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How your Medicare Supplement plan options may change in 2021

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Each year, Medicare makes changes to its plans, benefits and premiums. It’s important for current and prospective Medicare members to be aware of these changes so they can choose the best healthcare plan for their needs.

Medicare Supplement plans, also known as Medigap, have experienced some major alterations in 2021 that could affect enrollees’ decisions.

With that in mind, here’s what you need to know about these changes, and how they might affect your insurance options and budget.

What are Medicare Supplement plans?

Medicare Supplement plans, or Medigap plans, are healthcare insurance plans offered by private companies. They’re meant to fill the gaps in Original Medicare plans, which are offered by the government, and provide extra coverage to those who need it. 

Medicare Supplement plans commonly help cover the costs of deductibles, copayments and coinsurance. Some also offer specific benefits, such as coverage during foreign travel.

There are currently ten different types of Medicare Supplement plans, each with unique benefits and coverage: A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M and N. These plans are standardized, so their benefits and coverage won’t vary from state to state or company to company. In Massachusetts, Minnesota and Wisconsin, however, Medicare Supplement plans are standardized in their own ways.

How are Medicare Supplement plans changing in 2021?

Plans C and F are being phased out

Starting January 1, 2020, those newly eligible for Medicare cannot enroll in Plan C or F. Only those who were eligible before 2020 can do so. People who were already enrolled in Plan C or F can keep their plans and coverage. This change was made in an effort to reduce healthcare costs, and is a result of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015.

Plan F offers the most comprehensive Medicare coverage, essentially allowing people to visit doctors and hospitals without paying any money out of pocket. It covers deductibles, coinsurance and copayments for most healthcare needs. It also covers up to 80% of emergency care during travel abroad.

Plan C offers the same benefits as Plan F with one major difference. It doesn’t cover excess charges for doctors’ visits, outpatient care and medical supplies. That excess coverage is a big part of what makes Plan F so popular.

Deductibles are increasing

Some states offer high-deductible versions of Plans F and G. With these plans, people have to pay for their care out of pocket until they reach a certain amount of money, at which point the plans’ coverage kicks in. 

In 2021, deductibles for these versions of Plans F and G reached $2,370 — a $30 increase from 2020.

Plan G offers most of the same benefits as Plan F, but it doesn’t cover the Part B deductible that almost all Medicare beneficiaries must pay. The Part B deductible is part of Original Medicare and applies to all Medicare Supplement Plans except for Plan F. However due to its high coverage, as Plan F is being phased out, Plan G has emerged as a popular alternative for new and prospective Medicare Supplement members.

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