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Beginning in 2020, Medicare Supplement Plan F is no longer available to new enrollees. Learn about who Plan F still covers and what alternative Medigap plans are available.

By Joseph Arroyo, licensed Medicare insurance agent
Updated May 14, 2020

Key Takeaways:

  • If you're already enrolled in Medicare Supplement Plan F, you can keep your coverage
  • If you're a new enrollee in 2020, Plan F is not available to you
  • If you're looking for comparable coverage to Plan F, you're in luck - Plan G provides the same level of coverage as Plan F with one exception, Plan G will not pay for your Part B deductible of $198
  • If your goal is to reduce your overall costs, premiums for Plan G tend to be lower than the premiums for Plan F, so while Plan G won't cover your Part B deductible, you will likely still save money

If you are like most people over the age of 65, Medicare coverage is essential. But even if Medicare covers a good portion of your healthcare costs, you are still responsible for out-of-pocket payments like premiums, deductibles, co-pays, and coinsurance. In the event of an emergency — or even routine care — these costs could quickly add up.

To cover these costs, one in three Medicare beneficiaries chooses to enhance their Original Medicare (Parts A and B) coverage with a Medicare Supplement insurance plan (also called a Medigap plan).

There are 11 standard Medigap plans to choose from, one of which has historically been the most popular: Medicare Supplement Plan F.

As of January 1, 2020, however, Plan F is no longer available to new enrollees.

If you were planning on purchasing Medigap Plan F you still have options. While benefits and costs vary by standardized Medicare Supplement plan, there is one that is nearly identical to Plan F: Plan G.

With the information provided below, you will find everything you need to know about Medigap Plan F, alternative options to Plan F, and what this will mean for your medical expenses in 2020 and beyond.

What is Medicare Supplement Plan F?

Plan F has long been the most popular Medicare Supplement insurance plan. Why? Because individuals enrolled in Medigap Plan F enjoy 100% coverage of all their medical expenses, leaving them with no out-of-pocket costs and providing them with financial peace of mind.

Medigap Plan F pays for 100% of your:

  1. Medicare Part A deductible ($1,408).
  2. Medicare Part B deductible ($198).
  3. Hospital stays for up to 365 days per year after Original Medicare benefits run out.
  4. Stays of up to 100 days per year in a skilled nursing facility.
  5. Part B coinsurance (the 20% of Part B costs that Original Medicare doesn't cover).
  6. Part B excess charges (the 15% above the Medicare allowable amount that providers can charge).
  7. First three pints of blood (per calendar year).

Medicare Supplement Plan F also provides coverage for foreign travel emergencies. After a $250 deductible, Plan F covers 80% of the cost of medical services up to $50,000.

Did Medicare Supplement Plan F Go Away in 2020?

The answer is no. In fact, approximately half of Medigap enrollees are still covered by Plan F, according to the most recent data supplied from the State of Medigap 2019 Report from the nonprofit AHIP (America's Health Insurance Policies). But as of January 1, 2020, new Medicare enrollees can't purchase Medigap Plan F.

This change occurred after Congress in 2015 passed the MACRA Law (Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act). MARCA aims to both change how providers who treat Medicare patients are paid and reduce healthcare costs in the U.S. The law is part of an overall shift in the U.S. healthcare system, taking it from rewarding volume (the number of services provided to patients) to focusing on value (how well those services work to keep people healthy).

Part of MACRA states that as of January 1, 2020, Medicare Supplement plans are not allowed to pay for the Original Medicare Part B deductible. Congress' rationale for this is that by requiring Medicare beneficiaries to pay their own deductibles, it will curb overuse of services that are not deemed to be medically necessary.

Three Medicare Supplement plans currently cover the Part B deductible: Plan C, Plan F, and the high deductible version of Plan F. None of these plans are available to newly eligible Medicare enrollees.

Can I Still Buy Medicare Supplement Plan F?

If you're wondering if there is some way you can still purchase coverage from Medicare Supplement Plan F, the answer is "maybe."

There are two ways that you can still get coverage from Medigap Plan F:

  • If you were enrolled in Medigap Plan F on or before December 31, 2019, you can keep your plan.
    • Members enrolled before the January 1, 2020 cut-off date are "grandfathered in."
    • You can even switch to a different insurance company and still keep Plan F (including the high deductible version).

If you were eligible for Medicare prior to January 1, 2020 — but were not actually enrolled yet — you may still be able to purchase Plan F.

What is the Difference Between Medicare Supplement Plans F and G?

Medicare Supplement Plan G covers everything that Plan F covers, with one exception: Medigap Plan G will not pay for your Part B deductible of $198.

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

-

-

There is a bright side to that small change in coverage. Because the premiums for Medigap Plan G tend to be lower than the premiums for Medigap Plan F, you may actually save money by opting for Plan G. Here's how:

If the difference between the premiums for Medigap Plans F and G is more than the $198 Part B deductible, Plan G will be less expensive overall than Plan F. Here is an example using the average monthly premium in the United States:

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


Where Can I Buy Medigap Supplements F and G?

Medigap plans are offered through private insurance companies that are contracted with Medicare. Depending on where you live, it is likely that you will have several companies to choose from. For example, a senior living in St. Louis, Missouri, has 51 companies to choose from that offer Medigap Plan F, and 37 companies to choose from for Plan G.

In other areas, the insurance companies offering plans F and G will vary. Some of the more well-known national insurance companies available in many areas include Humana, AARP, and UnitedHealthcare.

What Are the Rates for Medicare Supplement Plans F and G?

Monthly premiums for all Medicare insurance supplements vary based on your location and your insurance company. Below is a sampling of monthly premiums available for plans F and G:

Plan

Most Expensive State

U.S. Average

Least Expensive State

F

$162.26/month

Massachusetts

$143/month

$109.16/month

Hawaii

G

$304.72/month

New York

$122.78/ month

$102.23/month

Wisconsin

Source: BusinessInsider

Medicare Supplement insurance plans are standardized in most states. For example, Humana Medicare Supplement Plan G will have the same basic coverage as Mutual of Omaha Medicare Supplement Plan G. This makes it easier to compare rates between insurers since you can be sure you're comparing apples to apples as far as coverage.

For example, according to a licensed broker at the Health Exchange Agency, the Plan G monthly premiums as quoted by four different insurance companies or a 65-year-old female in Raleigh, North Carolina are:

Aetna: $90
AARP: $107
Humana: $112
Mutual of Omaha: $90

Tip: If you are researching Medicare Supplement plans online, the first several search engine results are likely to be directly from insurance companies that are trying to get your business and have paid for that prime placement. To get the best rates, you will want to find an independent source that can offer multiple quotes to help you understand different pricing options. Since Medicare Supplement insurance is fairly standardized, comparing prices is even easier than purchasing auto or home insurance.

If you are new to Medicare and are wondering what your supplement options are, conducting your own research, having all the facts, and recognizing what your needs are before enrolling can go a long way in determining the type of coverage that is best for you. You'll want a plan that has the right blend of coverage, extra benefits, and price.

Not all insurance companies offer plans in every state, so be sure to research plan availability in your area.

Joseph Arroyo is a licensed Medicare insurance specialist who lives in Hilton Head, South Carolina. Arroyo is certified to sell Medicare products including Medicare Supplement insurance, Medicare Advantage, and prescription drug plans.