certain therapy services.
3) You cannot be denied for Medicare Advantage based on preexisting conditions EXCEPT if you have End Stage Renal Disease.
4) It's easy to switch from Medigap to Medicare Advantage, but it can be difficult to switch from Medicare to Medicare Advantage.
5) We suggest you ask your tax person if you are able to write off your premium.

Hope this helps! Please call us at 800-930-7956, if you need further explanation.
-Amy from https://www.senior65.com/

By Bonnie on October 27, 2015

I spoke to a Medigap provider that has covered my husband since 2011. He has Plan F and was thinking about changing to Plan G because of large increases every year. He was told that he would have to terminate his Part F coverage and then wait 90 days before he could even apply for Part G. This would mean he would have no Medigap coverage for 90 days and there is no guarantee they would even accept the new application. Can they make you terminate your coverage like this?

We have not heard that you have to wait 3 months before applying, as Medicare states, "Don't cancel your first Medigap policy until you've decided to keep the second Medigap policy". We suggest keeping your current policy until you are approved for G. However, remember that even if they accept his new application, there can be a 6 month waiting period for preexisting conditions -maybe this is what they were talking about. Please call us at 800-930-7956 and one of our agents would be happy to help you out.
-Chris from https://www.senior65.com/

By Roger on October 15, 2015

Eric, I asked you about switching from Plan F high deductible to regular Plan Ff later in life. You said I would have to undergo medical underwriting, and can be declined. What does that mean? What does medical underwriting ask and look for? Perfect health at age 70? If there are preexisting conditions, is it a simple waiting period, or do they just declin you? Thanks.

Medical underwriting requires that you answer medical questions, and the Medigap plan can deny you based on preexisting conditions. The types of questions asked can vary from provider to provider. Now, with that said, we do have many clients approved past the age of 65. Hope this explains it better!
-Eric from https://www.senior65.com/

By Grace on October 13, 2015

Several questions. What are the main differences between the original Medicare Medigap policies and the Medicare Advantage policies? Compare to plan F. Is each benefit period pertain to each separate year you have the policy? Does the 365 extra days for hospitalization compare with the "lifetime" benefit on some MA policies. Is that per year? I am confused about it. How does that really work and what does it mean?

Great questions! The main differences between Medigap Plan F and Medicare Advantage are 1) Medigap has the largest nationwide network of doctors and hospitals, while MA plans have small networks, 2) Most Medigap F enrollees don't pay anything out of pocket besides their premium for health care (as long as Medicare covers it), whereas MA plans can have significant out of pocket costs with $0 to low monthly premiums, and 3) Medigap plans do not offer drug coverage, whereas most Medicare Advantage plans do.

Original Medicare's benefit period is when you are out of the hospital for more than 60 days, a new benefit period begins.

The 365 additional days offered by all Medigap plans, is for your lifetime of coverage.

Hope this helps! -Amy from https://www.senior65.com/

By Roger on October 13, 2015

Hello, If I purchase a Plan F high deductible plan to begin with, and some years down the road want to switch to the regular no deductible Plan F, will I have a problem doing so? Thank you

Unfortunately, if you want to switch from Medigap High F to Medigap Plan F, you'll have to undergo medical underwriting, and can be declined. We suggest that if you want the coverage of the traditional F plan, to enroll when you are first eligible.
-Eric from https://www.senior65.com/

By Robbie Van Sightle on October 09, 2015

Dear Senior65, Is the Maximum out of pocket cost for Medicare Advantage plans always $6700? I was looking at a plan that had a $3400 cap. Is that the same thing or something different? Thanks - RVS

Thank you for you question. They are the same. The $6700 out of pocket max is the 2015 maximum that any Medicare Advantage plan can charge. With that said, companies can offer lower maximum out of pockets -such as $3400. Hope this helps!
-Chris from https://www.senior65.com/

PLEASE NOTE: We cannot comment on specific Medicare claims. Contact Medicare directly if you are trying to see if your issue is covered.

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