“What is the best Medicare Supplement plan in Arizona?” This is the question we get asked most often by new Medicare beneficiaries. While we can make great recommendations, there is no one-size-fits-all in Medicare. The “best” plan depends on your unique needs and budget.
That being said, when most people ask this question, they want to know which Medicare supplement plan offers the most coverage. That is a question we can certainly answer!
Medicare Supplement Plan G (also called Medigap Plan G) is the most popular Medicare supplement for new beneficiaries. Like the other supplement plan options, it acts as a secondary form of insurance and picks up paying where Original Medicare (Parts A and B) leave off. What sets Plan G apart from the other options is the amount of its coverage.
If you enroll in Plan G, your only out-of-pocket expense for Medicare-approved services is the Part D deductible, which happens to be $233 in 2022. All other costs - coinsurance expenses, copayments, the Part A deductible, and Part B excess charges - are paid for by Plan G. It’s easy to see why Plan G is so popular in Arizona and the rest of the country.
One important thing that many people don’t know about Medicare supplements is that they are standardized plans. What does that mean? The government standardized all Medigap plans several years ago. Standardization means that each letter plan remains the same across carriers and state lines. So, if you enroll in Plan G in Arizona from Company A and your friend enrolls in Plan G in Nevada from Company B, you both have the same coverage. Plus, benefits don’t change from one year to the next, as they often do with Medicare Advantage plans.
The only difference between your plan and your friend’s plan might be the premium. The insurance companies are allowed to set their own rates, which are based on age, gender, location, and tobacco status. (Men pay more than women; older folks pay more than younger ones; zip codes with higher living costs have higher premiums; tobacco users pay more than non-users.) In addition, most carriers give discounts for various things. Some give discounts if you and your spouse enroll with the same company, while others give you a discount simply for living with someone over a certain age. You should expect your premiums to go up each year. In recent years, Plan G premiums have increased at an average of 3-5% per year.
Another advantage to Plan G (and the other letter plans) is that they do not utilize provider networks. If a provider accepts Medicare, they will also accept your Medigap plan, regardless of which insurance company you purchased it from. This feature is especially beneficial for people who travel often, want the freedom to choose providers, and for those who live in rural areas where providers are more sparse.
Anyone who is already enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B can enroll in Plan G. In some cases, you’ll need to pass medical underwriting to be enrolled in a Medicare supplement. However, if you are just turning 65 or have been covered by an employer’s credible plan until now, you have guaranteed issue rights to any Medigap plan. These guaranteed issue rights mean that no insurance carrier can deny coverage based on your medical history.
Now, we did say that no one plan is the “best” plan for everyone. There are two similar alternatives to Plan G that you may want to consider.
First, Plan F. Medicare Supplement Plan F actually has slightly more coverage than Plan G. Remember that $233 Part B deductible we mentioned? Plan F includes that as part of its coverage. So, why wouldn’t Plan F be the most popular?
Some changes occurred within the Medicare program back in 2020. Those changes made Plan F inaccessible to anyone who did not turn 65 before January of 2020. That means that new beneficiaries are not eligible to enroll in Plan F.
Even individuals eligible for Plan F often choose to enroll in Plan G instead. Plan F comes with higher premiums than Plan G - high enough to not outweigh the additional cost of the Part B deductible if you enroll in Plan G instead. For example, an annual premium for Plan F might be around $1,680 or $1,320 for Plan G. Enrolling in Plan G saves you $360. So even if you had to utilize your Medicare plans and pay the Part B deductible, you’d still come out ahead by choosing Plan G.
A second alternative to Plan G is Medicare Supplement Plan N. Plan N has slightly less coverage. You will still be responsible for the Part B deductible, and you will have copays for doctor’s visits. (Up to $20 for a doctor’s visit and up to $50 for an emergency room visit.) You will also be responsible for any Part B excess charges. Excess charges are amounts over and above Medicare-approved services. Providers who do not accept Medicare assignment can add an extra 15% to the cost. (This is rare, but it does happen!)
You’ll have more out-of-pocket costs with Plan N, but if you need a lower premium or rarely visit the doctor, it may be an option you want to consider.
Are you ready to learn more about Medicare Supplement Plan G? Call your Local Medicare Specialists. We will help you compare different plan options and find carriers that offer competitive rates. The best part? Our services are completely complimentary. Call today to schedule an appointment with one of our Medicare advisors.
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