Medigap Plan F has historically been the most common Medigap plans, touting approximately 40% of the market share among all Medigap plans in recent studies. Many people choose this plan because of the “first dollar” coverage – it pays everything that Medicare does not pay at the doctor and hospital so that you have no co-pays, deductibles or coinsurance. However, it is that same “first dollar” coverage that now has put Plan F on the chopping block. So, is Medigap Plan F ending?
The short answer is “Yes”, barring some new legislation between now and 2020. The “Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act” was passed into law in April 2015. The media “takeaway” from this legislation was that it fixed the doctor reimbursement rates for years to come. What was, and is, often overlooked is that the legislation also scheduled the end to the “first dollar” coverage plans – Medigap Plan F and Medigap Plan C – effective January 2020.
Now, in past instances where the Medigap plans have been re-structured, existing policyholders were allowed to keep their plans – they were “Grandfathered in”. However, rates on the eliminated plans have always been more unstable due to the aging (i.e. no new enrollees) population on the plan. It is highly likely this will happen with Medigap Plan F as well. In other words, you should be able to keep your plan. But, it may not be advisable to do so, as rates will likely go up significantly over time.
So, if you have Plan F now, what should you do? Our recommendation has been away from Plan F for the past several years due to this pending legislation and the greater overall rate stability on other plans. Now, that recommendation is solidified and strengthened. If you have Medigap Plan F now, we would recommend looking at a Medigap Plan G or a Medigap Plan N as a viable alternative.
Keep in mind that you do always have to ‘qualify medically’ when you are changing from one Medicare Supplement plan to another. However, there is no restriction on what time of year you can make this type of change.
Plan G is poised to be the big winner from this whole situation. Frankly, it has been growing considerably the last several years anyway, and for good reason, it’s been a better “deal” than Plan F for some time (READ: Is Plan G Better than Plan F?). The only difference in ‘G’ and ‘F’ is the coverage of the Medicare Part B deductible, which is $166/year currently. All other benefits are the same. The premium savings on ‘G’ are typically far greater than the deductible amount and, in most states, are in the $300-400/year range.
To ask us any questions about this or request rates by email for your situation, you can visit us online – I have Plan F, show me my other options – or call us at 877.506.3378.
Garrett Ball is the owner of Medicare-Supplement-Comparison.com. He has been in the Medicare business for 9 years and has assisted thousands of clients across the country with Medicare and Medicare Supplement decisions. Connect with him on LinkedIn or Facebook for similar Medicare updates/information periodically.