Medicare Supplement Plan G and N are insurance policies that help Original Medicare enrollees with their out-of-pocket medical expenses. These plans essentially “fill in” Medicare’s coverage gaps. There are currently ten different Medicare Supplement insurance plans available in the market today.
Medicare Supplement insurance plans also provide coverage for some of the items that are not offered via Original Medicare. A good example of this is medical care when you are traveling outside of the United States. Depending on the Medigap plan you choose, your coverage – as well as your premium cost – will vary. If you’re looking for Medicare Supplement plans that cover “the most” of those gaps in Original Medicare, Plans G and N are really good choices.
In many ways, Medicare Supplement Plans G and N are very similar. Both of these Medigap options offer the same set of “core” benefits that are mandated for Medicare Supplement insurance plans. The big difference between G and N is that neither cover the annual Medicare part B deductible. Medigap plans F and C cover the deductible at 100%. But very soon, those plans go away.
The only other big difference between G and N is that N doesn’t cover Medicare excess charges. Plan G does cover them.
Another primary difference between Medicare Supplement Plans G and N is the premium. In fact, in many cases, Medigap Plan N may cost between 25% and 35% less than Medicare Supplement Plan G. That’s primarily because Plan N doesn’t cover those excess charges. But another reason is because these plans are pretty new – they’ve only been offered for a few years. That means insurance companies don’t have years and years of usage data for people enrolled in these plans to accurately nail down the premiums with a high degree of confidence. That’s why one company might have a much higher premium than the others you find. Take the time to shop around and compare Medicare Supplement plan quotes before you make a commitment.
Unlike Medicare Part A and Part B – which are offered via Medicare directly – private insurance companies sell Medicare Supplement coverage. And, even though the actual coverage must be the same – regardless of which insurance carrier is selling the plan – the premium can differ from one insurance provider to another.
Here’s a link to eHealth’s Medigap page. We’re not affiliated in any way with eHealth and don’t make a penny if you click the link or use them to purchase Medicare Supplement insurance. This isn’t the only way to purchase coverage, but it’s a decent tool to do your shopping and get used to what companies offer plans G and N and how much the premiums vary.
There are literally hundreds of Medicare Supplement companies across the country, many with names similar to each other. It’s not that they’re bad, necessarily, it’s just that they’re small. As you might suspect, big insurance companies like United Healthcare/AARP, Cigna, Aetna and Mutual of Omaha lead the pack when it comes to the number of people they insure. If you’d rather check each of their individual sites, I’ve also included the links to their pages above. Again, we don’t make a penny if you click the links or buy something for them; it’s just for your reference.
If you want to drive yourself a bit batty, feel free to use Medicare’s own “Planfinder” tool for Medigap shopping. I say that with a smirk, because in typical government fashion, it’s a bit outdated and not super easy to use.
If you really want to do your research (and drive yourself nuts) Medicare’s, “Choosing a Medigap Policy: A Guide to Health Insurance for People with Medicare” is a 52-page monstrosity available by clicking here. Good luck!
The only real question you have to answer is how important is it to you for your plan to cover the Medicare Part B excess charge? And, if you are leaning towards a plan that covers this particular option (such as Medicare Supplement Plan G), how much is the premium difference between this and Plan N?
Typically G is more expensive than N. Just do the math: if the higher premium with Plan G is worth it to cover the excess charges your doctor may charge you in excess charges, it may essentially pay for itself. But remember, very, very few doctors or hospitals don’t accept Medicare and thus, the chances you’d be on the hook for excess charges is very slim in the first place. If the price difference is a couple of bucks a month, go with the G. If it’s more than that, a lower-priced plan N will do just nicely. It’s the same way with Medigap C and F – the same difference applies there. F covers excess charges, C doesn’t. Other than that, they’re exactly the same.
You can also discuss the various Medicare Supplement coverage options and costs with a local Medicare insurance advisor. If you don’t know one, ask your neighbors or friends to recommend one to you. If that doesn’t work, call one of the Medigap companies I linked to above and ask them for a local agent to reach out to you . Usually, they’ll meet you right in the comfort of your own home to review options for you. If you go this route, it is important to note that these advisors can provide you with information regarding Medicare Supplement Plan G, Plan N, and any of the other Medigap plans that you’re eligible for. They may not, however, start talking about Medicare Advantage or Medicare Part D plans unless you ask them to.
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Author Bio: Ben started Prepare for Medicare in 2014 to help people help people get objective answers to questions about Medicare. He’s held leadership roles at numerous Fortune 500 Medicare health insurers in product development, sales, marketing and strategy for over 20 years.