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What about Plan N?

2017-07-09 Charles Bradshaw business photo

Charles Bradshaw

One Medicare Supplement option that can be a good choice for some people is a Plan N Medicare Supplement.

With a Plan N Medicare Supplement, the person on Medicare pays a lower monthly premium in return for paying Medicare’s Part B annual deductible as well as some co-pays and other costs throughout the year.

A Plan N Medicare Supplement is typically around $15 to $20 per month less than the Plan G Medicare Supplement I usually recommend.

In return for the lower monthly premium, the Medicare member pays the following out-of-pocket costs:

1) Medicare’s annual, once-a-year Part B deductible which in 2017 is $183. The policyholder also pays this deductible with Plan G.

2) A $20 co-pay for a doctor visit for either a primary care doctor or a specialist. The policyholder would not pay this co-pay with Plan G.

3) A $50 co-pay for an Emergency Room visit that does not lead to a hospital in-patient stay. The policyholder would not pay this co-pay with Plan G.

4) A potential 15 percent surcharge on Medicare Part B costs when the policyholder uses a medical provider that has opted out of Medicare’s regular fee structure so they can charge an extra 15 percent for Medicare patients. This extra 15 percent is called Medicare Part B Excess.

Category #4 is the real drawback when considering a Plan N Medicare Supplement. A Plan G Medicare Supplement pays the Medicare Part B Excess while Plan N does not.

As you probably can guess, the doctors and medical facilities that charge Medicare Part B Excess tend to be ones in high demand. Mayo Clinic is an example of a medical provider that charges Medicare Part B Excess.

This means if you ever have a serious health issue and want to make sure you are receiving care from the best doctor for your condition, you may have to choose between the doctor you think is best but for whom you will pay an extra 15 percent out of your pocket or a doctor who does not charge the Medicare Part B Excess.

While 15 percent of the cost of a doctor visit may not seem like a significant cost, keep in mind this can apply to expensive medical procedures and treatments such as MRIs and chemotherapy. In these cases 15 percent of the cost can be significant and can be hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

I prefer Plan G because I want you to be able to receive care from whatever health care provider you believe is right for you without worrying about the costs.

However, paying a lower monthly premium is necessary for many people and choosing a Plan N Medicare Supplement is a much better option than leaving Medicare and enrolling in a for-profit, private Medicare Advantage plan where your access to care is limited and costs can be much higher.

I would appreciate the chance to help you further understand your Medicare options. Simply click on the following link to ask me to call you.

Click here to request assistance with your Medicare enrollment

Please feel free to call me at (888) 549-1110 for immediate assistance.

Thank you for allowing me to help you with your Medicare and I look forward to talking with you soon.

Charles Bradshaw is President and Founder of MedicareAnswerCenter.com.  He can be reached at (888) 549-1110 or charlesbradshaw@medicareanswercenter.com.

 

Why Plan G instead of Plan F

2017-07-09 Charles Bradshaw business photo

Charles H. Bradshaw

I often hear the following from someone going Medicare who in the past has cared or currently is caring for a parent or other family member:

“My <mother, father, aunt> had a Plan F Medicare Supplement and it covered everything and that is what I want.”

I understand that point of view completely. There is no better frame of reference for what any us of can expect with our health in the future than what we have seen or see with our parents or other older loved ones.
With a Plan F Medicare Supplement, our older loved ones can go to any doctor or hospital anywhere in the country that accepts Medicare – as almost all do – and all of their costs are covered 100 percent.

My mother, who will be 96 in November, has a Plan F Medicare Supplement from AARP. When she had a full hip replacement a few years ago she did not have to pay one cent for any part of the procedure or rehabilitation. This included the three days she spent in the hospital and the six weeks she spent in a rehabilitation facility.

However, Congress passed a law in 2015 that makes a Plan F Medicare Supplement no longer the right choice for someone going on Medicare today.

The law Congress passed in 2015 begins to phase out Plan F Medicare Supplements beginning in 2020. Specifically, it says no one who becomes eligible for Medicare beginning on January 1, 2020 can enroll in a Plan F Medicare Supplement.

Anyone who currently has a Plan F Medicare Supplement at that time will be able to keep it. However, because younger people will not be able to join them in Plan F, the overall group of people who have Plan F Medicare Supplements will gradually become older and have a higher level of health issues than other Medicare Supplement plans.

For example, by 2025, everyone in a Plan F Medicare Supplement will be 70 years old or older. By 2030, everyone in a Plan F Medicare Supplement will be 75 years old or older.

By comparison, at both of these points in time other Medicare Supplements such as Plan G will have people who are 65 years old and older.

The younger overall mix in other Medicare Supplements such as Plan G will mean the average health care costs per person, and therefore monthly premiums, will be less in other Medicare Supplements than in Plan F.

This will cause premiums for people with Plan F to increase at a much higher rate in the future than other Medicare Supplement plans.

An excellent alternative to Plan F that will not increase in premiums as much because of the change in the law is Plan G. A Plan G Medicare Supplement provides the exact same coverage as Plan F except the policyholder pays Medicare’s once-a-year Part B deductible which is $183 in 2017.

Because Plan G’s premiums are usually at least $20 per month less than Plan F, the savings one receives in the lower monthly premium over 12 months with Plan G more than pays for the once-a-year $183 Part B deductible.

Very importantly, Plan G is the only Medicare Supplement other than Plan F that covers Medicare Part B Excess charges. Medicare Part B Excess charges are the up to 15 percent extra some medical providers charge for people with Medicare.

Because of this, I recommend Plan G instead of Plan F for anyone now going on Medicare. In addition, I strongly recommend anyone who currently has a Plan F Medicare Supplement who can switch to Plan G do so.

You do not have to wait until Medicare’s Annual Enrollment Period in October to change Medicare Supplements. You can change Medicare Supplements at any time during the year though if you have been on Medicare more than 6 months your ability to change will depend on your health situation.

To enroll in a Plan G Medicare Supplement including switching from Plan F to Plan G, simply click on the following link to ask me to call you.

Click here to request assistance with your Medicare enrollment

Thank you for allowing me to help you with your Medicare and I look forward to talking with you soon.

Charles Bradshaw is the President and Founder of MedicareAnswerCenter.com

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