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Medicare Plan F vs. Plan G: What’s the Difference?

Medicare Plan F and Plan G can help you save money on your Medicare costs. However, as of January 1, 2020, not everyone is eligible for both plans, and you need to understand the new requirements.

Lisa Eramo

by Lisa Eramo | Published March 24, 2021 | Reviewed by John Krahnert

Medicare Parts A and B (otherwise known as Original Medicare) pay for a variety of the healthcare services you may need, but they don’t cover everything and can leave you with some out-of-pocket costs. That’s where Medicare Supplement plans (also called Medigap) come in.

These plans fill in some of the “gaps” of your Original Medicare benefits and can help you save money in the long run by paying for certain Medicare deductibles, copays, coinsurance and other costs.

This article will explain the two most popular types of Medicare supplemental plans: Medicare Plan F and Medicare Plan G.

What Is the Difference Between Medicare Plan F And Plan G?

Medicare Plan F and Plan G are two of the 10 different types of standardized Medicare supplemental health insurance plans available in most states. You pay a premium for both types of plans, but both plans help pay for out-of-pocket expenses that Original Medicare doesn’t cover. 

The following chart provides a side-by-side look at all 10 standardized Medigap plans.

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Medicare Supplement Benefits

Part A coinsurance and hospital coverage

Part B coinsurance or copayment

Part A hospice care coinsurance or copayment

First 3 pints of blood

Skilled nursing facility coinsurance

Part A deductible

Part B deductible

Part B excess charges

Foreign travel emergency

A B C* D F1* G1 K2 L3 M N4
50% 75%
50% 75%
50% 75%
50% 75%
50% 75% 50%
80% 80% 80% 80% 80% 80%

* Plan F and Plan C are not available to Medicare beneficiaries who became eligible for Medicare on or after January 1, 2020. If you became eligible for Medicare before 2020, you may still be able to enroll in Plan F or Plan C as long as they are available in your area.

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1 Plans F and G offer high-deductible plans that each have an annual deductible of $2,370 in 2021. Once the annual deductible is met, the plan pays 100% of covered services for the rest of the year. The high-deductible Plan F is not available to new beneficiaries who became eligible for Medicare on or after January 1, 2020.

2 Plan K has an out-of-pocket yearly limit of $6,220 in 2021. After you pay the out-of-pocket yearly limit and yearly Part B deductible, it pays 100% of covered services for the rest of the calendar year.

3 Plan L has an out-of-pocket yearly limit of $3,110 in 2021. After you pay the out-of-pocket yearly limit and yearly Part B deductible, it pays 100% of covered services for the rest of the calendar year.

4 Plan N pays 100% of the Part B coinsurance, except for a copayment of up to $20 for some office visits and up to $50 copayment for emergency room visits that don’t result in an inpatient admission.

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Learn about Medigap Plan F and Plan G in your state.

More specifically, Medicare Plan G and Medicare Plan F cover:

  • Part A coinsurance and hospital costs
  • Part B coinsurance or copayments
  • First three pints of blood (for surgeries that require blood transfusions)
  • Part A hospice care coinsurance
  • Skilled nursing facility care coinsurance
  • Medicare Part A deductible
  • Up to 80% of the cost of medically necessary care while you’re traveling in a foreign country

One major difference is that Medigap Plan G does not cover the Medicare Part B deductible, which Medigap Plan F does cover. In 2021, the Part B deductible amount is $203 per year.

For example: You recently injured your arm and go to the doctor for an exam and in-office X-ray. If you have Medicare Plan F and you haven’t yet met your Medicare Part B deductible, it would cover the $203 deductible plus the 20% of the Medicare-approved coinsurance amount.

If you have Medicare Plan G, you’ll need to pay the $203 Medicare Part B deductible first. Then your Medicare Supplement plan would cover the 20% coinsurance.

Another big difference between Medicare Plan F and Plan G is who is eligible to enroll. Both plans require you to first have Original Medicare, but the enrollment guidelines for Plan F changed at the beginning of 2020.

If you first became eligible for Medicare on or after January 1, 2020, you cannot enroll in Medicare Plan F. The good news is that you may still be able to apply if you were eligible for Medicare before this date and if Plan F is offered where you live. In addition, if you have already enrolled in Plan F before January 1, 2020, you’ll be able to keep it. 

You can apply for Plan G regardless of whether you first became eligible for Medicare before or after 2020.

Another big difference between Medicare Plan F and Plan G is who is eligible to enroll. Both plans require you to first have Original Medicare, but the enrollment guidelines for Plan F changed at the beginning of 2020. 

If you first became eligible for Medicare on or after January 1, 2020, you cannot enroll in Medicare Plan F. The good news is that you may still be able to apply if you were eligible for Medicare before this date and if Plan F is offered where you live. In addition, if you have already enrolled in Plan F before January 1, 2020, you’ll be able to keep it.

You can apply for Plan G regardless of whether you first became eligible for Medicare before or after 2020.

Why Is Medicare Plan F Being Discontinued?

New legislation no longer allows Medicare Supplement plans to cover the Medicare Part B deductible. That’s because one goal of this legislation was to cut down on potentially unnecessary doctor’s visits and thereby reduce healthcare spending.

This means that as of January 1, 2020, Medigap plans that included Medicare Part B deductible coverage can no longer be sold to new Medicare beneficiaries. 

Is Medicare Plan G Better Than Plan F?

Neither plan is necessarily better than the other. It all depends on your specific healthcare needs, your budget, and the cost of premiums in your area.

If Plan G is available where you live and the annual difference in premium costs between Plan G and a more expensive Plan F option is greater than $203, you could save money by having Plan G if you meet your Part B deductible that year. 

If you first became eligible for Medicare after January 1, 2020, Plan G covers more out-of-pocket Medicare costs than any other type of Medigap plan that may be available to you.

Should I Switch From Medicare Plan F To Plan G?

Before switching Medigap plans, you may want to consider the cost of premiums for Medicare Plan F vs. Plan G as well as how often you anticipate using your health insurance. That will help you find the best Medigap plan based on your needs.

First, ask yourself this question: Will the Medicare Plan G I’m considering save me more than $203 a year in premiums? If so, then it might make sense to go with a Medicare Part G plan. 

Another reason you might consider switching Medigap plans might be if you rarely go to the doctor and don’t take any medications. Switching to a Medicare Plan G might be a good idea because you’ll pay lower premiums, and you might also never pay the $203 Medicare Part B deductible.

When deciding between Medigap Plan G vs. Plan F, it may help to discuss your options with a licensed health insurance agent.

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Compare Medigap Plans 2021

See how the 10 Medigap plans differ. Review our chart for a detailed comparison of Medicare Supplement insurance benefits and compare Medigap options where you live. Read more
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