Medicare Supplement Plan G is one of the most popular supplement plans. With Plan F being phased out, Plan G may be the best plan for you.

By Noam Flam
Updated May 20, 2020

Key Takeaways

  • There are 10 Medicare Supplement plans to choose from, which gives you the chance to find a plan that provides the type of coverage you are looking for
  • Plan G is a popular Medicare Supplement plan that is expected to increase in popularity after 2020 changes to Plan F
  • If you were enrolled in Medicare before January 1, 2020, you may still choose Plan F
  • If you were not enrolled in Medicare prior to that date, Plan F is not available to you
  • Plan G is a suitable alternative to Plan F and covers almost all of the categories a Medicare Supplement plan can provide
  • It is important to understand your options for a premium pricing method when choosing a Medicare Supplement plan. These options are classified as: Attained-age-related; Community-rated; and Issue-age-rated
  • Guaranteed Issue Rights guarantee you the ability to purchase these plans, with certain restrictions and under certain conditions

What is a Medicare Supplement Plan?

A Medicare Supplement plan, also known as a Medigap plan, is an insurance plan that covers the medical expenses that are not covered by your Original Medicare plan.

Although Original Medicare covers a large amount of your medical expenses, there are some things that it does not cover. These out-of-pocket expenses fall into a variety of categories.

Medicare Supplement plans differ regarding which categories they cover, and how much they cover within any given category.

For example, one plan may cover your Part B coinsurance or copay entirely, while another plan may only cover half of this fee. Because there are so many different categories of fees to cover, there are 10 Medicare Supplement plans offered in total. This ample assortment ensures that you are able to find a plan that covers the exact mix of categories that works best for your specific needs.

Want to learn more about your Medicare options?

Changes to Medicare Plan F and What it Means for Plan G

Plan G is one of the most popular Medicare Supplement plans, second only to Plan F. Plan F is the most popular Medigap plan chosen by enrollees; however, it is important to note that Plan F is no longer available to new Medicare enrollees as of January 1, 2020.

If you were enrolled in Medicare before January 1, 2020, you may still choose Plan F. If you were not enrolled in Medicare prior to that date, Plan F is not available to you.

Due to this change, Plan G is expected to become the most popular plan offered. Plan G is a comprehensive plan — of all of the categories that can be covered by a Medicare Supplement plan, Plan G covers almost all of them entirely, aside from the Part B deductible.

Specifically, Plan G covers the following:

  • Part A coinsurance and hospital costs
  • Part B coinsurance and copayment
  • Bloodwork (first 3 pints of blood)
  • Part A hospice coinsurance or copayment
  • Skilled nursing facility coinsurance
  • Part A deductible
  • Part B excess charges
  • Foreign travel emergencies (up to the plan limit)

Benefit:

Plan F

Plan G

Part A coinsurance and hospital costs

100%

100%

Part B coinsurance or copayment

100%

100%

Blood (first 3 pints)

100%

100%

Hospice care coinsurance or copayment

100%

100%

Skilled nursing facility coinsurance

100%

100%

Part A deductible

100%

100%

Part B deductible

100%

0%

Part B excess charges

100%

100%

Foreign travel exchange

80%

80%

Out-of-pocket limit

--

--

Costs:

Plan F

Plan G

Monthly premium

$143/month

$1,716/year

$122.78/month

$1,473.36/year

Your out-of-pocket costs

$0

$183

(Part B deductible)

Yearly Medigap spending

$1,716

$1,656*

*Based on the average monthly premium in the United States

High Deductible Plan G

There is a modified version of Plan G available to some enrollees, known as a high deductible plan. The deductible for this and other high deductible plans is set by the government.

In 2020, it is $2,340. This means that of the fees not covered by Original Medicare, you will pay $2,340 before your Plan G pays for any additional fees.

The benefit to this is that you will pay a much lower premium. There is no way to know exactly what your premiums will be, as premiums for Plan G and all other supplement plans are set by the private insurance company offering the plan and will vary depending on your age, the state that you reside within, and any pre-existing conditions that you have.

However, premiums for high deductible plans will be much lower on average.

Premium Pricing Methods

When it comes to choosing between all of the available Medicare Supplement plans, it is important to understand your options for a premium pricing method. This is a method that the private insurance companies use to decide how much your premiums will cost.

There is not one standard price across all insurance companies. Instead, each company in each state will make this choice independently. For this reason, you should verify this exact cost information when you are comparing plans.

The options for premium pricing methods vary, and are classified as:

  • Attained-age-related — If an insurance company uses this pricing method, they will decide on your premiums based on your age at that time, which is known as your attained age. In practice, this usually means that your premiums will go up as you get older. This is the most common pricing method.
  • Community-rated — This is a pricing method that is standardized across your community. A community will usually be comprised of your entire state, or at least a large portion of your state. If your insurance company uses this pricing method, your premium price will depend only upon the rate they have set for your community versus your age or any other factors.
  • Issue-age-rated — If an insurance company uses this pricing method, they will choose the price for your premium based on your age. However, this price will not go up as you get older. The premiums for your plan may go up for other reasons, such as your health condition in general, but they will remain as they did at the age you purchased the plan in most cases.

What If I'm Under 65?

If you are under age 65 and are eligible for Medicare, and you are also interested in a Medicare Supplement plan, your options will vary.

In many states, insurance companies are required to offer some Medicare Supplement plans to those under age 65, but might not have to offer every type of plan. In other states, insurance companies are able to choose whether or not they want to offer these plans, and the plans may be unavailable to you, or only available at a higher price.

If you are under age 65 and want to enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan, you may have to search wider in order to find a more suitable plan for you from a provider that offers a rate that you can afford.

The conditions vary so much depending upon your specific health condition and between states of residence that it is difficult to offer more general advice on this subject.

Guaranteed Issue Rights

Guaranteed Issue Rights are rights that you have to Medicare Supplement plans under certain conditions. The basic concept is that Medicare Supplement plans are sold to you by independent companies, which means that these companies are not required to sell the plans to you.

However, Guaranteed Issue Rights guarantee you the ability to purchase these plans, with certain restrictions and under certain conditions.

In addition to the right to purchase the supplement plan, the restrictions provided by these rights mean that your plan cannot be priced higher due to any pre-existing conditions that you might have.

These rights are especially important if your coverage changes quickly, thus requiring you to purchase a supplement plan. For example, if you have a Medicare Advantage plan and change your place of residence, you may suddenly have far less coverage.

Specific Offerings

As there are so many insurance companies that offer supplement plans, there really is no way to definitively say which one is best. For this reason, you should contact each of these companies to get a quote and compare prices and additional perks that each offers, then decide what is right for you.

There are a few general pieces of information to note about some specific insurance companies. For example:

  • Aetna is available in 42 states and uses attained-age pricing.
  • AARP's supplement plans, offered by UnitedHealthcare, offer Plan G in all 50 states and use community-rated pricing.
  • Humana offers supplement plans in all 50 states and has online discounts, however, they do not offer Plan G at all.

These differences can drastically impact a plan's overall price, so it is worthwhile to look into the specific details for your state and individual health conditions. Most plans will offer some special discounts or offerings, like a household or online discount, which could end up making them more worthwhile than another plan that appears to be cheaper.

Selecting the Right Medicare Plan G

In order to choose the best Medicare Supplement plan for you, it will be necessary for you to take a look at some specific offerings in your area. However, before you do this, you should understand what Plan G offers, as well as how supplement plans work in general.

Noam Flam is a professional writer with expertise in healthcare, insurance, and finance.