I often hear the following from someone going Medicare who in the past has cared or currently is caring for a parent or other family member:
“My <mother, father, aunt> had a Plan F Medicare Supplement and it covered everything and that is what I want.”
I understand that point of view completely. There is no better frame of reference for what any us of can expect with our health in the future than what we have seen or see with our parents or other older loved ones.
With a Plan F Medicare Supplement, our older loved ones can go to any doctor or hospital anywhere in the country that accepts Medicare – as almost all do – and all of their costs are covered 100 percent.
My mother, who will be 98 in November, has a Plan F Medicare Supplement from AARP. When she had a full hip replacement a few years ago she did not have to pay one cent for any part of the procedure or rehabilitation. This included the three days she spent in the hospital and the six weeks she spent in a rehabilitation facility.
However, Congress passed a law in 2015 that makes a Plan F Medicare Supplement no longer the right choice for someone going on Medicare today.
The law Congress passed in 2015 begins to phase out Plan F Medicare Supplements beginning in 2020. Specifically, it says no one who becomes eligible for Medicare beginning on January 1, 2020 can enroll in a Plan F Medicare Supplement.
Anyone who currently has a Plan F Medicare Supplement at that time will be able to keep it. However, because younger people will not be able to join them in Plan F, the overall group of people who have Plan F Medicare Supplements will gradually become older and have a higher level of health issues than other Medicare Supplement plans.
For example, by 2025, everyone in a Plan F Medicare Supplement will be 70 years old or older. By 2030, everyone in a Plan F Medicare Supplement will be 75 years old or older.
By comparison, at both of these points in time other Medicare Supplements such as Plan G will have people who are 65 years old and older.
The younger overall mix in other Medicare Supplements such as Plan G will mean the average health care costs per person, and therefore monthly premiums, will be less in other Medicare Supplements than in Plan F.
This will cause premiums for people with Plan F to increase at a much higher rate in the future than other Medicare Supplement plans.
An excellent alternative to Plan F that will not increase in premiums as much because of the change in the law is Plan G. A Plan G Medicare Supplement provides the exact same coverage as Plan F except the policyholder pays Medicare’s once-a-year Part B deductible which is $185 in 2019.
Because Plan G’s premiums are usually at least $40 per month less than Plan F, the savings one receives in the lower monthly premium over 12 months with Plan G more than pays for the once-a-year $185 Part B deductible.
Very importantly, Plan G is the only Medicare Supplement other than Plan F that covers Medicare Part B Excess charges. Medicare Part B Excess charges are the up to 15 percent extra some medical providers charge for people with Medicare.
Because of this, I recommend Plan G instead of Plan F for anyone now going on Medicare. In addition, I strongly recommend anyone who currently has a Plan F Medicare Supplement who can switch to Plan G do so.
You do not have to wait until Medicare’s Annual Enrollment Period in October to change Medicare Supplements. You can change Medicare Supplements at any time during the year though if you have been on Medicare more than 6 months your ability to change will depend on your health situation.
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.
Simply click the following link to schedule a free, no-obligation 30-minute Medicare consultation.
I look forward to talking with you soon.
Charles Bradshaw is President and Founder of MedicareAnswerCenter.com.