Every state is unique in how Medicare Supplement plans are priced and the quality of Medicare Advantage plans that are available. In this article we will discuss which Medicare plans you should consider of you are researching the best Medicare Supplement Plans for Florida residents.
When it comes to Medicare,
Florida is unique in three ways.
- Florida is one of just four states that require Medicare Supplement policies is be priced using “Issue Age” standards. That means that your Medicare Supplement cannot increase in price every year just because you are older. However, it can still go up in price due to inflation. Expect your policy to increase in cost by 3% to 4% per year in most cases.
- On average, across the country, only three out of ten seniors choose a Medicare Advantage plan over keeping their Original Medicare and adding a Supplement. However, that statistic is skewed by population concentrations and average income. Most people who choose a Medicare Advantage plan do so because they are on a limited fixed income. Florida is one of those states with a higher than average Medicare Advantage enrollment. Still, four out of ten Floridians choose Medicare Advantage over Original Medicare. The reasons for this are simple.
- Medicare Advantage plans do not offer as much insurance coverage as Original Medicare plus a Supplement. So those that can afford a Supplement get one because of the better insurance coverage and
- Medicare Supplement plans are standardized to offer the exact same coverage from state to
state and insurance company to insurance company. You are not limited to a network, you can go to any doctor. You are not required to have a Primary Care Physician that has to approve you seeing a specialist and your maximum financial risk can be limited to zero or just a few $100s. Medicare Advantage plans are not standardized. They are only regulated to provide a minimum coverage that approximated Medicare Part A & B without a supplement. You will be limited to a network and you will have a higher co-pays and deductibles with a higher total financial risk (your maximum out-of-pocket expense) when you get ill and need medical services. Still, when you compare the quality of Medicare Advantage plans across the country, Florida has some of the best available.
- The third point that makes Florida unique is that the pricing structure of Medicare Supplements is very different from any other state. It is almost as if Florida Medicare Supplement prices defy the laws of economics. In short, the plans that are priced best is Florida are Medigap Plan F, Medigap Plan N and the Medigap Plan F-HD or High Deductible. Everyone new to Medicare in Florida should understand and price at least those three plans.
Medigap Plan F covers 100% of your Medicare expenses. Other than your premium, you will have no out-of-pocket costs for Medicare expenses. Unfortunately, it is very expensive in Florida, almost twice what the same plan costs in other states. It can easily cost over $2,000 and in some zip codes over $3,000 per year.
The high price of Plan F is what makes Plan F-High Deductible (Plan F-HD) so attractive. For less than $900 seniors new to Medicare can have all the coverage of Plan F, with maximum annual out-of-pocket risk that is less than Plan F premiums. I have an entire video on Plan F- HD as well as an in depth article. If you are a Florida resident, these are a must see.
This leaves us with Medigap Plan N.
Medigap Plan N is the unsung hero of Medicare Supplements. It packs a lot of coverage into a very well-priced, low-cost package. On average, a Medigap Plan N will cost between 25% and 35% less than a Plan F, saving $600 or more in annual premiums.
How is a Plan N different that the complete coverage of a Plan F?
Medigap Plan N is different from a Medigap Plan F is three ways.
First, you pay the annual Medicare Part B deductible. That deductible is just $166 per year as of 2016. It may be more or less in the years ahead. Only Medigap Plan F and Medigap Plan C pay that Medicare Part B deductible, and that is why those two plans will be discontinued as of 2020.
Medigap Plan N and all other Medicare Supplements require you to pay the annual Medicare Part B deductible. It’s just $166 and it’s no big deal compared to the hundreds of dollars you save in premiums.
The second way Medicare Supplement Plan N is different that a Medicare Supplement Plan F is that with Plan N you pay up to a $20 co-pay when you visit the doctor and a $50 co-pay for an emergency room visit, unless you are admitted into the hospital. If you see a doctor a couple of times per year, a $20 co-pay is a fair exchange for the hundreds of dollars in lower premium.
The third and final way that a Medicare Supplement Plan N is different that a Medigap Plan F is that Medigap Plan N does not insure against Medicare Part B excess charges. Now, this scares a lot of people until they understand how inconsequential this feature really is. Only doctors who do not accept Medicare Assignment can charge a Medicare Part B excess charge. Medicare assignment simply means that Medicare assigns the price to the service. Only 3%, three out of 100 doctors do not accept Medicare Assignment which then allows them to bill an excess charge. All you have to do is ask your doctor if they accept Medicare Assignment. Odds are 97% that they do. If so, then that feature of a Plan N is of no concern. If your doctor is one of the three out of one-hundred that does not accept Medicare Assignment, simply request that they bill you only the assignment rates so that Medicare covers the cost of his or her services. It’s that simple. Most seniors on Medicare never encounter a doctor that does not accept Medicare Assignment in their entire life.
There you have it.
If you are considering a Medicare Supplement to add coverage to your Original Medicare, consider and price at least Medigap Plan F, Medigap Plan N and Medigap Plan F-HD. In states outside of Florida, also consider Medigap Plan G (detailed in a separate article). To find the best prices for each of these plans, simply complete a quote request. We will email you the prices and information you need.
If you are more interested in a Medicare Advantage plan, contact us for details. Medicare rules forbid us from writing about or detailing a Medicare Advantage plan in articles and videos.
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