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

Comparing Medicare Supplement plans can be tricky, and at times overwhelming. If you’re looking for a Medicare Supplement plan that provides strong coverage, chances are that you’ve already heard about Medicare Supplement Plan F. Although lesser known now, Medicare Supplement Plan J was also once very popular because of the benefits it provided. Because both of these plans have had restrictions placed around who’s eligible, you may not need to spend too much time comparing them. But don’t worry- even if you’re not eligible for Medicare Supplement Plan F or Plan J, you still have other options for strong coverage.

What is Medicare Supplement Plan J?

Medicare Supplement Plan J used to be considered the plan that offered the highest level of coverage because it included preventative care ($120 per year), at-home recovery ($1600/year), and foreign travel benefits, as well as prescription drug coverage.

However, over the years Medicare made changes to include those benefits in its coverage. These changes made Plan J redundant, and in June of 2010, the Medicare Modernization Act was passed, preventing any new sales of Medicare Supplement Plan J. Anyone that has Plan J can keep their existing plan, but no one’s allowed to apply for coverage anymore.

What is Medicare Supplement Plan F?

Medicare Supplement Plan F is often referred to as the “full coverage plan” as it covers the remainder of the bill for services that Original Medicare covers, but doesn’t pay for in full. Because of the changes in Medicare’s coverage, Plan F essentially performs the same as Plan J.

Recent laws have restricted eligibility for Plan F, but not as severely as Plan J. You’re only eligible to apply for Plan F if you became eligible for Medicare before January 1st, 2020. * If you were eligible for Medicare before January 1st, 2020, you’ll be able to do the following in the future:

  • Keep your Plan F
  • Switch from your Plan F to a Plan F with a different carrier
  • Pick up a Plan F

Keep in mind that in addition to the Plan F eligibility requirements, the normal Medicare Supplement application rules and guidelines apply.

If you don’t become eligible for Medicare until January 1st, 2020, or later, you aren’t eligible to apply for Plan F. You aren’t out of luck, though; there are other Medicare Supplement plans with similar coverage available.

*If you’re not sure when you became eligible for Medicare, check the Part A start date on your Medicare card. As long your Part A started in 2019 or earlier, you can apply for Plan F.

What Costs Do Medicare Supplement Plan F and Plan J Cover?

Plan F and Plan J both work secondary to Original Medicare. Original Medicare refers to Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B, and they cover your inpatient and outpatient services. As long as Medicare pays first, Plan F and Plan J will cover the rest of the costs, leaving you to pay nothing out-of-pocket. For example, Plan F and Plan J cover:

  • Medicare Part A deductible ($1,408 in 2020)
  • Medicare Part B deductible ($198 in 2020)
  • Medicare Part A and B 20% coinsurance
  • Medicare Part A and Part B copays
  • Excess charges (up to an additional 15% of the Medicare-approved cost)
  • Skilled nursing facility care coinsurance
  • Part A hospice care coinsurance/copayment

If the Plans Perform Equally, Why Should I Switch to Medicare Supplement Plan F?

If you have Plan J, you may have been advised to switch to Plan F. The simple reason why is that while both plans offer essentially the same coverage, Plan F tends to be available at lower premiums than Plan J. If you have a Plan J and leave it, you won’t be able to return, but this shouldn’t deter you from reviewing your options. You’re under no obligation to cancel your Plan J, so you can look at quotes and even apply for Plan F without it impacting your coverage. If you’re accepted into Plan F for a lower premium, you can then choose to cancel your Plan J.

How Can I View Rates or Apply for Medicare Supplement Plan F?

You can view rates from top-ranked companies for Medicare Supplement Plan F with our online tool. When you’ve chosen the carrier that you prefer, you can submit your application online, all from the comfort of your home. Comparing rates in one easy place is convenient, and can give you the peace of mind that you’re not paying more than you need to for your insurance.

Medicare Supplement Plan F and Plan J both offer strong coverage, but if you have Plan J you may be overpaying. We understand that comparing plans and switching coverage can be confusing, so we’re here to help. If you need some guidance with your Medicare Supplement plan or have other Medicare questions, you can reach us at (877)896-4612.

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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