If you are becoming eligible for Medicare in 2000, there are two primary types of Medicare Supplement plans – or Medigap – which you should consider.
A Medicare Supplement Plan G provides the most coverage and gives you the maximum choice in health care providers.
With Plan G, you pay Medicare’s once-a-year Part B deductible which in 2020 is $198.
After you pay this $198 once during a calendar year, all of your Medicare-covered health services are paid 100 percent for the rest of the year.
You can go to any doctor or hospital anywhere in the country that accepts regular Medicare as almost all do.
A typical Plan G premium in most states is around $110-$120 per month but can be less or more depending on your gender, zip code, marital status and tobacco use.
I usually recommend Plan G for anyone going on Medicare.
The main reason I recommend Plan G the most often is because you can choose any doctor or hospital anywhere in the country without paying anything other than the first $198.
This means that if you ever have a serious health issue, you can go on the internet and search for the doctor or hospital that has the most experience and expertise in your specific condition and get treatment from that doctor or hospital as soon as possible. You can also seek help from your own doctor or other experts in finding the best place for you to receive medical care.
This gives you the best chance for the best health outcome possible.
Plan G gives you the best chance for the best health outcome if you ever have a serious health issue.
A Plan N Medicare Supplement is a reasonable alternative to Plan G in which you pay less every month in return for paying a little more out-of-pocket and potentially having less choice in terms of your doctors and hospitals.
Just like with Plan G, with Plan N, you pay Medicare’s once-a-year Part B deductible which in 2020 is $198.
However, there are three additional types of services for which you will pay out-of-pocket with Plan N for which you do not pay with Plan G.
First, with Plan N you pay a $20 co-pay when you go to the doctor. You pay this $20 regardless of whether the doctor is a primary care doctor or specialist.
Second, if you visit an emergency room and are not admitted as an in-patient, you pay a co-pay of $50. If you are admitted as an in-patient you do not pay the $50 co-pay.
Finally, and this is the most important.
Some medical providers charge an extra 15 percent for people with Medicare. This is called Medicare Part B excess.
While Plan G covers Medicare Part B Excess, with Plan N, you will be responsible for paying the extra 15 percent.
Why is this so important?
As you may expect, the medical providers who are the most in demand are the ones most likely to charge Medicare Part B Excess.
As an example, medical providers such as Mayo Clinic and M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and Cancer Treatment Centers of America charge Medicare Part B Excess.
With Plan N, the doctor or hospital that you determine has the most experience and expertise in your specific health situation may also be one for which you will have to pay 15 percent of the cost.
In this situation, you will have to choose between getting care from the doctor or hospital you believe gives you the best chance for the best health outcome and paying 15 percent of the cost yourself or receiving care from a doctor or hospital that does not charge Medicare Part B Excess.
While 15 percent of the cost of an office visit may not be significant, 15 percent of the cost of services such as MRIs, CT Scans or IV-based Chemotherapy can result in hundreds or even thousands of dollars in costs that you have to pay.
However, in most areas Plan N has a monthly premium of $15 to $30 less than Plan G.
Over a year’s time, this is a savings of $180 to $360 per year with Plan N compared to Plan G.
It is unlikely the total doctor visit and emergency room co-pays you will pay with Plan N will exceed the amount you save with the lower premiums of Plan N compared to Plan G.
The choice between Plan G and Plan N really comes down to one decision – are you willing to give up the maximum choice in doctors and hospitals you can have with Plan G, possibly at the expense of your ultimate health outcome, in order to save the several hundred dollars per year you may with Plan N.
As long as you fully understand the differences in cost and in choices of providers, there is no right or wrong decision when choosing between Plan G and Plan N.
I would appreciate the chance to help you understand your Medicare options so you can choose the right Medicare plan for you both now and in the future.
If you would like to discuss your Medicare options with Charles Bradshaw, simply click on the following link to schedule a free, no-obligation Medicare consultation with Charles Bradshaw
If you know of someone who needs help with their Medicare, please share this with them.
I look forward to talking with you soon.