How to choose a Medicare supplement plan

If you’ve made the decision that you’d like to go with a supplement plan to help fill in the gaps in Medicare rather than a benefits plan, how can you narrow down your options to get the plan that best fits your needs? Here is some information that may help.

There are ten basic supplement plans you can choose from with letters A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M, and N. Get a plan F or C, you must be eligible for Medicare before January 1, 2020. Plan G has the same benefits as Plan F, except that you have to pay the annual Part B deductible of $203. Plan G also has the same benefits as Plan C, except that you must pay the excess Part B fee (up to 15% more for non-Schedule Medicare physicians). All supplement plans are standardized, which means they have all the same basic medical benefits regardless of carrier. Some F and G plans have additional benefits added, such as vision and hearing, and some F and G plans have a high-deductible version of the plan. What differs between these plans is the premium. Each company charges a different price for each plan. The price is determined by how old you will be on the effective date of the plan and the location in which you live.

Another factor that affects the cost is the type of plan you choose. Plans with greater benefits will cost more than a plan with lower benefits. Plan F will be the most expensive with the most benefits, followed by G and C plans, then D, A and B plans. Low-cost plans like K and L have an out-of-pocket limit that you must meet before the plan pays 100% of the costs. Plan M pays only 50% of the Part A deductible, and Plan N has co-payments for office visits and emergency rooms. Some companies offer introductory first-year discounts of up to $30 of your monthly premium, as well as home rebates of up to 5 to 7% for family members with the same plan.

If you decide that you can live without some benefits and pay the personal costs yourself, you can save on upfront premium costs if you decide to use a low-level supplemental plan. All plans will give you one of the most desirable benefits of all, however, which is the freedom to go to any doctor who takes Medicare without referrals to see specialists, anywhere in the United States. Most people choose a supplement plan for this reason, because they don’t have to worry about networking and referrals when choosing a healthcare provider.

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