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Medicare Supplement Plan N vs. Plan F: What Is the Difference?

If you’re wondering which Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan is right for you, you aren’t alone. Medicare Supplement Plan F and Plan N are two of the most popular plans, favored because of the overall strong protection that they provide. Comparing Plan F to Plan N is relatively simple, as there are only three differences in coverage.

What are the Benefits of Medicare Supplement Plan F and Plan N?

One of the most important factors to consider when comparing Plan F to Plan N is the difference in coverage that they offer. Simply put, Medicare Supplement Plan F offers more protection than Medicare Supplement Plan N.

What Does Medicare Supplement Plan F Cover?

Medicare Supplement Plan F is often referred to as the “full coverage plan” because after Original Medicare pays its portion of your medical bill, Plan F pays the rest. People that choose this plan take ease knowing that as long as they follow Medicare’s guidelines, they won’t have any out-of-pocket bills for their medical services. For instance, Plan F covers:

  • The Medicare Part A deductible ($1,408 in 2020)
  • The Medicare Part B deductible ($198 in 2020)
  • Medicare Part A and B coinsurance and copayments
  • Excess charges
  • Foreign travel emergency services

Plan F’s coverage can make tracking monthly expenses more manageable if you need to stick to a budget, or if you like to know what to expect. On the other hand, because Plan F offers such extensive coverage, you’ll most likely have to pay a higher premium for it compared to other plans.  It’s important to note that if you didn’t become eligible for Medicare before January 1st, 2020, you can’t apply for Plan F.

What Does Medicare Supplement Plan N Cover?

Medicare Supplement Plan N’s coverage is very similar to Plan F’s, and you can use your Plan N anywhere that you can use your Plan F. While Plan N’s coverage includes most of the same benefits as Plan F, there are three gaps that could leave you paying out-of-pocket. 

The three costs that Plan N doesn’t cover (that Plan F does) are:

  • Copayments: These can be up to $20 for some office visits, or $50 for emergency room visits. The emergency room copayment is only charged if you aren’t admitted to the hospital as an inpatient.
  • Part B deductible: This is the amount you must pay for your outpatient services before Medicare pays. For 2020, the Part B deductible amount is $198.
  • Excess Charges: Some doctors may choose not to accept assignment, which is the amount that Medicare agrees to pay for a service. If the doctor doesn’t take assignment, they can charge an excess charge that may be up to an additional 15% of the assignment amount, which you’d have to pay for out-of-pocket with Plan N. Many doctors don’t charge excess charges, and they aren’t allowed in the states of CO, MA, MN, NY, OH, PA, RI, and VT.

Because Plan N offers less coverage than Plan F, its premiums are typically lower than that of Plan F’s. However, if you see the doctor frequently, the costs of the copays can add up. With the out-of-pocket costs of Plan N, you could wind up paying more in total than if you had Plan F.

Which Plan Is Better?

One of the most common questions we get from our clients is “What’s the best Medicare Supplement plan?” when what they should be asking is “What’s the best Medicare Supplement plan for me?” It’s essential to consider your circumstances. We encourage our clients to consider the following points when deciding between Medigap Plan F vs Plan N.

  • Premiums: Premiums for plans can vary depending on factors such as your age, gender, zip code, tobacco use, and the carrier offering the plan. Are the savings on Plan N great enough to take on the extra risk of out-of-pocket costs?
  • Your health: If you don’t need to see the doctor often, you could save money with the Plan N. However, if you find yourself going to the doctor frequently, you may not save enough money in premiums to make up for what you’ll pay in copays.
  • The future: If you’d like to change your plan in the future, you’ll most likely have to undergo medical underwriting. Medical underwriting is the process that insurance carriers use to determine who they’ll accept, and you can be declined based on your health. Most states allow this process, and it could mean that you would not be able to change your plan.

While differences between Medicare Supplement Plan F and Plan N are simple, it can be hard to make a decision without doing a cost comparison first. You can use our helpful online tool to view rates for Plan F and Plan N so that you can make an informed decision on your coverage. Once you’ve chosen your plan, you can even submit an application to the carrier of your choosing, all from the comfort of your own home.

Nothing on this website should ever be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. You should always consult with your medical provider regarding diagnosis or treatment for a health condition, including decisions about the correct medication for your condition, as well as prior to undertaking any specific exercise or dietary routine.

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