Medicare Supplement Plan F is a Medigap policy that’s no longer available to new Medicare members, but Original Medicare beneficiaries who were eligible before 2020 may be able to get a plan.
Medicare is one of the most comprehensive health insurance plans available, but there are costs that you have to pay out-of-pocket. Beneficiaries with Original Medicare have the option to purchase a Medigap plan that reduces out-of-pocket costs.
Medigap plans are divided by letter. Medicare Supplement Plan F is a policy that was one of the most popular. However, the federal government eliminated Medigap Plan F for new Medicare enrollees. Now, only people who had Original Medicare before 2020 may qualify for a Plan F policy.
Let’s look at Medigap Plan F, what it covers, how much it costs and how it compares with other Medigap policies.
What is a Medigap Plan F?
Medigap Plan F is a Medicare supplement insurance plan that helps you pay for out-of-pocket expenses associated with Medicare. It’s only available for people who have Original Medicare. Medicare Supplement Plans don’t work with Medicare Advantage.
However, Medicare Plan F was discontinued as of Jan. 1, 2020. People who had purchased Plan F before Jan. 1 were grandfathered in and new plans were eliminated from that point on.
- Medigap is supplemental insurance that helps Original Medicare beneficiaries pay out-of-pocket costs.
- Medigap Plan F covers copayments, coinsurance and deductible costs.
- Medicare Supplement Plan F doesn’t cover services not covered by Original Medicare, such as eye care, dental, and hearing aids.\
- Medigap Plan F also has a high-deductible option.
- New Medicare members not eligible for Medicare Plan F have other options, such as Plan G, which has similar benefits and costs, except it doesn’t cover the deductible.
What does Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan F cover?
Medicare Supplement Plan F covers costs that Medicare doesn’t cover, says Laura Decker, co-founder and president of the Employee Benefits Division at SSGI, a Maryland-based employee benefits insurance agency.
Specifically, this includes costs for Medicare Part A (hospital coverage) and Part B (doctor coverage) like:
Decker says Part A’s deductible is $1,484 and Part B’s deductible is $203 for the 2021 calendar year. If you already have Medicare Plan F, you’re not responsible for paying the Part A or Part B deductible out-of-pocket, which can significantly lower your Medicare costs.
In addition to the deductibles and copayments, Medicare Plan F also covers things like hospice care coinsurance, skilled nursing facility coinsurance, up to three pints of blood, and foreign travel emergency care.
What doesn’t Medicare Supplement Plan F cover?
Medicare Plan F won’t cover any services not covered under Original Medicare.
Most notably, Medicare Plan F won’t cover costs associated with preventative care, like routine doctor visits or prescription drugs. Instead, you need Part D prescription drug coverage to help with prescription costs.
Medicare supplemental insurance, including Plan F, will also not cover the following:
- Dental care and dentures
- Hearing aids
- Chiropractic care
- Long-term nursing home stays
How much does Medicare Part F cost?
The cost of Medicare Plan F depends on a few factors, including your age.
“For people who are 65, the cost of Plan F starts around $155 a month and will increase each year as the individual ages,” Decker says.
Although Plan F has been eliminated for new enrollees, Decker explains that the best time to purchase any Medicare supplement is during the initial enrollment period when you first become eligible for Medicare. That begins three months before your 65th birthday and ends three months after. Otherwise, pre-existing health conditions could prohibit you from purchasing a plan later during the annual open enrollment period.
Medicare supplement plans comparison
Medicare Plan F is no longer available for purchase. However, several other Medigap supplement plans can help cover the out-of-pocket costs associated with Original Medicare.
The current Medicare supplement insurance plans offered are Plan A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M, and N. Some providers also sell high-deductible Plan F and high-deductible Plan G, which have a lower monthly premium. You can purchase Medigap insurance from private insurance providers.
Each Medicare supplement insurance plan offers varying levels of coverage. For instance:
- Medigap Plan A doesn’t cover the Medicare Part A or Part B deductible.
- Medigap Plan B covers the Medicare Plan A deductible only.
- Medigap Plans K and L cover a smaller percentage of costs like skilled nursing coinsurance and hospice coinsurance and also have out-of-pocket maxes.
Before you choose a Medigap plan, it’s a good idea to compare Medicare supplement plans. Every plan offers a different level of coverage and has a unique premium. Also, keep in mind that not all insurance providers offer every plan.
Plans F and G are similar. Here’s a look at how Plans F and G compare:
|Standard Plan F||High-deductible Plan F||Standard Plan G||High-deductible Plan G|
|Part A coinsurance and hospital costs up to an additional 365 days after Medicare benefits are used up||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Part B coinsurance or copayment||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Blood (first three pints)||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Part B coinsurance or copayment||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Skilled nursing facility care coinsurance||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Part A deductible||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Part B deductible||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|Part B excess charge||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Foreign travel exchange (up to plan limits)||80%||80%||80%||80%|
Also, remember that you need Part D for Medicare prescription drug benefits. Medicare supplement plans don’t help with prescription drug costs. You can also choose a Medicare Advantage plan rather than Original Medicare and most of Medicare Advantage plans offer prescription drug benefits, too.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between Plan F and Plan F high deductible?
Standard Plan F has a much lower deductible than high-deductible Plan F. A high-deductible Plan F has a lower monthly premium.
As a reminder, your deductible is the out-of-pocket cost you must pay toward covered health services before your insurance company starts paying for care. Both insurance plans have identical coverage.
Does Plan F cover dental?
Original Medicare doesn’t cover routine dental care, like cleanings or extractions, and there are no supplement plans that fill the gap. If you want dental coverage, you need to purchase a separate dental insurance plan. Also, many Medicare Advantage plans, which private insurance companies offer, provide dental coverage, so that’s another option.
Is there an alternative to Plan F?
Since Plan F has been phased out for newer members, the best alternative is Plan G. Medicare Plan G covers all the same things that Plan F covers, except for the Medicare Part B deductible. Plan G doesn’t cover the Part B deductible, which was a selling point with Plan F. The cost of Plan F and Plan G is very similar, so that’s a good alternative to Plan F.