In the face of rising healthcare costs, you may be considering buying additional insurance to pay for what Medicare doesn't cover. Medicare supplement insurance, also known as Medigap insurance, is a type of private health insurance that steps in to pay some of those costs. Medigap plans are similar to Medicare Advantage plans in that both are private insurance plans that add to the coverage that Original Medicare offers. However, a key difference is that Medicare Advantage includes Original Medicare, while Medigap plans do not.
Here are seven reasons Medigap Plan F could be a good fit for you and why you might want to consider this option for expanding your healthcare coverage in retirement.
1. You Were at Least 65 as of January 1, 2020
If you don't meet this requirement, you won't qualify to purchase Plan F. That's because sales of the plan have been discontinued for newly eligible Medicare consumers. If you were old enough to be eligible for Medicare by January 2020 but have not yet enrolled, you may still be able to buy a Plan F supplemental policy.
2. You Want Comprehensive Coverage
Medigap Plan F covers nearly all of your Medicare Part A and Part B coinsurance, co-payments and deductibles. Medicare Part A pays for inpatient hospital care and some short-term skilled nursing facility care, hospice care and home health care. Part B pays for physician services, outpatient hospital services, some home health services and durable medical equipment. With Medigap Plan F, you'll have no out-of-pocket costs for those services.
Plan F is one of only two Medigap plans, along with Plan C, that pays the Medicare Part B deductible. It's also one of only two plans (the other is Plan G) that cover the Medicare Part B excess charge. That's the extra amount — which can be up to 15% of the Medicare-approved charge — that a doctor who doesn't accept Medicare can add to your bill.
3. You Want Low Medigap Premiums
Medicare supplemental Plan F could be a viable option if you're in a position to pay a higher deductible — the cost you'll have to cover yourself before the benefits of the plan kick in — in order to lower your supplemental plan's monthly premiums. In certain states, you can purchase a high-deductible version of Medigap Plan F with premiums that are significantly less expensive than the cost of the regular version.
4. You Need Frequent Doctor Visits
Maybe you already have one or more health conditions that require frequent medical care for management or treatment, or you'd just like to be prepared for future needs. Since Medicare supplemental Plan F pays 100% of your Medicare Part B coinsurance or co-payment, you won't have any out-of-pocket costs for your outpatient care once you meet the deductible.
5. You Want To Finance Short-Term Nursing Home Care
Medigap Plan F pays 100% of the coinsurance for Medicare-eligible skilled nursing facility care. That way, if your doctor ever prescribes a brief stay in a nursing home after hospitalization, you won't face any additional bills to get the care you need.
6. You Want Help To Pay for End-of-Life Care
With Medicare supplemental Plan F, your loved ones can be reassured that your end-of-life care will be provided without placing a financial burden on you or them. This Medigap plan covers 100% of the Medicare Part A hospice care coinsurance or co-payment. Those fees apply to the cost of prescription drugs for pain and symptom management as well as inpatient respite care.
7. You Plan To Travel Abroad
Is world travel part of your current or anticipated retirement lifestyle? Medigap Plan F will pay 80% of the cost of certain medically necessary emergency care outside the United States after you've met a $250 annual deductible. To qualify for coverage, the emergency care must begin within the first 60 days of your trip, and it cannot be an expense that Medicare would otherwise cover.
If you're a qualified buyer looking for the broadest possible coverage of the retirement health care needs that Medicare doesn't cover, consider Medicare supplemental Plan F — the most comprehensive Medigap plan on the market.