The Best Medicare Supplement
The question that I am constantly asked during the course of a consultation on Medicare is ‘which is the best plan?’ My answer to the question of the best Medicare supplement is always the same. It all depends. Each person is different. Needs are different. Perception of reality is different. If you ask my wife, which is better—two piece or one piece swim suit? Her opinion will differ greatly from mine.
When it comes to Medicare, the first fork in the road is a choice between Medicare Advantage or Original Medicare and a supplement. Once someone makes that first choice, the second fork in the road is between Medicare supplements. There are potentially ten possibilities—Plan A—N.
Plan F has been the most popular plan among the bunch. Because of that, some would say that Plan F is the best Medicare supplement, even though it is the most expensive. Its appeal, however, is convenience and a sense of security. With a Medicare Supplement Plan F, there are no co-pays, deductibles, or co-insurance. You don’t have to worry about maximum out of pocket expense. You plop down your red, white, and blue Medicare card, your Plan F card, and you’re done. The bills may make Medicare and the insurance company cringe, but no matter. You are covered 100% for the services that Medicare covers. For that sense of complete, comprehensive coverage and convenience of payment, Plan F’s are the most expensive among the various insurance companies.
Plan F’s are expense for other reasons as well. As medical expenses go up, so do Medicare supplement premiums. You can almost count on an annual rate increase from the insurance company, especially for a Plan F. Why is that? Because people on Plan F use their benefits frequently. Whether they go to the doctor no times or fifty times a year, the price is still the same. Whether they go to the hospital zero times or a hundred times, the price is still the same. No co-pays. Just the same monthly premium. Consequently member over-use increases cost, which is reflected in regular rate increases.
Plan G, however, has a small deductible. You pay the first $147 on Part B expenses, such as doctors’ visits, outpatient procedures, emergency room visits, etc. After you pay the first $147, then the Plan G is like a Plan F. Everything is covered. The two benefits of a Plan G are 1) the premium for Plan G’s is lower, even with the deductible factored in, 2) the rate increases are smaller and less frequent. Plan G people tend to not over use their benefits as much as Plan F folks. A great deal is being written on this Plan G topic right now. It is very arguable that Plan G is the best Medicare supplement.
Which is the best? It all depends on you. I tell my wife I would rather see her in a two piece bikini. That is the best for me, and that is final!