Medicare Supplement Plan G

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Medicare Supplement Plan G;  What’s Changing?

In this video, I am going discuss what you need to know about Medicare Supplement Plan G. 

For most people turning 65, Medicare Supplement Plan G will offer the best value today. However, there are changes in the relationship between Medicare supplement Plan G and Medigap Plan F and Plan N that you should be aware of before you make a decision. With this video, I will show you these changes and discuss how they may impact your decision making as you decide if the Plan G Medicare supplement is right for you.  In addition, I will also talk about the differences between the two most popular Medicare supplement Plan choices today; the Medigap Plan G and the Medicare supplement Plan N. Plus a simple technique you can use to evaluate which plan is right for you.

Also, I have a special treat; information I normally reserve for clients only: an important industry secret about how insurance companies raise prices without it showing up in their price history, making it invisible to your research. 

As we discuss Medicare supplement plans you might be asking; what is the difference between a Medicare supplement and a Medigap plan? The answer – nothing   You might have noticed that I occasionally refer to these plans as Medigap instead of Medicare supplement.  The two terms are interchangeable.  They both refer to these plans that supplement Medicare Part A & Medicare Part B by filling in the gaps; the deductibles and copay that are your obligation if you did not have a supplement.

Also, it is important to understand that Medicare supplement plans guaranteed renewable?  That means that once you have a Medicare supplement, only you can cancel the plan. No matter what happens to your health, your plan cannot be cancelled or your rate changed based on your health.  The plan will be in force until or unless you cancel it.

Medigap Plan G is quickly becoming the most popular Medicare supplement in the country.  This is for two reasons – first; because the previously popular plans, Medicare supplement Plan F and Plan C are being phased out as of January 2020.  Second, Medicare supplement Plan G is usually a lower premium AND a better value.  Most people shopping for a Medigap Plan today find Medicare supplement Plan G as their best value.  Let’s take a quick look at the Medicare supplement plans so you can see why:

 

Medicare Supplement Benefits Table -2017
Medicare Supplement Benefits Table – 2017

This table illustrates the benefits of each of the ten different Medicare supplement plans. The plans are identified by letter across the top row.  The category of Medicare services are in the left-hand column.  In the column below the Plan letter, you can see the percentage of insurance coverage offered by that plan.

For example; Medigap Plan F show 100% coverage in each category all the way down.  That means that Medicare supplement plan F covers 100% of all the copays and deductibles that you would normally have to pay with  Medicare Part A (inpatient hospital coverage) and Medicare Part B (outpatient coverage) insurance.  It’s a great plan and would be an easy decision for many people entering Medicare, except that it is being phased out in January 2020 and Plan G usually offers equal benefits for less money. Take a look —

Medicare supplement Plan G has all the same benefits except the Medicare Part B deductible.  That is a calendar year annual deductible.  It resets every January 01.   It can change every year.  In 2017 it’s just $183.  We expect it to increase to $250 over the next five to seven years.  That’s it.

All you pay is the annual Medicare Part B annual deductible and your premium. Other than that, Medicare and your Medigap Plan G pay all your Medicare related inpatient and outpatient expenses.

The math here is simple, if Plan G is $183 less in premiums per year, then it would be exactly equal to Plan F. You pay the $183 deductible out of pocket, then you have all the same benefits as a Plan F.   However, Medicare Supplement Plan G is usually $300 to $400 a year less in premiums than a Medigap Plan F.  That means you can pay the $183 Medicare part B deductible out of pocket and have money left over.  That makes it a better value.

You might ask; what happens when the Medicare Part B deductible increases from $183 to $250 per year?  Would that reduce the value of Medigap Plan G?

The answer is no.  Here is why –

When the Medicare Part B deductible increases the supplement Plan F pays that higher rate on your behalf.  Because insurance company will not give up profit,Medicare Supplement Quotes the price or premium for a Plan F will rise to make up to for the increase in the Part B deductible.  In fact, Plan F premiums usually increase $1.50 for every $1 increase in the Part B deductible.  They add a surcharge to pay that deductible for you.

The Medicare supplement Plan G is not impacted at all by price increases in the Medicare Part B deductible. So YOU do not experience the same price increase.  Yes, you pay the higher deductible, but you do not pay the added surcharge. That alone saves you hundreds of dollars per year. That is what makes Plan G a better value!

People considering a Medigap Plan G often compare the price and benefits to a Medigap Plan N.  Plan N usually cost much less than Plan G, but there is a catch!  In fact, Medicare supplement Plan N can cost 25% to 35% less than a Medigap Plan G. However, Plan N has less coverage and the asterisks you need to be aware of.  Just like with Medigap Plan G, with Medigap Plan N you pay that Medicare Part B deductible out of pocket.  The asterisks indicate that you will also pay a small co-pay of up to $20 when you see a doctor, $50 for an emergency room visit. 

You can also see that there is no coverage for something called Medicare Part B excess charges.  With Medicare supplement Plan N you are expected to pay Medicare Part B excess charges out of pocket.   Medicare Part B excess charges can be easily avoided.  Please see my video on Medicare supplement Plan N for details.  The bottom line: Medigap Plan N can be a good value, but it takes effort on your part to avoid paying more than you have to. 

I go into more detail on Plan N, why it’s currently the best value in some states and compare it to Medicare supplement Plan D in a separate video.

The above Medicare supplement table is going to change as of January 01, 2020.  You should have this if you are new Medicare because the new table will illustrate your benefit options for most of the time you will be on Medicare.  Medicare is even introducing a new Medigap plan.  If you would like to see what this Medicare supplement benefit table will look like as of 2020 I will show you where and how to get your copy today at the end of this article.

So, Medigap Plan F and Medigap Plan C are the most popular plans historically.   Medigap Plan G and Plan N are becoming the most popular plans currently. Once Medicare supplement Plan F and Plan C are no longer offered to people new to Medicare, everyone in those two plans will be getting older and on average needing more medical care. 

That means higher expenses for the insurance company that will pass along to Medicare supplement Plan F and Plan C policy holders with even higher price increases.  But that is not the only reason Plan F has higher price increase than Plan G! There is also this….

Plan F was the most popular plan with people new to Medicare AND, as you know when you are new to Medicare Part B the insurance company cannot judge you by your health history. They cannot ask a medical question. They have to accept you regardless of your health. That means they take on more people with poor health and higher medical costs and have to pass those higher costs on to everyone in the plan through higher premiums.

Here is how this is impacting Medicare Supplement Plan G! 

It used to be that most people with a Medicare supplement Plan G had purchased the plan later on in Medicare, in their young 70s  when they were no longer in their Medicare open enrollment period. That would mean they had to go through medical underwriting where the insurance company only accepts people of better health.   By filtering out the people that would drive up costs, Plan G had developed a reputation as a Plan with very low price increases. A 0% to 3% price increase was the norm. 

But now that has changed, and this is important.  Now the people buying Medicare supplement Plan G are mostly people new to Medicare and in their initial enrollment period.  The insurance company has to accept them regardless of their health.This is a big deal.  It is changing the price dynamics of Plan G in a way that you need to know about. Here’s what’s happening, let’s take a look.

Medigap Plan G pricing
Medigap Plan G Price Change 2017 -Georgia

It used to be that price increases for Medicare Supplement Plan G average 1/3rd of the price increase in Plan F.  0% to 3% annual price increase for Plan G was normal. But take a look this; a 7.50% price increase for Plan G. And here is another one, in a different state:

Medigap Plan G Price Change
Medicare Supplement Plan G Price change 2017 – Maryland

And another one in yet another state!

Medicare Supplement Plan G Price Change - VA 2017
Medicare Supplement Plan G Price Change – Virginia 2017

Here is a 5% price increase in Plan G with no price increase in Plan F!

Medicare Supplement Plan G Price Changes
Medicare Supplement Plan G Price Changes – Nevada 2017

Now, this next one is going to shock you.  I promised an industry secret; here it is.   If you look closely it will reveal a secret that insurance companies don’t want you to know about:

Plan G Price Changes - North Carolina 2017
In-force Business Only Medigap Price Change

Do you see it?  It’s not that all the plans have the same % price increase.  It’s the words right here  “In-force business”

Here is the unsavoury secret:  insurance companies have a way of increasing prices so that the rate increase does NOT show up on our quote machines or in any of the data you can research on price history.  This is critically important for you if you are researching plans, which I assume you are if you’re reading this.

This is what insurance companies do:  when they raise prices they have the choice of raising prices for new business, those who have not yet purchased a plan with that company.  Or raise the price on existing business, only those that already have a policy.  Or raise prices on both.  

If the price increase is on “In-force Business only”, that is only those who already have a policy, it does not show up on the price increase history on our quote machines.  It has no impact on people looking at the company for the first time.   Quote engines only show price increases (and decreases) on New Business. 

This illustration is a price increase that happened earlier this year in 2017.   But, when I pull up a price increase history on any quote machine this company shows no price changes in North Carolina for 2017.  None.   All insurance companies do this on occasion.  But some companies make this an art form. Be careful. 


If the price increase is on “In-force Business only”, that is only those who already have a policy, it does not show up on the price increase history on our quote machines.  It has no impact on people looking at the company for the first time.   Quote engines only show price increases (and decreases) on New Business.


Now, I know that was is slightly off topic. I apologize.  However, it does fit in perfectly with the concept of finding the best value.  It’s not just that this historical pricing information is not available to you.  And this is important; it’s that sometimes the policy with the lowest entry price is with a company that raises prices on existing policy holders and burdens existing policy holders with higher costs while slyly keeping the entry price for new people enticingly low.

There are insurance companies that have turned this sly trick into an art form! This is why it’s important to work with the right insurance broker who specializes in Medicare and has worked with these companies long enough to know how they run their business.

Back to wrapping up what is happening with Plan G and I still promised to tell you about a technique or process to help determine if Plan N is right for you rather than Plan G.

What we have just seen is that Plan G is no longer that sleeper plan with 0% to 3% price increases.  Don’t assume the past history of low price increases will continue forever into the future.  Yes, the price increases should still be less than Medicare Supplement Plan F.  Plan G will still be a better value than Plan F.

But if you are retiring on a fixed budget and can barely afford a Plan G right now, the price could increase to a level you cannot afford.  You may be better off considering a lower cost Medicare supplement like Medigap Plan N.

What about Medigap Plan N?

In most states people are not rushing to buy Plan N like they are Plan G.  It is not being purchased by people new to Medicare like the Plan G Medicare supplement. Medigap Plan N can be a great plan.  If you are debating with yourself over a Plan N or a Plan G; here is what I tell the people.

Medicare supplement Plan G is for those who want peace-of-mind. Once you have a Plan G you don’t have to worry about co-pays or excess charges or Medicare insuranceanything. You can see any doctor, whether they charge excess charges or not. You pay a little extra, but you have peace-of-mind that your healthcare is taken care of.

Medicare supplement Plan N will cost less, 25% to 30% less, however, the catch is that it’s for those who would rather put forth a little extra effort than extra cash.  You have to look up any new doctors you see beforehand, to avoid those that do not accept Medicare assigned rates.  Doctors that accept Medicare assigned rates cannot charge an excess Part B charge. It just takes a little extra effort on your part to look up your doctor before visiting with them the first time.


With Plan N, you are paid for your effort by committing to a lower premium for your Medicare coverage.


I hope that perspective helps you make a better decision for your needs and budget.  By the way, remember the benefit table that will be for 2020 and beyond?  Here is a link below this video where can you pull up that table right now.   Medicare Supplement Benefit Table 2020

While you are doing that, please Like this video and comment by going directly to the YouTube version.  Please give this video a thumbs up so that other people searching for answers on their Medicare questions can find this video too.   You can also subscribe to my YouTube channel to make finding all my Medicare videos a little easier.

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© 2015-2017 Matthew Claassen & MedigapSeminars.org based in Jupiter Florida. No content from this site may be reproduced without permission.  He is an independent Medicare insurance broker servicing all of Florida, Arizona, Virginia, Maryland, Oklahoma, Indiana, Illinois, Mississippi, Alabama, Utah, Ohio, Michigan, California, Texas, Pennsylvania and expanding. Our most recent Florida clients come from Palm Beach Gardens, Sarasota, Port Saint Lucie, Stuart, West Palm Beach, Broward County, Miami, Tallahassee, Orlando, Gainesville, Tampa, Clearwater, Saint Petersburg, Fort Myers, Delray, Lake City, Martin County, Manatee County. Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, Naples, Cape Coral, Daytona Florida and more.

Matthew Claassen is an independent Medicare insurance broker specializing in Medicare plans.  Neither Mr Claassen nor MedigapSeminars.org are employed by, endorsed or represent CMS, Medicare or Medicaid or the US Government.  We are insurance representatives and not a government organization.  

It doesn’t matter if you are just turning 65 and learning about Medicare for the first time, or have an existing Medigap plan.   If you want to be certain you have the right Medigap plan coverage and are paying no more than you have to, we can help.  We can help you through either our public Medigap plan and Medicare online seminars or through private no-obligation consultation.  Get the best Medigap plan for you at the best price possible. You can also visit my agency website at  ShieldInsuranceSolutions.com or call at 800-847-9680. Florida License #W176030  National Producer # 765847 We are licensed and do business in state’s coast to coast including Florida, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Illinois, Alabama, Oklahoma, California, Arizona, New Hampshire, Georgia, Tennessee, Washington and more We do business in all Florida towns, cities and counties.  In just the last six months, our clients have come from Palm Beach, Martin, Jupiter, Tequesta, Port Saint Lucie, Broward, Miami, Tampa, St. Petersburg, Seminole, Lakeland, Yankeetown, Largo, Labelle, Jackson, Pensacola, Daytona, Delray, Sarasota, Tallahassee, Orlando, Saint Augustine and Palm Beach Gardens.

For Part D drug plan info visit: http://www.medicare.gov
Also visit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medigap
Get your Medicare Guide to supplements here: https://www.medicare.gov/Pubs/pdf/02110-Medicare-Medigap.guide.pdf
And your Medicare & You Guide here: https://www.medicare.gov/pubs/pdf/10050-Medicare-and-You.pdf