If there's one thing we can all agree on it's that Medicare can be pretty complicated. It's certainly not something I could fully explain the next 300-400 words. But, I can help you make some sense out of one of the most important decisions you'll make in the Medicare decision making process - which Medicare supplement plan, or "medigap" should you choose. Basically once you've chosen to go the traditional Medicare route (over the Medicare Advantage option) you'll need to select a supplemental plan to cover the "gaps" or "holes" in Medicare parts A & B.
The Most Popular
There are several different options available lettered A-N, and they all cover different gaps and holes in Medicare. But, when it comes down to it the most popular plans are plans F and G. And, they're the most popular for a reason. They offer the most coverage with the fewest "what ifs". For example, you never have to wonder if you'll end up with a $10,000 bill for medical services over the limits of part B. They both cover those big question marks. So, most people narrow it down to one of these and ultimately most choose part F. Let's break them down and talk about why.
Plan F - The Simply Everything Plan
One of the biggest reasons a lot of people choose a plan F is that it's easy for an agent to sell and easy for them to understand.
Agent: "This one covers everything."
Agent: "Yes, everything."
And, it really is that simple. Any gap in coverage, including deductibles and overages are covered. In fact, you'll see that virtually every insurance company offers this plan. Even if they only offer one or two others, they'll offer a plan F. Because, it's popular and easy to sell.
Plan G - The "You Get What You Need" Plan
Let me cut to the chase. Here's the one thing Plan G doesn't cover - the Medicare Part B deductible. That costs $183 a year (in 2017, and generally increases each year) if it comes up. If you don't go to the doctor that much you may not spend that much, but it won't be anymore than that. So, it obviously costs less and isn't as easy to explain therefore it doesn't get sold as much. But, in many many cases it's the best plan.
What's Right For Me?
Let's focus on the math first. If you have a plan G you're responsible for UP TO $183 a year (in 2017), with a plan F you're responsible for $0. The different in cost is usually $25-30 dollars a month or $300-$360 a year. So with a plan G you save $300 (or more) a year, and only have UP TO $183 to spend. Or, if you buy a plan F you give the company $300 and ask them to cover a $183 bill, IF it comes up. Worst case the Plan G saves you between $117-$177, or more in some cases.
So, when is plan G not the best choice? Some people don't mind paying for the peace of mind of knowing that an insurance company is picking up the tab no matter what. And that's okay. For them the plan F is a great choice. No worries, just love life! Now, some people are looking for the most financially conservative way to do it. For them a plan G is the best choice. So find a good independent agent who can help you pick the right company (costs can be dramatic between two companies) and plan for you. That way you know you have an agent who's on your side and a plan that's working for you.