Is Plan F Going Away?

Is Plan F Going Away?

The quick answer is “yes” for some but “no” for others.

Upcoming Changes to Plan F & Plan C

About once a decade, Medicare decides to make a change to the Medicare supplement plan offerings available to Medicare recipients. The most recent change involves the elimination of Medicare supplement Plan F and Plan C in 2020. But, contrary to many folks’ beliefs or concerns, these plans are not going away for everybody.

You might be asking yourself why Medicare would eliminate two of the most popular Medicare supplement plans available. As we all know, Medicare is experiencing increased financial strain from the growth in enrollment from the “Baby Boomer” generation and the ever-increasing cost of medical care. In an attempt to control costs by reducing claims, Congress decided it made sense to have Medicare recipients be responsible for more of their out-of-pocket medical expenses or what they often refer to as having Medicare recipients have more “skin in the game.”

It had long been argued without much substantiation that the “first dollar” coverage available from Plan F and Plan C cause Medicare recipients to see the doctor more frequently than they would if they didn’t have all deductibles covered and had to pay a little out-of-pocket when they go to see a doctor. While an actual cost-savings from this change couldn’t be calculated, it was often cited it would save Medicare billions of dollars each year in medical claim exposure.

While various politicians wanted there to be fairly substantial financial exposure for Medicare recipients, it was eventually decided to just do away with plans that offered full coverage of all deductibles (Plan F and Plan C) to ensure the Medicare beneficiary would have to pay a little out-of-pocket for their medical bills and might be discouraged from going in as frequently.

Others argued that causing the beneficiary to have “more skin in the game” could lead them to not seek treatment when they needed it, which could lead to advanced health conditions that are more difficult and costly to treat. This would be in direct contrast to the reason Medicare decided to cover more preventive benefits starting in 2006. Back then, Medicare felt it would save Medicare billions by allowing beneficiaries to be diagnosed early and treat any condition before it became too advanced and much more expensive to treat.

Beneficiaries That Will Be Able to Keep Plan F or C

The good news for people who join Medicare Part A prior to January 1, 2020, is that Medicare supplement Plan F and C will still be available to you. You will be able to continue to shop for and pick up or change companies for your Medicare supplement Plan F or C after this date (and plans will be available from companies) as long as you can qualify medically (or are in an Open Enrollment or Guaranteed Issue situation).

Beneficiaries That Will NOT Be Able to Keep Plan F or C

For people who join Medicare Part A on or after January 1, 2020, you will unfortunately not have the ability to purchase a Plan F or C. The most comprehensive plan available to you will be Medicare supplement Plan G. Plan G works identically to Medicare supplement Plan F with the only difference being Plan G not covering the Part B deductible. Outside of that one difference, they work the same. Also, in guaranteed issue situations, Medicare supplement plan G will be available with no medical underwriting requirements starting January 1, 2020.

So, if you own a Medicare supplement Plan F or C when January 1, 2020 comes around you don’t have to do anything as your coverage will still work; however, if you decide you do want to shop the market at that time to determine if you might be able to find a better rate for your coverage you can call (866) 894-3258 to speak with one of the friendly and knowledgeable agents at GoMedigap.


GoMedigap is one of the largest and most respected Medicare supplement insurance agencies in the country offering a free service to help Medicare recipients learn about Medicare supplements and how to shop for them from the nation’s top providers such as Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna, Mutual of Omaha and many others.

Comments

  1. Terri Casey says

    I am very confused as to what Medicare has to do with what level of policy coverage medigap policies offer to clients. The client pays a premium based on what level of coverage is desired and what they can afford. Therefore, clients that pay the higher premium are, in fact, covering the cost of their deductible and co-payment inclusive in their premium. Others, that chose a less comprehensive plan, pay their deductibles and co-payments themselves, therefore eliminating the medigap plan from paying for these charges. I am aware that Medicare does control the plans (bcdfg) insofar as making sure all medigap insurers provide the same coverage, at their own premium rate. So, i guess my question is….did Medicare go to the medigap plans and tell them it was their plan to eliminate these coverages in 2020 or did the insurance carriers go to medicare and ask that these speficic plans be eliminated? You can also refer me to the powers that be in medicare that make these decisions if you do not know the answer. Thank you for your time.

    • Madeline Struve says

      Thank you for your response. We’re sorry for any confusion and understand your frustration with this happening. Many people do not know that Medicare supplement plan offerings are regulated by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) which is part of the Social Security Administration. So, in this case, Congress instructed Medicare to eliminate these offerings and Medicare in turn notified the insurance companies that they would not be allowed to be sold to people aging in to Medicare Part A after 2019. We hope this answers your question and would be glad to answer any follow-up questions you may have.

  2. Faye says

    Thank you so much for making us aware of the changes to (C) & (F) & what they are trying to do to us. My husband will be eligible for Medicare in 2018. Knowing this we will certainly get a supplement plan (F) if they haven’t changed it again by then.

    • Madeline Struve says

      Hi there, Mr. Groves.

      We will reach out to you right away to better answer your question. If you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. Thanks!

  3. Bob Cawford says

    I have Plan F supplemental through Mutual of Omaha, premium is getting high, $660.00 every 3 months. I want to accept more responsibility and change plans to Plan G, buy paying the deductible and reducing my premium to a more reasonable cost. Will I have to go through the paperwork to be approved for this change? Bob

    • Madeline Struve says

      Hi Bob,

      Thank you for your question. It depends, but it is highly likely you will have to go through paperwork in order to switch. However, we can make that very simple for you. Give one of our agents a call at (866) 894-3258 to go over your situation. I have a hunch you’ve been with that particular policy for several years and feel confident there’s a good chance a GoMedigap agent can find you a Plan F at a much better rate and save you even more by switching to a plan G. It will only take a few minutes and I’m confident you’ll enjoy the conversation.

      Thanks again!

  4. Pam says

    I’m old enough in March 2017 so I can get plan F. My husband won’t be until January 2020 so he won’t be able to correct? We have Anthem GM retiree now, which will be 2ndary for me this year. Do I still need medigap insurance?

    • Madeline Struve says

      Hi Pam,

      This is a great question.

      When you turn 65 in March, you are eligible for any supplement policy. You can keep your retiree insurance as secondary. However, when it comes time for your husband to go on Medicare, there are some factors that your Medicare supplement insurance company will need to look at to determine if you would be guaranteed a supplement (the state, size of the company, etc.). There are a lot of factors that go into this, and if it doesn’t qualify as a “Guaranteed Issue” situation, then you would have to answer many medical questions to determine if you are still eligible for a Medicare supplement.

      Thus, in the long run, it would probably be safer to consider getting your Medicare supplement when you turn 65.

      At GoMedigap, we specialize in helping our clients find the best Medicare supplement policy for their specific needs and situation, at an affordable rate. We represent 30+ of the top Medicare supplement providers. Our agents provide unbiased, expert advice to educate and ensure our clients receive the best possible coverage and customer service. If you’d like to speak with one of our agents regarding your situation, please give us a call at (866) 894-3258. We look forward to speaking with you!

  5. Dave Smyth says

    1. Does this change apply only to the deductible or is the coverage of copays impacted also?

    Presently my wife and I both have “age issued” plan F policies. (My premium did not increase in 2017.) As the risk pool of Plan F shrinks and ages it seems likely premiums will increase so it might make sense to switch to plan G.

    But if we were to do this, it strikes me that we would lose the benefit of the age issued which we attained at age 62 and 64. and now be saddled with an issue age of 70 or more (Assuming we can even get an age issued policy) What would you advise?

    Finally, what is the impact if the insurance company carrying our Medigap policy were to cease business or stop issuing Plan F policies. Would we be able to obtain another Plan F without medical underwriting and what would happen as far as the age issued question?

    Thanks.

    • Madeline Struve says

      Hi Mr. Smyth,

      Great questions and understanding of the impact of risk pools. Kudos!

      You can keep your plan F until and even beyond 2020. My advice would be to do so if you’re happy with it and you feel like you’re not overpaying.

      However, I think you might be surprised at how little Issue-Age Rated plans make a difference in pricing when considering everything available (depending on your particular situation and the state in which you reside). Often times, you find Attained-Age policies that have better rates.

      I think you would be best served in speaking with one of our agents by calling (866) 894-3258. They’ll need to understand your situation a little better, and then they can help you explore your options.

      Lastly, you have protections in the event that the insurance carrier you’re with goes out of business. You would be Guaranteed Issue into a like or lesser plan from any other company. You can feel safe that this would be a hassle at worst.

      I hope this answered your questions. If we can help further please let us know. Have a great day!

  6. Pattie says

    Hi if I have plan F now and decide to switch to G in 2020 (based on various analysts suggesting F rates for grandfathered enrollees will grow faster/more due to shrinking pool) must I go thru u deterioration g to make the change? I’m healthy now and the annual premium savings of switching to G are greater than the uncovered B deductible. What am I missing?

      • Madeline Struve says

        Hi Pattie,

        That’s a great question. Yes, you will have to go through medical underwriting when you switch to Plan G. It would likely be smart to get onto a Plan G while you are healthy now, given that you understand the savings in premiums outweigh the deductible. We typically recommend Plan G to our clients, as many are able to save quite a bit of money due to the difference in premiums.

        At GoMedigap, our unbiased agents are highly skilled in assessing our clients’ specific situation and recommending the best Medicare Supplement for their coverage needs. If you’d like to speak with one directly, please give us a call at (866) 894-3258 for a brief phone conversation. I’m confident you’ll be glad you did.

        Have a great day!

Have a question? Feel free to ask!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *