Is Medicare Plan F Still Available? (yes and no)

by David Bynon, last updated

Medicare Supplement Plan F is still available, but only if you qualified for Medicare before January 1, 2020. After that, the best plan you can get is Plan G.

This article will help you understand if Medicare Supplement Plan F or Plan G is the best Medicare Supplement plan for you and what you need to do to get one.

Key Takeaways

  • Medicare Supplement Plan C and Plan F are available to individuals who qualified for their Medicare benefits prior to 2020.
  • Individuals who qualified for Medicare on or after January 1, 2020 do not qualify for Medicare Supplement Plan F or Plan C.
  • In most cases, a Medicare Supplement Plan G policy, plus the annual Medicare Part B deductible, costs less than a Plan F policy (annualized).
  • The three most popular plans in 2023 are Plans F, G, and N.

Medicare Supplement Plan F is a popular plan for several reasons. Plan F is the Medicare Supplement insurance with the most coverage. And, because it covers all gaps in Medicare, it gives you first-dollar coverage.

What Happened to Medigap Plan F?

For decades, Plan F was the most popular supplemental Medicare insurance policy available because it’s the most comprehensive plan. But, Congress passed a bill that now forbids Medicare Supplements from covering the Medicare Part B deductible. They believe this will save on healthcare costs.

The two Medigap policies that pay the Part B deductible are Plans C and F. As a result, insurance carriers are no longer allowed to offer these insurance plans to new policyholders.

Going forward, plan options for new Medicare beneficiaries include A, B, D, G, K, L, M, and N. As a result, G is now the plan that offers the most coverage for people new to Medicare.

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Traditionally, Medicare Supplement Plan F has been popular because it pays all of the out-of-pocket expenses on Original Medicare, including the Medicare Part B deductible. That means people with this policy can see their doctor and have no out-of-pocket costs on their Medicare coverage.

With other Medigap plans, you pay the Part B deductible before the Medigap policy kicks in and starts paying its share. That means you wait until you’ve had enough doctor visits until your Medigap plan begins pulling its weight.

Is Plan F Still Available for Me?

That all depends on when you got your Medicare. If your Medicare benefits started before 2020, you can apply for a Plan F policy. Otherwise, federal law says you can’t.

There’s one more catch. Even though you qualify to apply for a Plan F policy, it does not mean your application will be approved.

Unless you have a guaranteed issue right, your Plan F policy application will need to go through medical underwriting. If you’re in good health, don’t worry about it. If you have chronic health issues, your application will most likely be turned down.

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What is Medicare Plan F Being Replaced With?

Plan F is not being replaced with a new plan. And, a Medicare Advantage plan doesn’t even come close to offering the same amount of coverage on Part A and Part B benefits, particularly hospital costs.

Taking Medigap Plan F away may seem like a slap in the face, but savvy individuals have known all along that they can save money with Medigap Plan G. The only difference between Plans F and G is the Part B deductible. Plan F pays it. G doesn’t, but it has a lower monthly premium.

Most Medicare Supplement Plan F policies have an annual premium that’s greater than a G plan plus the annual Part B deductible. By paying the Medicare Part B deductible yourself, you can pocket the savings.

This is why Medicare Supplement Plan G is quickly becoming the new favorite. It saves money.

Plan N: Less Coverage But Still Worthwhile

One of the most recommended Medicare plans available is Medicare Supplement Plan N. Although it offers less Part B coverage than G, it is an excellent option for healthy individuals.

In most areas, a Plan N policy is 25-30% less than G. Even more when compared to Plan F.

Here’s why.

Plan N does not cover Medicare Part B excess charges. These are costs – up to 15% additional – that some doctors charge when they don’t accept Medicare-approved amounts for their services. This is sometimes called balance billing because the patient pays the balance.

Also, Plan N has two copayments. There’s a $20 copayment when you see your doctor. And, there’s a $50 copayment when you use the emergency room.

By paying the copayments and excess charges yourself, you get a serious discount on your monthly premium. That’s why this plan is quickly gaining popularity.

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What About Plan F Rate Increases?

When Congress did away with coverage on the Medicare Part B deductible, that pretty much opened the floodgates for rate increases on Plan F and Plan C.

From the insurance company’s point of view, doing away with first-dollar coverage cut their costs because they are not processing as many medical claims. Plus, it did away with a lot of frivolous doctor visits.

As a result, Plan F rates have gone up noticeably faster than both G and N. Experts agree this trend will continue.

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A Quick Summary of Medicare Supplement Insurance

Even with Plan F no longer being available to new Medicare beneficiaries, there are some great options. The best way to compare the coverage of Medicare Supplement plans is to have a look at a chart:

Medicare Supplement Plans Comparison Chart for 2024

The chart shows a quick synopsis of Medicare’s out-of-pocket costs (left) and what each plan covers (right). The best plan for you is the one that offers the amount of coverage you are likely to need at an ongoing premium you can afford.

Medigap Plan K

We’ve already covered the benefits of Plans F, G, and N, the three most popular plans. However, not everyone needs the amount of coverage these plans offer. And not everyone can afford it, either.

That’s where Plan K comes in. It’s one of two shared-cost plans that have an annual out-of-pocket limit.

With Plan K, you pay 50% of all Medicare Part A and Part B deductibles and coinsurance until your annual spending reaches the limit (that’s $7,060 this year). If you’re thinking that sounds like a lot, realized that many Medicare Advantage plans have a limit as high as $8,550.

The tradeoff for the high out-of-pocket costs in Plan K is its super low monthly premiums. In most areas, you can get one of these policies starting at around $45 to $50.

High Deductible Medicare Plan G

Another plan gaining popularity is the high-deductible version of Plan G. The difference between this plan and Plan K is that you pay all costs out-of-pocket until you’ve paid the deductible ($2,800). After that, the plan picks up all remaining Part A and Part B costs for the year.

In most areas, the High Deductible Plan G premiums are about the same as Plan K. Sometimes even less. So you can save a lot if you manage your premiums.

Consider this. What if you put the difference between a regular Plan G and a high deductible plan into savings every month? It would take you a little more than 2 years to have the amount of the high deductible neatly tucked away.

This is the strategy a lot of people are using to save money. By self-insuring a chunk of your costs, you can keep your premiums as low as possible.

When Can I Change Plans?

One of the nice things about Medigap plans is you can change plans at any time. You don’t have to wait for an open enrollment period as you do with Medicare Advantage plans.

That said, the private insurance companies that sell Medicare Supplement plans are not required to sell you a policy unless you have a guaranteed issue right.

You have a guaranteed issue right for a very short period of time, and generally, you only get it once. You have it during your Medigap Open Enrollment Period when you initially qualify for Medicare.

Your Medigap Open Enrollment Period starts when you enroll in Medicare Part B. It lasts only six months.

Do You Still Have Questions About Medicare Supplement Plan F?

Do you have questions about Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans that we haven’t answered here? Call 1-855-728-0510 (TTY 711) and speak with a licensed HealthCompare insurance agent. There’s no obligation, and they offer more plan options than any other national agency.

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