Top 5 Best Medicare Supplement Plans for 2020
Due to changes in the Federal Medicare Coverage Program that will become effective in 2020, the top 5 Medicare Supplement plans for 2020 are different than the best Medicare Supplement plan available previously. In general, a Medicare Supplement plan covers the things Original Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B do not, such as deductibles, copays, and coinsurance. A Medicare Supplement plan is also referred to as a Medigap plan. It is important to realize Medicare Advantage plans are something different entirely. There have been some changes to Medicare Supplement plans for 2020 that will mostly affect individuals becoming newly eligible for Original Medicare Part A and Part B in 2020 but will also affect individual Medicare Beneficiaries who were enrolled prior to 2020 in Original Medicare. These issues can be very confusing and it might be wise to speak to an experienced insurance agent about making comparisons in order to determine which Medigap plan might be best for you and what the best Medicare Supplement plan rates are like, and perhaps whether Medicare Advantage plans might be better instead in terms of coverage and a lower premium before the Medicare enrollment period begins. Below, we summarize and compare the basic benefits of the top 5 Medicare Supplemental insurance plans for 2020 and how they might impact your medical costs and which ones offer the best additional coverage.
Top 5 Medicare Supplement Plan Costs, Coverage, and Benefits for 2020
All individuals who are eligible for Medicare and pay their Medicare Part B premium can select a Medicare Supplement plan from among eight different Medicare Supplement plans; individuals who were eligible for Medicare before 2020 can also select a Medigap plan C or a Medigap plan F. In addition, Medicare Supplement plan G and Medicare Supplement plan F have plan options where they can be purchased as a regular Medicare Supplemental insurance plan or as a high-deductible Medicare Supplement plan, where once $2180 has been paid out of pocket the benefits kick in; this deductible incorporates the Medicare Part B premium into it. The Medicare Supplement plans vary in terms of Medigap plan rates and Medigap benefits, but in general, all of the Medicare Supplement insurance plans cover the following:
- Medicare Part A coinsurance
- Medicare Part B copayments and Part B coinsurance
- Extended hospital stay
- The first 3 pints of blood
- Part A coinsurance or copayments for hospice care
- Medicare Part A deductible
Some of the best Medicare Supplement health plans also provide Medicare benefits for skilled nursing facility coinsurance and foreign travel emergency care benefits. Only Medigap plan G and Medigap plan F cover Medicare Part B excess charges. Medicare Supplement plan C and Medicare Supplement plan F, which are not available for anyone newly eligible to Medicare in 2020, cover the Medicare Part B deductible. Note that none of the Medigap plans provide prescription drug coverage, which is available under a Medicare Part D drug plan or a separate prescription drug plan from an insurance agency.
Top 5 Medicare Supplement Plans Comparison Chart
Original Medicare health insurance consists of Medicare Part A and Part B. In general, Medicare Part A covers inpatient care such as hospital costs and skilled nursing facility care, while Part B covers outpatient care such as doctor’s office visits, vaccinations, physical therapy, and durable medical equipment such as wheelchairs. While these are excellent health insurance policies with good Medicare benefits, they do have plan limits to what they cover along with deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance. Medical Supplement plans are health insurance plans intended to fill in these gaps. We have summarized the various Medigap plans and Medigap plan options and the Medicare benefits they cover in this Medigap comparison chart, and then we will go on to present the top 5 Medicare Supplement plans for 2020 and compare differences in their benefits and Medicare Supplement plan rates.
#1 Medicare Supplement Plan G Benefits
The best of the top 5 Medicare Supplement plans for 2020 is clearly Medigap plan G. It is the Medigap plan that has the most benefits; it is very similar to Medicare Supplement plan F, which is only available to those eligible for Medicare prior to 2020. The primary difference is Medigap Plan F covers the Medicare Part B deductible while Medigap Plan G does not. Medigap plan G covers:
- Medicare Part A coinsurance
- Medicare Part B coinsurance and copayments
- Extended hospitalization beyond what Medicare Part A covers
- The first three pints of blood
- Hospice coinsurance and copayments
- Skilled nursing facility coinsurance
- Foreign travel emergency benefits
- Part B excess charges
- Medicare Part A deductible
In addition to the regular Medicare plan G, a high deductible plan G will be available in 2020. The high deductible Medical Supplement plan G provides all of the same benefits as the regular plan G once an out of pocket deductible of $2180 is met every year. A high deductible plan may be ideal for a beneficiary who is generally healthy and only visits a doctor a few times a year; even though the out-of-pocket deductible may need to be paid if emergency care is required, the monthly premium for the high deductible plan is much lower than Medicare Supplement plan rates for the regular plan G.
#2 Medicare Supplement Plan N Benefits
The second best of the top 5 Medicare Supplement plans for 2020 is plan N. It covers everything Medicare plan G does, except for:
- Medicare Part B excess charges
- Some copays for Medicare Part B
The Medicare Part B copays that are not covered by Medigap plan N are $20 copays for some doctor’s office visits and medical services and a $50 copay for emergency department visits that do not lead to hospital admission. These low copays along with a relatively low monthly premium make plan N an attractive Medigap policy to beneficiaries in terms of Medigap plan rates.
#3 Medicare Supplement Plan F Benefits
Medicare Supplement insurance plan F has for years been the best-selling and most popular Medigap plan because of its broad range of health care benefits that cover practically all medical expenses, including the Part A deductible, meaning there are no out of pocket costs. However, with changes to the Medigap policy, Medicare Supplement insurance plan F will not be among the available Medicare Supplement plans to anyone becoming newly eligible for Medicare Supplement insurance as of 2020. Medigap plan F covers all of the health care and medical expenses that Medical Supplement plan G covers, which is described above, and in addition it also covers the Medicare Part B deductible, which was $185 per the calendar year in 2019; this amount has to be paid out of pocket for outpatient health care and medical expenses such as doctor’s office visits before the beneficiary can receive the Original Medicare Part B benefits. Like Medical Supplement plan G, a high-deductible version of Medical Supplement plan F is available, where an out of pocket $2180 deductible has to be met by the beneficiary before the benefits kick in but the monthly premium for the high deductible plan is lower than the Medicare Supplement plan rates for the regular supplement policy.
#4 Medicare Supplement Plan C Benefits
Medicare Supplement plan C has also historically been a very popular plan option among the top 5 Medicare Supplement plans and was considered one of the best Medigap plans by most beneficiaries, but like Medical Supplement insurance plan F, it will not be on the available list of Medicare Supplement plans to anyone becoming newly eligible for Medicare Supplement insurance as of 2020. Medicare Supplement plan c covers everything Medicare Supplement insurance plan F covers except for Medicare Part B excess charges. Part B excess charges are charges that doctors make that are above the amount Medicare will pay for that particular service. By law, doctors are allowed to charge up to 15% higher than the approved Medicare cost for each service. The beneficiary is expected to pay the gap between the approved Medicare cost and what the doctor charges. These fees vary by geographical location within the US and are actually banned by law in some states such as Connecticut, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Wisconsin, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Generally, it is only a few specialists who routinely charge excess charges. If we compare the best-rated plans, the only Medigap plans that cover Medicare Part B excess charges are Medicare Supplement plans G and F, which tend to have higher Medicare plan rates than the other available plans. However, a beneficiary with health conditions who regularly have office visits with a specialist that charges these fees should compare their expected overall health costs under each plan before deciding which one is best.
#5 Medicare Supplement Plan D Benefits
Finally, number 5 on our list of the top five Medigap insurance plans is Medicare Supplement plan D. When we compare plans, Medicare Supplement plan D is virtually identical to plan N, which is discussed above, except it does not charge any Medicare Part B copays. Because of this, it tends to have a higher monthly premium than plan N but it is overall a good, comprehensive, and affordable plan with reasonable Medicare plan rates. It may be the best choice in terms of Medicare Supplement plan rates than Medicare plan N for beneficiaries who visit their doctors frequently or often attend emergency rooms because those copays can really add up; it is important to compare the best-rated plans carefully. For example, Medigap plan A does not cover nursing facility care or hospice care coinsurance, which can both be very expensive for enrollees on that plan.
To Sum Up: The Top 5 Medicare Supplement Plans
We have briefly gone over the benefits of the top 5 Medicare Supplement Plans for 2020. Which plan is the best Medicare Supplement plan will vary by individual and it is also possible a Medicare Advantage plan is best, so it is important to talk to an agent. There are definitely some changes coming in 2020 and even beneficiaries who have been enrolled in Original Medicare for years and are happy with their Medigap coverage may want to consider switching to a different Medicare plan in 2020 during the open enrollment period after consulting an insurance agent at an insurance company about which one is best insurance coverage and to get help comparing some of the best-rated insurance company plans from private insurance companies to help cover your out of pocket expenses. The Medigap open enrollment period when beneficiaries can change their Medigap insurance plans is October 15 through December 7. Consider calling an insurance agent to discuss which of the insurance plans is best for you and which of the best Medicare Supplement insurance companies, such as Cigna, Aetna, Mutual of Omaha, and Florida Blue, might have the best Medicare Supplement insurance plans that provide the benefits you need at a monthly premium you can afford from an insurance company that has excellent customer service.