As of January 1, 2020, people who are newly eligible for Medicare can no longer enroll in Medicare Supplement Plan F. But those who already have Plan F coverage will be able to renew their plans for life.
The danger here is that the premiums may increase after 2020 since younger and healthier beneficiaries will no longer be joining Plan F.
Some folks may want to stay on Plans C or F because their Medicare Part B deductible will always be covered, no matter how much the deductible may increase. Other folks may wish to switch plans. But depending upon your personal situation, a switch may be complicated. That’s because insurance companies can apply medical underwriting when changing plans. The company can deny an application or charge higher premiums because of preexisting medical conditions.
But if you’re concerned about what may happen in the future with Plan F, you may want to jump ship to a Plan F replacement while your health still allows for it. Note, also, that some states will allow you to switch Medigap plans without medical underwriting.
Popular Plan F Replacements Include Medicare Supplement Plan G and Plan N
There are no explicit replacements for Plan F – you’ll have to choose from a number of existing Medicare Supplement plans.
Fortunately, most Medicare Supplement plans are very similar. At the moment, those who want to switch should consider Plan G or Plan N. These are both solid Medigap plans that will give you the same peace of mind from unlimited Medicare bills.
Medicare Supplement Plan G: Plan G has become increasingly popular for several reasons. First of all, it covers all of the gaps in Medicare that Plan F covers, with the sole exception of the annual Medicare Part B deductible ($198 in 2020).
Medicare Supplement Plan N: Under Plan N, which tends to have lower monthly premiums than Plan G, seniors are similarly covered for Original Medicare costs. However, Plan N does require small copayments for most visits. Plan N will bill a $20 copay for office visits and a $50 copay for emergency room visits that don’t lead to hospital admission. Like Plan G, it does not cover the annual Medicare Part B deductible ($198 in 2020). This is a good replacement for high-deductible Plan F.
When You Can Leave Plan F
It’s a little-known fact that you can switch Medicare Supplement plans at any time.
Your best course of action is to compare local Medicare plans for a Plan F replacement. Look around, see what’s out there.
Medicare Advantage open enrollment begins on October 15 each year, but you can sign up for Medicare Supplement plans at any time.
Why Is Plan F Not Taking New Enrollees?
The changes are the result of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) of 2015.1 Congress intended to increase the amount of “skin in the game” for Medicare beneficiaries. Specifically, MACRA prevents insurance companies from offering plans that cover the Part B deductible to newly eligible beneficiaries after 2020.
This legislation was also enacted to make sure that doctors were being paid adequately for providing Medicare services.