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

Are you considering purchasing a Medicare Supplement insurance plan? If you are, it’s important that you consider all of your options to ensure you pick the plan that will best suit your healthcare needs.

Currently, there are 10 different Medicare Supplement plans sold across most states (excluding Massachusetts, Minnesota and Wisconsin). Of those plans, Medicare Supplement Plan G and Plan N are two of the more popular plans.

When choosing between Plan G and Plan N, it is important that you understand what each plan covers (and doesn’t cover) to ensure you understand your responsibilities in regard to your out-of-pocket medical expenses.

Medicare Supplement Plan G

Medicare Supplement Plan G is slowly becoming a more popular Medicare Supplement plan, because it offers the second most coverage out of all the plans (second to Plan F, which is going away in 2020).

Plan G covers the following medical expenses:

  • Medicare Part A coinsurance and hospital costs
  • Medicare Part B coinsurance or copayment
  • Blood (first 3 pints)
  • Part A hospice care coinsurance or copayment
  • Skilled nursing facility care coinsurance
  • Medicare Part A deductible
  • Medicare Part B excess charges
  • Foreign travel emergency (up to plan limits)

The one thing that Plan G does not cover is the Part B deductible, which is $185 in 2019. Once that deductible is met, you essentially have full coverage on Medicare-approved expenses.

Medicare Supplement Plan N

Though Plan G is typically a more popular option, Plan N comes pretty close. Medicare Supplement Plan N is typically a less expensive plan, because it offers less coverage than Plan G. However, it is still fairly popular given that it still offers a good amount of coverage. Plan N offers a good balance between protection against extreme out-of-pocket expenses and affordable premiums.

Plan N covers the following medical expenses:

  • Medicare Part A coinsurance and hospital costs
  • Medicare Part B coinsurance and copayment (except $20 for some office visits and $50 for emergency room visits)
  • Blood (first 3 pints)
  • Part A hospice care coinsurance or copayment
  • Skilled nursing facility coinsurance
  • Medicare Part A deductible
  • Foreign travel emergency (up to plan limits)

One thing to keep in mind that, with Plan N, you will be responsible for all Part B excess charges. This means that, if you see a provider that doesn’t participate in Medicare, this doctor can charge up to 15% more than the standard Medicare rate. You will be responsible for paying this out-of-pocket if you have a Plan N.

Which Plan Is Best for You?

When choosing your coverage, it is important to think long-term. Why?

Well, after your one-time Open Enrollment Period, you’ll be subject to medical underwriting if you want to switch to a different plan. In this case, the insurance company reserves the right to refuse coverage or charge higher premiums for your plan.

So, when deciding between Plan G and Plan N, you really have 2 things to consider:

  • Are you okay with paying a higher premium for more comprehensive coverage? If your answer is yes, then a Plan G may be the option for you.
  • Or, would you rather pay less for your premium and potentially pay more out-of-pocket for your medical expenses? If that’s the case, then Plan N may be the option for you.

When considering these 2 questions, it’s crucial that you take your health into consideration. Your current health status will help inform how frequently you’ll likely be visiting the doctor each year.

If you’re fairly healthy with minimal doctor visits, Plan N may work for you. If you visit the doctor frequently, Plan G may be your best bet.

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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