Medicare Supplement Plan N vs Plan G & Plan D

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    As I write this article in mid-2022, Medicare supplement Plan N is one of the two most popular Medicare supplement plans for people new to Medicare.  It is the Medicare supplement often considered to be the best value.   For those who are value oriented, this article provides a wealth of information on the pros and cons of Medicare supplement Plan N. 

    In this article, we will start with what you need to know about Medicare supplement plans in general.   Then we will review the pros and cons of Medicare supplement Plan N and how to tell if the Medicare supplement Plan N is right for you. 

    Of course, there is more than one way to skin a cat. (Why someone would want to skin a cat is beyond me, but anyway…) If you are stuck between choosing a Medicare supplement Plan N or a Plan G, please take a look at the article and video titled Best Medicare Supplement Plan.

    In that article I approach the choice of Medicare supplement plans as an issue of personality.    I believe you will enjoy it. 

    Medigap or Supplement, Terminology

    There is more than one way to refer to Medicare supplement Plan N.  You will read the terms Medigap Plan N, Medicare Plan N, Medicare supplement Plan N or Supplemental Plan N.  Each of these terms refers to the exact same thing, Medicare supplement Plan N. 

    It seems that Medicare publications prefer to refer to supplement plans as Medigap Plans. However, the insurance industry prefers the term Medicare supplement.  Please do not confuse the term “Part” for “Plan”.  “Part” refers to a part of Medicare, Like Medicare Part A or Medicare Part D.  The term “Plan” is used when referring to supplemental insurance or other private insurance.

    Choosing a Medigap Plan

    Choosing which Medicare supplement is right for you can be a bit daunting. Certainly, when you are new to Medicare and just learning the terminology and ABC’s of Medicare coverage, making sure you choose the right Medicare supplement is just a little added stress.

    So, first off, let me take some of that stress away with a Medicare secret:  regardless of your health history, you have 6-months where you can change your mind all you want without any consequence if you are new to Medicare.  If you are not new to Medicare, you still have a 30-day time period.  Here is why. 

    Medicare Supplement Enrollment Period 

    Most people new to Medicare confuse their Medicare Initial Enrollment Period with their Medicare Supplement Initial Enrollment Period. These are two separate enrollment periods and time frames.  Your Medicare Initial Enrollment Period ends three months after your birthday month.  Your Medicare Supplement Initial Enrollment Period ends six calendar months after the day you start Medicare Part B.  Warning:  some insurance companies consider your Medicare Supplement initial Enrollment Period to be the first six calendar months of your Medicare Part B coverage.  But some insurance companies use a 360-day year, which means your Medicare supplement Initial Enrollment Period is only 180-calendat days from your Medicare part B start date. The bottom line is please do not procrastinate!

    During the six-month Medicare supplement enrollment period, you can change your mind about your Medicare supplement plan all you want.  If you change your mind, the insurance companies are required to automatically accept your application for any plan available to you without health questions or pre-existing conditions.

    If you are changing your Medicare Supplement plan after that six-month period, you can still do so as often as you wish and whenever you choose. You simply need to qualify medically. 

    After you have changed plans you have a 30-day free-look time period where you can reverse your decision without consequence. 

    So, if you’re stressed about making the perfect decision, relax.  Decide based on what you believe is the best plan for your needs and your budget, knowing you have plenty of time to change your mind.

    Medicare Supplement Plan N

    What is Medicare Supplement Plan N?

    A Medicare supplement plan is an insurance policy designed to work with your Original Medicare.  It pays the deductibles and copays that are the patients’ responsibility when you have Medicare Part A and Part B.

    For example, after a small deductible, Medicare Part B pays 80% of your outpatient Medicare bill. You are responsible for the remaining 20%.  When you have a Medicare supplement Plan N, your supplement will pay the 20% for you.

    If you become an inpatient in the hospital, Original Medicare has a per event deductible of over $1,500 then full coverage for 60-consecutive days.  When you have a Medicare supplement plan N you can have a 365-day stay in a hospital and not pay a dime.  You have full coverage for hospitalization.  

    How does medicare supplement Plan N compare to Medicare supplement plan G?  I answer that question in my article and video titled the Best Medicare Supplement Plan.

    What Are Standardized Medigap Plans?

    A standardized Medigap insurance policy is designed specifically to work with Medicare Part A and Part B to limit your out-of-pocket expenses. 

    The Medigap policy is secondary to Original Medicare.  That means Medicare pays first, then your Medigap policy pays their portion. 

    The term “standardized” is very important.  It means that the benefits of all Medicare supplement (aka Medigap) Plans are identical regardless of which insurance company you use.  For example, all Medigap Plan N’s have the same benefits.  All Medigap Plan G’s have the same benefit, and so on.

    The benefits of these standardized policies are written into Social Security Law.  They cannot be changed except by an act of Congress, signed by the President.  This is the exact opposite of a Medicare Advantage Plan.  Medicare Advantage Plan benefits change every year.

    Guaranteed Renewable Contracts  

    Medicare supplement policies are also Guaranteed Renewable contracts.  Guaranteed renewable means that the benefits are guaranteed to remain the same for as long as you own the policy.  No one can change your benefits or cancel your plan.  Even if Congress were to change the benefits of the plan type you have, they can’t change your plan.  They can only change plans for people in the future.

    Once you have a Medicare supplement no one can change your benefits.  No one but you can cancel your plan.  The only feature that can change from year to year is the price.


    Keep in mind, it is the benefits that are standardized, not the price.  Current and future prices can vary by more than 100% from one insurance company to another.


    Medigap in Massachusetts, Minnesota, Wisconsin

    There are three states that have opted out of standardized Medicare supplement plans.  Those states are Massachusetts, Minnesota and Wisconsin.  These states were able to opt-out of standardized plans because they were ahead of Medicare in improving health coverage. when Medicare upgraded (Modernized) their Medicare supplement plans in 2010, these three states already had options that were equal of better than the new plans.

    If you live in one of these states, look at the Guide to Choosing a Medigap Policy in the Resources Tab of our website.  Of course, we can help except in Massachusetts, the only state we do not offer insurance in.  Their cost for out-of-state health insurance licenses makes working in that state cost prohibitive.

    Why Buy a Medicare Supplement Plan?

    One of my favorite questions to answer is “Why buy a Medicare supplement plan instead of a Medicare Advantage plan?”

    There are two reasons why.  First is because the benefits are standardized and will remain as is for as long as you own the policy.  For your benefits never change.  Second is that with a Medicare supplement plan you get to keep all the benefits of Original Medicare.  Let me elaborate.

    Long-term Security

    There is a certain sense of security you feel when the benefits of your health insurance policy remain the same from year to year.  

    Image for a minute the year-to-year experience of those who chose a Medicare Advantage Plan instead of a Medicare supplement.  With an Advantage Plan any feature of your plan can change from year to year.   The doctors and medical facilities that accept your specific Medicare Advantage Plan can change not only from year-to-year, but at any time during the year.  That is why the Medicare Advantage policy holder must re-shop their Medicare policy every year during the Annual Election Period (AEP).  AEP is that period between October 15 through December 07 when people on Medicare Advantage Plans must check the changes in their plan and decide if they want to keep it or change plans.  They never know from year-to-year how their costs and benefits can change.

    The person who chose a Medicare supplement completely avoids those issues.  Your benefits never change.  They will continue for as long as you own your policy.  Add to this the second benefit, below, and you have the best health insurance available in the United States.

    Benefits of Original Medicare

    Medicare Part A and Part B is also called Original Medicare.  When you receive your red, white and blue Medicare card, you have original Medicare.  With Original Medicare you can see any medical provider or facility in the country as long as they accept Original Medicare.  That is over 95% of all doctors and medical facilities.  You have national insurance coverage.  In fact, if you develop a medical issue and wish to see a specialist 1,000 miles away, you can.  As long as they accept that red, white and blue Medicare card your Medicare bills are covered. 

    There is no limiting network of providers you are restricted to.  You do not have to ask permission or approval from a Primary Care Physician to see a specialist or anyone else. 

    The second great benefit of Original Medicare is that there is no insurance company between you and your doctor’s decisions.  Your doctor does not need to get preapproval to perform a recommended treatment.  No insurance company can deny or delay treatment.  Your medical decisions are between you and your doctor.

    With a Medicare supplement Plan you keep the above two benefits of original Medicare.

    You can see any medical provider or facility that accepts original Medicare.  Your medical decisions are guided by you and your doctor.  The Medicare supplement has no say in what is or is not covered by your Medicare.

    What is a Medicare Replacement Policy? 

    Contrast the above with a Medicare Advantage Plan.   A Medicare Advantage Plan replaces your Original Medicare.  You no longer use your red, white and blue card.  You no longer have original Medicare.   The insurance company then gets to set their own rules.  They are supposed to cover all that Original Medicare covers, but a 2018 report by the Inspector General for Health & Human Services found that you may have to fight for your coverage.  .

    With a Medicare Advantage Plan, you are restricted to the network of doctors contracted with that specific plan.  Some plans allow you to use a medical provider out-of-network, but only if that medical provider agrees to accept your insurance.  Most will not.

    Prior Approval Required

    In addition, when a doctor advises you to have a treatment or procedure, they must first get approval by the insurance company.   In a recent report by the Inspector General for Health & Human Services, more than half the recommended procedures are denied or delayed. 

    Perhaps this is the reason only 46% of medical providers will accept a Medicare Advantage Plan.  Even then, they may not accept yours.

    How does a Medicare Supplements Work?

    Your Medicare supplement is secondary to Medicare.  Also, when you have a Medicare service with a Participating Medicare Provider your medical provider bills Medicare.  They want to have your supplement information on record in case of errors, but they only bill Medicare.  Because they are not contracted with your supplement insurance, they cannot bill it directly. 

    Medicare will pay its portion due and at the same time electronically communicate with your Medicare supplement insurance company instructing them on what to pay and to whom.  Yes, Medicare will know with whom you have your supplement. 

    Most of medical bills are paid by the supplement company in just a few days.   A couple of the largest insurance companies I work with routinely note to me that over 85% of medical claims are paid within 48-hours.

    The bottom line is that the Medicare supplement simply follows Medicare’s direction.  A supplement plan pays what they are told to pay and when.  They have no say in what is or is not covered by Medicare.  Your healthcare is between you and your doctor.

    A Medicare supplement simply pays the copays and deductibles of the procedures and services covered by Medicare.  Medicare’s goal is to cover everything that is medically necessary.  In order to determine medical necessity, they lean on your doctor for guidance.  That doesn’t mean they do everything your doctor wants them to do.  But it does mean that your doctor does not have to ask permission to perform their duty as your medical provider.  There is no “pre-approval” process like there is with Medicare Advantage Plans.

    What Does Medicare Supplement Plan N Cover?

    A Medicare supplement simply pays the copays and deductibles of the procedures and services covered by Medicare.  Medicare’s goal is to cover everything that is medically necessary.  In order to determine medical necessity, they lean on your doctor for guidance.  That doesn’t mean they do everything your doctor wants them to do.  But it does mean that your doctor does not have to ask permission to perform their duty as your medical provider.  There is no “pre-approval” process like there is with Medicare Advantage Plans.

    You can view and print the Medicare supplement plan benefit table here:  https://medigapseminars.com/medigap-benefits/     

    Medicare supplement benefit table 2022

    On this table, the various Medicare supplement plans are listed across the top row. The broad categories of all benefits are listed down the left-hand column. Medicare supplement Plan N covers 100% of everything except the Medicare Part B Annual Deductible and Medicare Part B Excess Charges. In addition, there is up to a $20 copay for most outpatient office visits and up to $50 copay for hospital emergency room visits. Also, Medicare supplement Plan N does not cover Part B Excess Charges.

    The Medicare Part B deductible is an annual deductible. You pay it when you first see a doctor for outpatient services during any calendar year. Once that deductible is paid, you have 100% coverage for inpatient and outpatient services for the rest of the calendar year.

    Of course, with all Medicare supplement plans, you will need separate prescription drug coverage.  I have created a special website to help with Part D.  Please go to PartDShopper.com  for more information.

    Medicare Supplement Plan N Copay 

    The most common misperception we see regarding the Medicare Supplement Plan N office visit copay is the belief that it applies to all office visits.  It does not. 

    In April of 2010 Medicare released a revised advisory on Plan N that detailed, among other things, when the office visit copay is applied.

    The up to $20 office visit copay only applies to office visits for diagnosis and evaluation.  When you see a doctor to find out what ails you, that is a meeting for diagnosis.  If you see a doctor to evaluate the efficacy of a recent prescription, that is an evaluation. 

    There is no office visit copay for physical therapy, or for chemotherapy.  You will not be charged a copay when you get a flu shot., and there is no copay for Urgent Care.

    The Advisory also states that there is no office visit copay for telehealth meetings.  Unfortunately, with Covid-19 Medicare temporarily reversed that, allowing doctors to bill a telehealth meeting with the same billing code as an in-office meeting.  I expect that temporary action will eventually be reversed.

    Most people only see a doctor for diagnosis or evaluation two or three time per year.

    You can find the advisory here:  https://medigapseminars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/Plan_N_Guidance2.pdf

    What Are Medicare Part B Excess Charges?

    An excess charge is when a medical provider can charge a patient more than the rates schedule set by Medicare.  Excess charges are also referred to as “Balance Billing”.  Balance billing simply refers to the fact that there is still a balance due above and beyond Medicare’s rate schedule.  

    The idea of being charged more than Medicare will pay is frightening to most people.  However, once you understand the limitations put on excess charges, how few medical providers can charge an excess charge and how easy it is to identify them ahead of time, that concern will subside.

    In this portion of the article, I am going to go into detail on all of the above because it is important to understand the concept if you are going to choose a Medicare supplement Plan N as your secondary insurance. Please at least read the next section titled “Medicare Part B Excess Charges in Brief”.

    Medicare Part B Excess Charges in Brief

    In brief, only 3 out of 100 medical professionals have a contract that allows them to charge a Medicare Part B Excess Charge.  That number is decreasing every year because the Medicare contract penalizes medical providers who whish to charge more than Medicare’s assigned rates.

    This means that the probability of ever running into a medical provider that charges an excess charge is relatively low.  Most doctors that charge an excess charge are psychiatrists. 

    Still, Medigap Plan N has no insurance against excess charges.  If you choose a Plan N, it is up to you to avoid excess charges.

    Does your State Outlaw Medicare Excess Charges?

    Some states have laws that forbid medical providers from charging excess charges.  This makes Plan N an overwhelming value in those states.  If you are not sure about your state, please call us.  We will let you know.

    The Medicare Contract

    When a medical provider goes into practice, they have one of three choices to make regarding Medicare.  They can choose to be a Participating Provider, a Non-Participating Provider, or Opt-Out of Medicare entirely.  The first two of these choices come with contractual obligations.

    Does your State Outlaw Medicare Excess Charges?

    Some states have laws that forbid medical providers from charging excess charges.  This makes Plan N an overwhelming value in those states.  If you are not sure about your state, please call us.  We will let you know.

    The Medicare Contract

    When a medical provider goes into practice, they have one of three choices to make regarding Medicare.  They can choose to be a Participating Provider, a Non-Participating Provider, or Opt-Out of Medicare entirely.  The first two of these choices come with contractual obligations.

    Does your State Outlaw Medicare Excess Charges?

    Some states have laws that forbid medical providers from charging excess charges.  This makes Plan N an overwhelming value in those states.  If you are not sure about your state, please call us.  We will let you know.

    The Medicare Contract

    When a medical provider goes into practice, they have one of three choices to make regarding Medicare.  They can choose to be a Participating Provider, a Non-Participating Provider, or Opt-Out of Medicare entirely.  The first two of these choices come with contractual obligations.

    The Medicare Participating Provider has contracted with Medicare to accept Medicare’s assigned rate schedule.  This is often called “Accepting Assignment”.  There are two conditions to accepting assignment under the Participating Provider contract. The medical provider agrees to accept Medicare’s fee-schedule as payment-in-full for each service or procedure, and they agree to accept payment from Medicare directly instead of the patient.  This saves money on billing for services and provides better cash flow for the doctor because Medicare often pays within just a few weeks of receiving a bill.

    One of the most meaningful benefits of being a Participating Provider is that Medicare becomes their one-stop biller.  Although you must provide information on both your Medicare and your Medicare supplement plan, the Participating Provider only needs to bill Medicare.  Medicare pays its portion electronically then communicates to the supplement company how much they are obliged for and to whom. 

    The Medicare Participating Provider finds comfort in knowing exactly what they will receive for their services, and that they will be paid quickly.

    Medicare Non-Participating Provider 

    Approximately 3% of eligible Medicare providers choose a contract with Medicare that allows them to charge more than the rates set by Medicare.  They do noy participate in Medicare Assignment.  These are the medical providers that can, if the choose, charge an excess charge.

    However, they cannot charge whatever they want.  There are limits.  It works like this; first Medicare will pay the non-participating provider only 95% of what they pay the Participating Provider.  They receive from Medicare 95 cents for every dollar that would be paid to the Participating Provider.  Then, they are allowed to charge no more than 15% extra on top of the reduced amount.   That looks like this:  (115% x 0.95%).  The result is that the most they can receive is 9.25% more than what they would have received as a Participating Provider.

    But there is more.  Because Medicare is trying to discourage Non-Participating Provider contracts, these providers face a few other constraints.  The most significant constraint is that Medicare will not be their one-stop biller.  They must bill the patient directly and request the patient be reimbursed by Medicare and their supplement.

    If you ever find yourself in a doctor’s office and they ask you to pay for services up-front, you are very likely visiting a Non-Participating Provider. 

    Obviously, asking a patient to pay up-front and be reimbursed by Medicare and their supplement is not what I call “consumer friendly”.  It’s one of the reasons that so few doctors choose to this route.

    The majority of doctors in the Non-Participating Provider program practicing Psychiatrist.

    How to Avoid Medicare Part B Excess Charges

    Avoiding Medicare Part B Excess charges is easy.  The easiest way is to go to https://www.medicare.gov/ and use their Provider & Services search tool.  Doctors that charge the Medicare approved amount are Participating Providers. 

    What If?

    Lastly, a common question we receive is a “what if?”.  What if I am an inpatient in the hospital and a bunch of doctors see me.  Can one of them charge an excess charge?

    The short answer is “No”, for two reasons.  The first is that there are no Part A (inpatient) excess charges.  Second, in any medical facility or medical group the contracting with Medicare is all or none. Either all the medical providers choose to be Participating Providers, or none.  They are not allowed to mix and match.

    Medicare Opt-Out

    Approximately 1% of medical providers opt-out of Medicare.  Of that 1%, 45% are Psychiatrists.   

    If you see a doctor that has opted out of Medicare, they must inform you up front.  It’s a good reason to read all that new patient paperwork they provide you.  Among the paperwork that you sign will be a private contract detailing their fee schedule.  When you see a medical provider who has opted-out of Medicare, you will not be reimbursed by Medicare. 

    Do Medicare Supplement Plans Have Out-of-Pocket Maximum? 

    Yes, Medicare supplement plans have a maximum out-of-pocket limit.  Although I encourage you to watch the video or read the article linked below on the Maximum out-of-pocket of Medicare supplement plans, here is Plan N’s in brief.

    When determining a reasonable maximum out-of-pocket for Medicare Supplement Plan N we assume you avoid Excess Charges.   Of course, we also do not have the foresight of how many office visit copays you may have during a calendar year, but we can estimate a maximum. 

    I have an article and video specific to this subject and why there is so much confusion.  Please take a look: Medicare Maximum Out-of-Pocket

    The bottom line is that all the popular Medicare supplement plans have a much lower maximum out-of-pocket that any of the Medicare Advantage Plans.   With Medicare supplement Plan N can expect to pay the Medicare Part B annual deductible (currently under $250).  You can also expect to pay a $20 copay three to five times per year.  That would amount to maybe another $100, for a total out-of-pocket of around $350 for the year.  

    Even if that number is off a little, it most certainly beats the $6,000 to $11,000 out-of-pocket annual maximum of a Medicare Advantage Plan.

    The next way to avoid Medicare Part B excess charges is to stop whenever you visit a doctors office and they request you pay upfront.

    When Can I Buy a Medicare Supplement Plan?

    In short, you can purchase a Medicare supplement plan any day of the year, 365-days a year.  However, there is a catch.  First, for a Medicare supplement to provide insurance coverage, the consumer must have Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B.  Without Original Medicare, you cannot have a Medicare supplement Plan.  Second, your Medicare supplement Initial Enrollment Period is linked to the start date of your Medicare Part B.  Not Part A, just Part B. 

    No matter when your Medicare Part B starts, your Medicare Supplement Initial Enrollment Period is the first six months you have Medicare Part B coverage.  During that time period you can apply for any Medicare supplement that is available to you without regard to your medical history.  No medical questions will be asked, and you cannot be turned down or charged more due to your medical history.


    Warning:  some insurance companies consider your Medicare Supplement initial Enrollment Period to be the first six calendar months of your Medicare Part B coverage.  But some insurance companies use a 360-day year, which means your Medicare supplement Initial Enrollment Period is only 180-calendat days from your Medicare part B start date.


    I Am Turning 65 

    After a person decides that a Medicare supplement Plan G is right for them, the next question is When? When can I buy a Medicare supplement plan?   

    As you may have heard elsewhere, there are over 10,000 people a day turning 65 in the United States.   That is a huge market and there is a lot of competition for enrolling people in the various Medicare choices.   Because of the competition, in most states an insurance company will allow the consumer to complete an application for a Medicare supplement up to six-months before their Medicare will start.  This is even before you have a Medicare number. 

    Of course, the consumer will need to apply for Original Medicare during their Medicare Initial Enrollment window and then provide the Medicare supplement insurance company with their Medicare number before benefits can start.

    Here is an example: let’s say you have a birthday of October 10.  That means the earliest your Original Medicare can start is October 01.  If you plan on your Medicare starting October 01, you can enroll in a Medicare supplement as early as the prior April 01 for an October 01 start date.  

    With your Medicare supplement application complete, you can go about planning your retirement knowing that one more “to-do” item is off your list.  When you get your Medicare number, simply call your Medicare supplement insurance company and let them know so they can complete the process of linking your supplement to Medicare.

    There Are Always State Exceptions 

    As with most Medicare rules, there are always exceptions.  For people new to Medicare Part B, Connecticut, Maine, Missouri and Washington State allow Medicare supplement application up to 60-days prior to the start date of coverage.  New York and Wisconsin allow applications 90-days or three months prior to the start date.    Please talk to us if you have questions about this.

    I Am Over 65 and Already Have Medicare

    If you are over 65 and have had Medicare Part B for more than six-months, you can still enroll in a Medicare supplement Plan any day of the year.  The catch is that you must qualify medically.  The insurance company will look at your medical history.  If you have expensive or critical / chronic medical conditions, the insurance company can decline your application. 

    There Are Always State Exceptions – Part 2

    There are many exceptions to the above.  Some states have annual open enrollment periods for Medicare supplement plans.  Three states have perpetual open enrollment periods and so.  There are too many exceptions to list here.  Please call us.  Our advice cost you nothing and can save you a lot of time and money.

    How Much Does Medicare supplement Plan N Cost?

    Prices on Medicare supplement plan N can vary by 100% or more from one insurance company to another and from one state to another.  For example, the price of a Medicare supplement plan N for a 65-year-old in New York or Miami can cost three times more than the same plan in Virginia or the Carolinas.

    The same can also be said between insurance companies.  The cheapest priced plan in any state can be one third the price of the most expensive plan.  There is no difference in Medicare benefits between one insurance company and another, but there is a big difference in premiums.   Choosing the right insurance company is important.


    At Medigap Seminars we work hard to help you find the insurance company that is most likely to provide you your lowest premiums over your lifetime.  The lowest price over your lifetime is not always today’s cheapest plan.


    The Pros of a Medicare supplement are detailed above section titled “Why Buy a Medicare Supplement Plan?” Simply put, it is the best health insurance available in the U.S. for those who are on Medicare.

    If there is one “Con” for Medicare supplement Plan N it is the cost. Because Medicare supplement Plan N offers such robust insurance coverage, the monthly premiums are typically higher than other choices. In addition, it is more susceptible to increases in medical costs. 

    Keep in mind, statistics show that the choice of insurance company will have a greater impact on price over your lifetime than your choice of supplement plan.  That is where we come in.  We know these companies and their pricing strategies.  Avoiding companies with higher expected price increases can save you thousands of dollars over your lifetime.

    Call us at 80-847-9680 for personalized assistance.

    FAQ

    You can apply for a Medicare supplement any day of the year, 365-days a year. If you are within 6-months or 180-days of your Medicare Part B start date, you can get any Medicare supplement without answering medical questions.  Outside of that 6-month window, you can still apply for a policy but may need to qualify medically to be accepted.  Several states have exceptions that allow for an annual open enrollment.

    No. You must have Medicare Part A and Part B to receive any benefits from a Medicare supplement.

    No. As with all modernized Medicare supplement plans, prescription drug coverage is separate.  Thankfully, it is very inexpensive.  See https://partdshopper.com/ for details.

    No.  Medicare supplement plans pay the copays and deductibles that are the patients’ obligation under Original Medicare.  Medicare does not cover dental, vision & hearing except for in cases of disease or injury.  Medicare does cover cataracts, glaucoma and so on.

    Technically, the Medicare supplement Plan N does not have a deductible.  However, it does not insure against the annual Medicare Part B deductible.  For the Medicare supplement policy holder, their only Medicare expense for inpatient and outpatient services is the annual Medicare Part B deductible.  That deductible is $233 for 2022.

    Yes.  However, if you currently have a Medicare Advantage Plan, you can only make a change during the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period.  Otherwise, you can apply for a Medicare supplement at any time.

    I like to measure the value of a Plan N by looking at the monthly premium difference between the Plan G and Plan N.  Then divide that difference by $20, the office visit copay.  View the difference as “office visits per month”. How many office visits every month will it take for Plan N not to be a better value than Plan G?

    KFF.org Medicare Advantage Networks Included 46 Percent of Physicians in a County, on Average. Published October 2017

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