Choosing the Right Medicare for Your Family and Lifestyle
Choosing the Right Medicare Plan for You
The original Medicare program has two parts, one to cover hospitalization and one for medical costs. Simple, right? But when it comes to choosing a Medicare Supplement plan to help with copays, coinsurance and deductibles, it seems as though there is an option for every letter of the alphabet. The best approach is to look at each part separately.
There is a wealth of information available on the topic of Medicare. First, we will look at the basic Medicare coverage, and then go over the differences between Plan F vs Plan G vs Plan N, and try to simplify the options.
Medicare is a federal government insurance program that covers people over 65 and those with disabilities. Of its four parts, the government pays for Part A, and you pay a premium for part B. If you choose to add parts C and D, you purchase those through private insurance carriers.
Medicare Part A
Hospitalization, hospice and skilled nursing facilities are covered by Medicare Part A, though each admission is subject to a Medicare deductible. After the deductible, it pays all remaining costs for the first 60 days. Between 61 and 90 days, you’ll have to pay coinsurance. That’s where a Medicare Supplement plan comes in to cover these out-of-pocket expenses.
Medicare Part B
Part B covers doctor visits, outpatient hospital procedures, preventive care and more. You must sign up for Medicare Part B to be eligible for the Supplemental Medicare plans. While Part A has no premiums because you’ve been paying into it through taxes, Part B has a monthly premium.
Medicare Part C
Part C, also known as Medicare Advantage, is purchased through private insurance companies. It covers everything Medicare does, plus optional additional benefits such as dental, vision and wellness programs. If you choose Medicare Advantage, you aren’t eligible for Medicare Supplements.
Medicare Part D Prescription Coverage
Private insurance companies also provide part D, which is prescription coverage. The costs will vary by provider, so you will want to do some shopping to get the best premium.
Medicare Supplement Defined
A Medicare Supplement, also known as Medigap coverage, is health insurance you can purchase to cover expenses that basic Medicare does not cover, including out of pocket costs such as copays, deductibles and coinsurance. You are not required to buy a supplement, but if you decide to get one, there are several options to choose from, which are defined below.
Medicare Supplements Plan F and G
The primary difference between Supplemental Plans F and G is that it depends on the year you became eligible for Medicare. Plan F was available to people who were eligible for Medicare before 2020. If you become eligible for Medicare in 2020, your options will be Plan G or Plan N.
Another difference is that Plan G requires you to pay the Medicare Part B deductible, which Plan F did not. After that, it covers your copays, deductibles, and coinsurance. So, after you meet the Part B deductible, you shouldn’t have any other out-of-pocket medical expenses for the rest of the year.
Medicare Supplement Plan N
Plan N has lower premiums than Plan F or Plan G, but you’ll have out-of-pocket expenses for copays, as well as the Medicare Part B deductible.
When you break it all down, Medicare is not as complicated as it sounds. Part A is hospitalization coverage for which you pay no premiums. Part B covers doctor visits, outpatient procedures, preventive care and wellness programs, and it has a small premium. Parts A and B are through the social security administration.
Part C, also called Medicare Advantage, is offered through private insurance companies and may include add-ons such as dental and vision coverage. As for supplements, Plan F is only available if you were eligible for Medicare before 2020. Plan G is for those who become eligible in 2020 and requires you to pay the part B deductible. Plan N has a lower premium, but you have copays in addition to the Part B deductible. It’s a lot to take in, that’s for sure. Fortunately, there are many resources available to help you sort through it and make the decision that’s right for you.