One Medicare Supplement option that can be a good choice for some people is a Plan N Medicare Supplement.
With a Plan N Medicare Supplement, the person on Medicare pays a lower monthly premium in return for paying Medicare’s Part B annual deductible as well as some co-pays and other costs throughout the year.
A Plan N Medicare Supplement is typically around $15 to $20 per month less than the Plan G Medicare Supplement I usually recommend.
In return for the lower monthly premium, the Medicare member pays the following out-of-pocket costs:
1) Medicare’s annual, once-a-year Part B deductible which in 2019 is $185. The policyholder also pays this deductible with Plan G.
2) A $20 co-pay for a doctor visit for either a primary care doctor or a specialist. The policyholder would not pay this co-pay with Plan G.
3) A $50 co-pay for an Emergency Room visit that does not lead to a hospital in-patient stay. The policyholder would not pay this co-pay with Plan G.
4) A potential 15 percent surcharge on Medicare Part B costs when the policyholder uses a medical provider that has opted out of Medicare’s regular fee structure so they can charge an extra 15 percent for Medicare patients. This extra 15 percent is called Medicare Part B Excess.
Category #4 is the real drawback when considering a Plan N Medicare Supplement. A Plan G Medicare Supplement pays the Medicare Part B Excess while Plan N does not.
As you probably can guess, the doctors and medical facilities that charge Medicare Part B Excess tend to be ones in high demand. Mayo Clinic is an example of a medical provider that charges Medicare Part B Excess.
This means if you ever have a serious health issue and want to make sure you are receiving care from the best doctor for your condition, you may have to choose between the doctor you think is best but for whom you will pay an extra 15 percent out of your pocket or a doctor who does not charge the Medicare Part B Excess.
While 15 percent of the cost of a doctor visit may not seem like a significant cost, keep in mind this can apply to expensive medical procedures and treatments such as MRIs and chemotherapy. In these cases 15 percent of the cost can be significant and can be hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
I prefer Plan G because I want you to be able to receive care from whatever health care provider you believe is right for you without worrying about the costs.
However, paying a lower monthly premium is necessary for many people and choosing a Plan N Medicare Supplement is a much better option than leaving Medicare and enrolling in a for-profit, private Medicare Advantage plan where your access to care is limited and costs can be much higher.
At Medicare Answer Center we appreciate the privilege of assisting you with learning about your Medicare options so you can make the right permanent Medicare decision.
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I look forward to talking with you soon.
Charles Bradshaw is President and Founder of MedicareAnswerCenter.com.