Medicare Plan F covers more expenses than any other supplement plans. It’s one of just two plans that pay for the Part B deductible. It also covers the Part B excess charge, a benefit that’s just as rare. Monthly premiums are typically higher than other plans, however. If Plan F has more coverage than you need, this might not be the plan for you.
New to Medicare?
The rules for who can enroll in Medigap plan F will change starting January 1, 2020. Skip ahead to find out if this update will affect you.
Medicare Plan F: Who is it for?
- People on a fixed income: When your deductibles and most cost-sharing expenses are covered, your out-of-pocket costs may be more predictable.
- International travelers: Plan F may cover most of your health care costs while traveling abroad.
- People expecting high health care costs: Plan F’s higher premiums may be worth it for those with a lot of medical expenses to cover.
John is 43, and he qualified for Medicare due to end-stage renal disease (ESRD). He’s choosing Plan F because he needs regular kidney dialysis, as well as physical therapy for an old shoulder injury. He has a wife and two teenage boys, so John needs fixed health care costs each month. Several times a year, he and his family visit his parents, who have retired to Mexico, and John sometimes receives care while out of the country.
What Medicare Plan F covers
Like other Medicare Supplement plans, Plan F covers Part A and Part B costs that you’d otherwise have to pay out of pocket. To learn what costs other parts of Medicare cover, read our Ultimate Medicare Guide.
Medicare Plan F coverage
|Service||Is it covered?|
|Part A coinsurance past 365 days||Yes|
|Part B coinsurance or copayment||Yes|
|Blood (first 3 pints)||Yes|
|Part A hospice coinsurance or copayment||Yes|
|Skilled nursing facility coinsurance||Yes|
|Part A deductible||Yes|
|Part B deductible||Yes|
|Part B excess charge||Yes|
|Foreign travel exchange||80%|
|Part B out-of-pocket limit||N/A|
Table created using information available at Medicare.gov as of 11/12/19.
Medicare Part B costs
Plan F is the only Medicare Supplement plan that covers Part B expenses such as copayments, excess charges, and the deductible. That means you could see a doctor with little to no money out of your own pocket.
Medicare Part A costs
Plan F also covers many Part A expenses, such as coinsurance for hospital stays, a skilled nursing facility, and hospice care. You’ll also have coverage for the first three pints of blood, should you ever need a transfusion. After that, Part A takes over to pay for additional blood.
Plan F also covers the Part A deductible, which resets with each new benefit period (typically when you’re admitted into the hospital the next time).
Original Medicare doesn’t pay for health care costs incurred abroad, but Plan F can cover up to 80% of those costs. When out of the country, you could pay as little as 20% for care.
What you need to know before enrolling
Medicare Plan F will have limited availability
Beginning in 2020, Plans F and C, which cover the Part B deductible, will no longer be available to people newly eligible to Medicare after January 1, 2020. If you became eligible for Medicare in 2019 or earlier, however, you can still enroll in Plan F in 2020 and beyond. Learn more about the elimination of Plan F for newly eligible enrollees—and whether you should slip in the door before it closes.
Plan F vs. Plan G
Plan F offers the most comprehensive Medigap coverage available, so it’s not a surprise that it’s the most popular plan nationwide. Lately, however, Plan G has been giving F a run for its money—especially since Plan F will soon be phased out. The only thing F covers that G doesn’t is the Part B deductible ($185 in 2019), but Plan G’s lower premiums may make up the difference.
High deductible Plan F
In addition to regular Plan F, some states also offer a high-deductible version. This plan covers everything a regular Plan F does, but in 2020, you’ll be responsible for paying the first $2340 (up from $2,300 in 2019) of costs out of your own pocket before coverage kicks in. In return, you could pay lower premiums each month.
Get Medigap Plan F
As the most popular Medicare Supplement plan, Plan F could be a logical choice for many Medicare recipients. If you want to apply for Plan F before it disappears for newly eligible enrollees in 2019, call a licensed insurance agent who can help you choose the right insurance company for your needs.
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When can I apply for Medigap Plan F?
While you can apply for a Medicare Supplement plan at any time, you may pay much higher Plan F premiums if you wait too long to sign up. During your one-time Medigap Open Enrollment Period, insurers can’t turn you down or make you wait for coverage due to preexisting conditions. Outside this period, all bets are off.
Is Medicare Supplement better than Medicare Advantage?
Medicare Supplement is an additional insurance policy you can buy to help cover costs that Original Medicare (Parts A and B) doesn’t. Medicare Advantage is a way to receive Part A and B, as well as additional benefits such as dental care, eye exams, and prescription drug coverage, all in one package.
Which is better depends on your situation.
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