Medicare Supplement Plan F is generally regarded as the most comprehensive plan out of the 10 Medicare Supplement (Medigap) policies available in most states. Its extensive coverage makes this a popular plan for beneficiaries who want broader assistance with out-of-pocket costs in Original Medicare; however, this also means that premiums may be more expensive. Because Plan F covers most remaining hospital and doctor costs after Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) has paid its share, it’s possible for beneficiaries with this plan to not have any or minimal other hospital and medical expenses.
Medicare Supplement coverage is sold by private insurance companies, which aren’t required to offer all 10 of the Medigap plan types offered in most states. However, they must offer at least Plan A if they offer any Medigap policy, and must also offer Plan C or Plan F, if they offer any Medigap plans other than Plan A. Because of its popularity, many insurance companies offer Plan F. Plan availability varies by location, so always meet with an agent and review all of your options for coverage.
What benefits are covered under Medicare Supplement Plan F?
Plan F benefits, like other Medigap plans, are standardized in most states. This means that regardless of where you live or which insurance company you purchase from, you’ll get the exact same coverage for a Plan F sold anywhere in your state (note that there is also a high-deductible version of Plan F discussed below). However, keep in mind that even though benefits are the same, premiums for that coverage may vary.
Below is a list of costs and benefits covered by Medicare Supplement Plan F:
- Part A hospital and coinsurance costs up to an additional 356 days after Medicare benefits are exhausted
- Medicare Part A hospice care copayment or coinsurance
- Medicare Part B coinsurance
- Medicare Part B excess charges
- Medicare Part A deductible
- Medicare Part B deductible
- First three pints of blood used in an approved medical procedure (annually)
- Skilled nursing facility coinsurance
- Foreign travel emergency coverage (80%, up to plan limits)
Even though Medicare Supplement Plan F offers the broadest coverage of any of the 10 Medigap plans, it doesn’t cover all of the costs you may have in Original Medicare. For example, you’ll still need to keep paying your Medicare Part B premium payments each month. If you haven’t worked enough quarters to qualify for premium-free Medicare Part A (typically at least 10 years, or 40 quarters), you may owe a premium for Part A as well. Medicare Supplement Plan F doesn’t cover these out-of-pocket costs.
What are the costs associated with Plan F coverage?
Plan F costs will vary, depending on the county you live in so it is important to take time to meet with an agent who specializes in Medicare Supplements so you can understand your options.
For beneficiaries who don’t mind paying for out-of-pocket costs up front, there is also a high deductible Plan F option. This is a variation on the standard Plan F that requires beneficiaries to pay all out-of-pocket expenses up to the deductible, which is $2,180 in 2016. After meeting the deductible, the plan begins to pay for Medicare-covered costs.
Keep in mind that the high-deductible Plan F option doesn’t vary from the standard Plan F when it comes to covered benefits. Instead, the high-deductible Plan F may have lower premium costs than the standard Plan F; this is offset by the fact that your out-of-pocket costs may be higher until you’ve reached the deductible, and coverage kicks in.
As a Medicare beneficiary, you may be able to find other Medigap plans with lower premiums. However, if you see the doctor frequently, require a lot of health-care services, or are facing mounting out-of-pocket expenses, the comprehensive coverage of Plan F generally offers the most help with your Original Medicare costs.
If you would like more information or wish to schedule an in home appointment please call Stephen or Carla Fowler at 205-417-5027. We will come and explain all your options regarding Medicare Supplement plans.