What is the “Best” Medicare Supplement?

Want to know what the “best” Medicare Supplement is? Read on to find out!

If you’re just about to join Medicare or have been on for years, it is important to know the facts! I meet with hundreds of folks each year to talk about Medicare and Medicare only.

Many of the people I meet with ask the simple question, what is the Best Medicare Supplement out there? Well, surprise surprise, the answer is simple and complicated all at the same time! Which in Medicare seems to be par for the course! I will break it all down for you so you can make an educated decision on your insurance and know what to expect and what to watch out for!

Who designs Medicare Supplements?

San Diego Medicare 101

This is a question that although not asked frequently, is very important to be aware of. Medicare, the Federal entity is who actually designs Medicare Supplements. They layout how the plans work, what covers what and how the insurance companies must pay out for services. Every plan, whether Plan F, Plan G, Plan N and all the rest, Medicare designs them and then insurance carriers are able to offer them to the the public.

You may ask yourself, why is this important? Well, what it really means is the with a Medicare Supplement plan, unlike a Medicare Advantage Plan, there is no difference in benefits* or coverage between the companies that offer the plan, aside from the premium you pay monthly!

So, if you get a Plan G from AABC insurance for $155 a month and Everest Insurance offers the same Plan G for $125 a month, you could save $360 a year by having your Plan G with Everest Insurance! Both Plan G’s give you the same freedom of no network, no need for referrals and aside from the Part B deductible and premiums, you pay nothing to see any Doctor that accepts Medicare Assignment.

*Some plans are now offering “extra benefits” like Vision, Hearing, Dental and more

Plan F Vs. Plan G..which is right for me?

These plan here, are the most popular Medicare Supplement plans. If you joined Medicare after January 1st 2020, you can no longer purchase Plan F. Plan G is going to be the highest benefit plan available to you.

And that is OK! Plan G for years has been my go-to plan for most people who go with a Medicare Supplement. The only difference between a Plan F and a Plan G is the Part B annual deductible which for 2021 is $203. Once you pay that amount, there are no other copays or deductibles to be concerned about. The difference in premium between a Plan F and Plan G usually dictates going with a Plan G anyway! Look at it this way, if Plan F is $200 a month and Plan G is $170 a month, and the only difference is the Part B deductible ($203), which breaks down to $16.91 per month, if you had a Plan F in this scenario, you are overpaying $13.08 per month for NOTHING!

Many folks only keep their Plan F because they think it’s the “best” plan out there. It is a great plan but usually folks in retirement are concerned about money and I think if you can save yourself a few dollars, why wouldn’t you!

Medicare mistakes

What about Plan N?

Plan N is another popular option for many folks. The difference in Plan N and the other two, Plan G and Plan F is that Plan N has a couple more “holes” in coverage to be aware of.

Plan N has copay’s, $20 for a Doctor office visit and $50 for a Hospital visit. Along with that Plan N has a Part B Excess charge gap. In plain English what that means is that if a Provider wants to charge more than what Medicare is willing to pay, that is the Part B excess and if you have a Plan N, you may be responsible for up to 15% of the excess. Here is a scenario so you can understand-

You go to a provider for a broken foot and have Plan N. The total for your services are $1200 from the provider. The Medicare approved amount for that service is $1000. The excess in this case would be $200 and you would be responsible for 15% or $30. In this scenario, not a big deal! If the numbers were much larger for a more serious issue, they could be a problem. 

The difference in premium between Plan N and Plan G for people who are turning 65 and just joining Medicare usually isn’t much so rarely do I recommend a Plan N when for only a few dollars more, you can get a Plan G. This does vary with age and where you live. All Medicare Supplement plans are based cost wise on where you reside. So, a Plan G in San Diego is usually cheaper than a Plan G in Los Angeles .

Are these plans PPO’s?

Medicare advantage plan San Diego

A Medicare Supplement is NOT a PPO! This is something that many folks get confused about and it’s easy to understand why!

When we’re employed, a PPO plan is the best plan available. It gives you more freedom to see medical providers in and out of network. The difference between a PPO and a Medicare Supplement is simple, a PPO has a Network while a Medicare Supplement has NO NETWORK!

With a PPO, if you go out of network, you will have higher copays and out of pocket expenses. With a Medicare Supplement having no network at all, you could see any Doctor or Medical provider in the entire country, as long as they accept Medicare Assignment. You could see a Primary Care Physician here in San Diego and you could see a Cardiologist in Houston and you would be covered!

There are Medicare PPO plans available depending on where you live. These are classified as Medicare Advantage Plans, not a Medicare Supplement. Usually, I don’t recommend a Medicare Advantage PPO because the premium is not much different than a Medicare Supplement, which gives you much more freedom.

So….Which one is the best??

And the winner is…depends on you! Now, I know that is a cop out of sorts, but it’s completely true!! The best one for you may be different than your neighbor or even your Husband. This depends on what you find important. If you want the most coverage and don’t care about costs and you joined Medicare before 01/01/2020, than maybe a Plan F is best for you. If you joined Medicare after January of 2020, then maybe a Plan G is the best! Maybe you want the lowest premium possible? Maybe a Plan N is the right fit? Maybe a Medicare Advantage PPO is the best fit for you, it could be depending on medications that you take. With any Medicare Supplement, you should get prescription coverage, even if you don’t take any medications, you can read more about that HERE. Maybe the cost of a separate prescription plan is too much for you budget and you should look at Medicare Advantage Plans?

I hope this post has been a helpful read and if you have any questions, or want to be a client and assured that you choose a plan that is a good fit for you, fill out the form HERE or give me a call at (760) 533-7858. All meetings are 100% FREE to you with no company bias! My ultimate goal is for you to be happy in your choice of insurance and for you to be a life long client and I will do all I can to make that a reality.

Thanks for reading!

Steve Korts