Which is Better: Medicare Plan F vs Plan G
If you’re wondering which Medicare Supplement plan is the best, Plan F vs. Plan G, you’re in the right place. We’re going to answer that question as thoroughly as possible. In fact, we’re going to come at it from both directions, because both of these stellar Medigap plans are the best options you can get in different situations. We’ll answer these common questions, too:
Medicare Supplement Plan F and Plan G are nearly identical. Technically, Plan F is better because it offers first-dollar coverage. However, the one cost that Plan G does not cover, the Part B deductible, is often less than the annualized premium difference between the two plans. As a result, Plan G holders generally save a little money. Read Medicare Plan F vs Plan G to learn more.
Plan G is generally less expensive than Plan F. You can often save $25 to $40 per month by moving to Plan G. Even though you will have to pay the annual deductible out-of-pocket with Medigap Plan G, the monthly savings is almost always worth it. To compare Plan F vs G rates where you live, go here and enter your zip code.
If you are healthy, in most cases you can switch Medigap plans by answering a few medical underwriting questions. Whether you want to switch from Medigap Plan F to Plan G, or you want coverage from a different insurance company, or you want to get a better rate on your Medicare supplement insurance, you can do so at any time by submitting an application. To compare Medigap plans and rates where you live, click here and enter your zip code.
Let’s duke it out and see which plan comes out on top. Medicare Plan F vs Plan G: Which is Better?
What is the difference between Medicare Plan F and G?
As you’re probably aware, Original Medicare — that’s your Part A and Part B health insurance — has deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments that you pay out-of-pocket. Here’s a quick overview of these out-of-pocket costs:
- Medicare Part A Coinsurance & Hospital Costs
- Medicare Part A Skilled Nursing Facility Coinsurance
- Medicare Part A Deductible
- Medicare Part A Hospice Care Coinsurance or Copayment
- Medicare Part B Deductible (annual)
- Medicare Part B Coinsurance or Copayment
- Medicare Part B Excess Charges
- Blood (first 3 pints)
- Foreign Travel Emergency
Only Plan F covers all of these costs for you. This is why so many people, both insurance professionals, and policyholders alike, think Plan F is the best out of all ten Medigap policies.
Let’s face it, having first-dollar coverage offers complete peace of mind. In insurance terms, first-dollar coverage means that you don’t pay a dime out-of-pocket for any Medicare-approved service. That’s because a Medicare Plan F policy pays all deductibles and copays. This is where Medicare Plan G and Plan F differ.
What is Medicare Plan G?
A Medicare Supplement Plan G policy pays everything in the list above except item #5, the annual Medicare Part B deductible. With Medicare Plan G, you pay this $198 costs (2020 rate) out-of-pocket the first time you see your doctor each year. Once it’s paid, then Plan G acts just like a Plan F policy and covers all Medicare-approved costs. But here’s the thing, for many people Plan G is actually cheaper overall. That’s what makes it better.
Plan G Medicare Rates are Lower
You see, most savvy seniors have already figured out that Plan G Medicare premiums are lower than Plan F, and that cost difference adds up to more than the Part B deductible (in most areas). So, for these seniors, a Medigap Plan G policy is better than Plan F because they save money.
Here’s another thing that savvy seniors have figured out. On the surface, it may appear that all you’re saving is a few dollars over the amount of the Part B deductible, but it can add up to much, much more. You see, many healthy people without chronic health conditions that require regular doctor visits go years with nothing more than an annual checkup. Because preventative care visits are free (covered 100% by Medicare), many healthy seniors never pay the annual Part B deductible, so their Plan G policy keeps adding up the savings for them. That’s what makes Medicare Plan G the best for these people.
Not Everyone Qualifies for Medicare Plan F
Are you aware that Medicare Plan F (sometimes people call it Medicare Part F, but the actual name is Medigap Plan F) isn’t available to people who turned age 65 after 31 December 2019? It’s unfortunate but true. Congress put the kibosh on plans that cover the Part B deductible. I guess they want us to have more skin in the game, so to speak and think twice about seeing our doctor for minor things.
Going forward, for those of us turning age 65 after 2019, Medicare Supplement Plan G is better than Plan F because it’s the most coverage the government will let us get. But, don’t delay or you might not get a Plan G, either.
Medicare Plan G Guaranteed Issue
Hopefully, you are aware that you have a one-time open enrollment period when you can buy a Medicare Plan G policy and not be turned down because of pre-existing health conditions. Most people only get this opportunity once.
Your personal open enrollment window starts when you first enroll in Medicare Part B (the effective date of your coverage) and lasts for six months. Once this window of time has passed, you no longer have a guaranteed issue right, and insurance companies can ask you health questions. What that means is that an insurance company can and will put you through their medical underwriting process. And, if they don’t like what they see, they can turn you down, ask you to accept less coverage, or not cover your condition for a period of time.
If you want a Plan G policy, because you realize it is the best coverage you can get, don’t miss your chance to get it without having to go through medical underwriting. If your personal open enrollment period has passed, and you want Medigap Plan G coverage, you still have the chance to get it, but you must answer the medical questions on the application. Your insurance agent can guide you through this process.
Is Medicare Plan G Better than Plan F?
In the final analysis, it all comes down to your overall cost with these two policies. With the only difference being who pays the Part B deductible (you or your policy), this is an easy question to answer. Compare monthly rates between all carriers and see.
Ask us for your free Medigap Plan G rate analysis and see how much you can save.
What About The High Deductible Option?
Both Plan F and Plan G have a high-deductible plan option. If you are exceptionally healthy, and you expect that your health care costs will be minimal, and you can afford a significant out-of-pocket expense in the event that you are hospitalized and need inpatient care, then a high-deductible plan is an option you should discuss with your insurance agent.
As of 2021, the annual deductible for the high-deductible plans is $2,370. What this means is, you will pay 100% of all copays, coinsurance, and deductibles for all Medicare-covered services, up to the deductible amount, before your plan kicks in and begins paying its share.
So, let’s say you have doctor’s office visits, emergency room visits, and a brief inpatient stay, you’re paying 100 percent of those costs (the full 20 percent) until you’ve pulled $2,370 out of your pocket.
What About Medigap Plan N? How Does It Compare?
Plan N is an excellent option if you are healthy and can afford small shared costs. Plan G covers 100 percent of your Part B coinsurance or copays when you see your doctor. With Plan N, you pay a small copay, which is generally $20 or less. You also pay a copay ($50 or less) for emergency room visits. The other difference with Plan N vs. Plan G is that Plan N does not pay Excess Charges that some doctors charge (up to 15% over Medicare’s standard rates).
These coverage differences are what make Plan N a good option for healthy people. If you rarely see a doctor outside of your annual checkup, which is free, you’re not likely to pay Excess Charges or Plan N’s small copays.
What About Prescription Drug Coverage?
It’s important to remember that private insurance companies are not allowed to bundle extra features with their Medicare supplement insurance plans. This includes prescription drug coverage. For this, you need to get a stand-alone Medicare Part D plan.
This gets confusing because Medicare Advantage plans have all sorts of extra Medicare benefits that are not included in Original Medicare. That’s true, and partly why the federal Medicare program enacted Medicare Advantage into law in 2002. However, Original Medicare and Medigap policies remain unchanged. If a service is not covered by Medicare Part A or Medicare Part B, a Medigap plan can’t cover it, either.
What About Pre-Existing Conditions?
Unlike Medicare Advantage plans, Medicare supplement insurers can and will deny you coverage based on your pre-existing conditions. This may seem unbelievable in this day and age. After all, didn’t the Affordable Care Act outlaw discrimination based on pre-existing conditions? Yes, it did. But, Medicare supplement insurance plans are not health insurance. They are a form of indemnity insurance.
For this reason, if you have a pre-existing condition, it is critical that you buy a Medicare supplement as soon as you turn age 65. At that time you cannot be turned down because, by law, you have a guaranteed-issue right. They can’t even ask you questions about your pre-existing health condition or charge you higher premiums. But, once your guaranteed-issue period expires, you no longer have these protections, and insurers can and will turn you down.
Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, Your Plans Are Different
Unfortunately, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Wisconsin do not follow the standardized Medicare supplement plans set out by the Federal Government. Each of these states standardizes its plans off of base plan options with insurance riders for additional coverage.
Citations & References:
- How to compare Medigap policies | Medicare
- Costs of Medigap policies | Medicare
- Find a Medigap policy that works for you
- Home | State Health Insurance Assistance Programs
- F, G & J Deductible Announcements | CMS
- 2020 Medicare Parts A & B Premiums and Deductibles | CMS
- Trump Administration Announces Historically Low Premiums and New Insulin Bene…
- Need help or have questions regarding Medicare coverage and plans?
This article was written by David Bynon and was last updated on .