Over the last couple of years, Medicare beneficiaries have heard a lot of debate around Medicare supplements Plan F and Plan G. Both offer excellent healthcare coverage and significantly reduce your out-of-pocket medical expenses. So which is the better option? If you’re enrolling in Medicare for the first time, how do you decide which to choose? Who wins the battle between Plan F vs. Plan G?
Let’s compare these Medicare supplement plans so you can decide which is the better plan for you.
What are Medicare supplement plans?
Medicare supplements are also called Medigap plans. They are designed to “supplement” your coverage with Original Medicare (Parts A and B) by filling in the “gaps” in coverage. Medicare Parts A and B offer excellent benefits but also have deductibles, copays, and coinsurance amounts. Medigap policies can help with these health care costs.
Medicare supplement insurance plans do not change from one year to the next. The benefits found in each plan also remain the same across all insurance carriers. No matter who you purchase a Medigap policy from, the only difference you may see is the premium. This is why you should always shop around for Medigap plans!
The two plans that offer the most comprehensive coverage are Medigap Plan F and Medigap Plan G.
What is the difference between Plan F and Plan G?
First, let’s talk about what these plans have in common.
Both of these plans will cover the Part A deductible and coinsurance costs. The Part A deductible is $1556 in 2022 and is based on a benefit period, which could occur multiple times in one year. Plus, you’ll have coinsurance expenses each day you spend as an inpatient in a hospital, and those benefits will be exhausted after 90 days (plus 60 lifetime reserve days). Both Plans F and G will pick up all those expenses and give you an additional 365 days of inpatient coverage.
Plans F and G will also pay for your Part B coinsurance or copay expenses, any Part B excess charges, and the first three pints of blood during a transfusion. In addition, they both offer foreign travel exchange benefits up to a set maximum.
The difference lies in the Part B deductible. In 2022, that deductible is set at $233 per year. Plan F will pay that deductible for you, but Plan G will not. As far as coverage goes, that is the only difference between Medicare supplement Plan F and Medicare supplement Plan G.
The second difference between the two plans is the eligibility requirements. You may only enroll in Plan F if you turned 65 before January 1, 2020. Newly eligible Medicare enrollees cannot enroll in Plan F.
The third difference, and probably the most noticeable, is the monthly premiums. Premiums for a Medigap plan depend on a few things: your location, age, pricing method, tobacco usage, and which insurance company you choose to enroll with. On top of those things, your premium will be higher if you have more benefits. Since Plan F has more coverage than Plan G, it generally has higher premiums.
Should I switch from Medicare supplement Plan F to Plan G?
Both of these plans offer excellent benefits and leave you with very little out-of-pocket costs. If you are currently enrolled in Plan F, you may want to consider switching to Plan G because you might save money.
When we look at current premiums for both plans, the lesser premiums of Plan G often add up to the cost of the Part B deductible. (In many cases, the cost savings is even more than the $233 deductible.) So whether you are currently enrolled in Plan F or are getting ready to enroll and eligible for both plans, you may want to consider Plan G.
If you want to switch Medigap policies, regardless of which plan, you may need to pass medical underwriting first. You’ll answer health questions so the insurance carrier can decide if you are a risk for generating more medical expenses. You will always be granted the Medigap plan of your choosing during your initial enrollment but may not have guaranteed rights after that. Each state has its own rules about this process. Some offer year-round guaranteed issue rights, while others allow them once a year. If you don’t live in one of those states, you can still switch plans if you pass underwriting.
If you’re thinking about switching from Plan F to Plan G, this could be another factor in your decision. It may be wise to make the switch sooner rather than later when you could develop medical conditions that disqualify you from changing plans.
How do I choose between Plan F and Plan G?
When comparing Medicare Plan G vs. Plan F, you’ll need to consider coverage vs. cost. Look at the monthly premium and see if the additional cost of Plan F is less than $233. If it’s about the same or more, you may want to choose Plan G instead.
Like we’ve said, both of these plans are going to provide you with excellent coverage and benefits. There is no “wrong” decision! If you need help deciding, work with a licensed insurance agent. They can help you compare the plans and look at premiums across many private insurance companies.