Medicare Supplement Plan F – Everybody’s Doing It, But Should You?

Medicare Supplement Plan F is the most popular Medicare Supplement plan in most areas of the country. Most insurance companies that do the supplement plans and agents place an emphasis on Plan F. However, is it always the best option for you? We’ve listed a few guidelines below to assist in making this determination:

  1. How does the premium compare with lower-tier plans, such as ‘D’ and ‘G’? Plan F is usually the higher-priced of Medicare Supplement plans (with the exception of Plan J). With the lower-tier plans, you can sometimes save as much as $20-30/month, which may not sound like much when looked at on a monthly basis, but can add up to very significant savings over the course of a year.
  2. Can you stand a few small out of pocket costs (such as the $135/year Medicare Part B deductible) in exchange for lower premiums? These lower-tier plans, like D and G specifically, do not cover the Medicare Part B deductible of $135/year (for 2009). What this means is that the first $135 that is charged to you per year for Medicare Part B charges (physicans’ fees and services) will be your responsibility. A simple math calculation should assist you in deciding if your premium savings on the lower plans would offset this $135/year charge. Obviously, if you are saving $20/month on your premiums, you would come out better financially over the course of a year by taking one of the lower-tier plans.
  3. Do doctors/hospitals in your area accept Medicare “assignment”? Plan F is one of only three standardized Medigap plans that offers full coverage of the Part B excess charges. Part B excess charges occur when a doctor or physician does NOT accept Medicare “assignment” (or, the amount that Medicare pays for certain services and procedures). In most areas, however, doctors and physicians do accept assignment and are paid strictly according to Medicare’s schedule of fees for procedures and services. If the doctors or physicians in your area, or more specifically the ones that you would be using, DO accept assignment, this benefit should not carry much weight in your decision.