Choosing Between Medigap Plan F vs. Plan B
What's the difference between Medigap Plan F and Plan B?
Plan F is the only plan that covers all nine standardized benefit areas, while Plan B covers five of them. Whether you need all of the benefits of Plan F depends on your circumstances and your budget.
Important: Plan F and Plan C are not available to beneficiaries who became eligible for Medicare on or after January 1, 2020.
Understanding Medigap Benefits
There are nine benefit areas a Medigap plan (also called Medicare Supplement Insurance) may cover. All Medigap plans must provide at least partial coverage for four of them:
Part A hospital care coinsurance and hospital costs
Part A hospice care coinsurance or copayment
Part B coinsurance or copayment
First 3 pints of blood
The plans may cover — either partially or in full — some, all or none of the five additional benefits.
Plan F Coverage
Medigap Plan F offers all nine basic benefits available to Medigap insurance plans. 55% of Medicare beneficiaries that were enrolled in a Medigap plan had Plan F.1
Plan F's popularity may be due to the fact that it is the most comprehensive type of Medigap policy.
In addition to the four basic Medigap benefits, Plan F also covers:
Medicare Part A deductible
Medicare Part B deductible
Medicare Part B excess charges
Skilled nursing care
Foreign travel emergency care
Plan F may be more expensive than other plans. When deciding which Medigap plan benefits you the most, it's important to consider the monthly premiums and the type of health care services you require.
Plan F is no longer available for sale to new Medicare beneficiaries who became eligible for Medicare on or after January 1, 2020. If you were already eligible for Medicare before that date, you may still be able to buy Plan F if it is available where you live.
If you already had Medigap Plan F before Jan. 1, 2020, you can keep your plan as long as you continue to pay your plan premiums on time.
Plan B Coverage
Medigap Plan B coverage includes full coverage for the four basic Medigap benefits, plus the Medicare Part A deductible.
In 2022, the Medicare Part A deductible is $1,556 per benefit period.
If you don't mind paying your Medicare Part B deductible ($233 in 2022) out of pocket — or don't think you'll need help paying for skilled nursing care, Part B excess charges or emergency medical care abroad — Medigap Plan B might be an attractive, more affordable option.
But if you enjoy the peace of mind of having "first-dollar" coverage for your health care expenses — and want coverage for every Medigap benefit area — Plan F may be the plan for you, if you're qualified to apply for it.
A licensed insurance agent can help you compare Medigap plans available where you live. Call to speak with a licensed agent today, or compare plans online for free with no obligation to enroll.
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1 AHIP. State of Medigap 2019 Trends in Enrollment and Demographics. (May, 2019). Retrieved from www.ahip.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/IB_StateofMedigap2019.pdf.
Christian Worstell is a health care and policy writer for MedicareSupplement.com. He has written hundreds of articles helping people better understand their Medicare coverage options.