Is Medicare Supplement Plan F Right For You?

Updated for January, 2022

Medicare Supplement Plan F, also known as Medigap Plan F, is the most popular Medicare Supplement plan. More than half of all supplement plan enrollees choose Plan F, and for good reason. Plan F experienced a critical change in 2020, however, that will impact new Medicare enrollees.

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What is Medicare Supplement Plan F?

Medicare Supplement Plan F is the most popular Medicare Supplement plan chosen by enrollees. It is also the most comprehensive plan with fewer out-of-pocket costs, which is likely why it is so desirable.

However, it is important to note that Plan F is no longer available to new Medicare enrollees as of January 1, 2020.

If you were enrolled in Medicare before January 1, 2020, you may still choose Plan F. If you were not enrolled in Medicare prior to that date, Plan F is not available to you. This is due to a change in law that no longer allows supplement plans to cover the Part B deductible. Plan C, which also covers the Part B deductible, is similarly unavailable for those not enrolled prior to January 2020.

Medicare Supplement Plan F is the most popular Medigap plan chosen by enrollees. It is also the most comprehensive plan with fewer out-of-pocket costs.

What is a Medicare Supplement Plan?

 Medicare Supplement plans, also known as Medigap, are private insurance plans that help “fill in the gaps” of Medicare. They may cover deductibles, copayments and other out-of-pocket costs Original Medicare doesn’t cover.

There are 10 Medigap plans that are standardized by the federal government and labeled by letter: A, B, D, M, N, C, F, G, K and L.

Why Should You Consider Medicare Supplement Plans?

Supplemental insurance plans allow you to receive private health insurance benefits outside of the federally regulated Medicare plans.

Supplemental insurance plans also open up the opportunity for sicker patients to have a larger amount of their medical expenses covered. Unexpected and regular out-of-pocket expenses can add up quickly. Having supplemental insurance offers a safety net to help keep these expenses from becoming lifelong, major debt.

What Does Medicare Supplement Plan F Cover?

Medicare Plan F is standardized to offer you the same benefits, no matter where you buy it. (If you live in Minnesota, Massachusetts or Wisconsin, however, supplement plans are standardized differently and you should consult your state-specific guidelines by speaking to a Medicare professional.)

Medicare Supplement Plan F covers:

  • Your Medicare Part A deductible
  • Your Medicare Part B deductible
  • Your copayment or coinsurance for Medicare Part A
  • Your coinsurance for a skilled nursing facility
  • Your coinsurance for hospice
  • Copayments for doctor’s visits
  • The first 3 pints of blood in a blood transfusion
  • 80% of emergency care when traveling outside of the US (first 60 days only) after a deductible
  • Any Medicare Part B excess charges e.g., physician charges more than Medicare-approved amount

Plan F covers all of your out-of-pocket costs left over after Medicare Parts A and B have paid.

Plan F covers all of your out-of-pocket costs left over after Medicare Parts A and B have paid. For instance, if you were to be admitted to the hospital for a surgical procedure without a supplement plan, you would have a $1,408 Part A deductible, and you would be responsible for 20% of the cost of the surgery. Supplement Plan F would cover all of these out-of-pocket costs. 

The only out-of-pocket cost not covered by Plan F is prescriptions. However, you can purchase a separate Part D plan to cover your prescriptions.

As a Supplement Plan F enrollee, you are responsible for your monthly premium and almost nothing else. Perhaps the reason so many people have chosen this plan over the years is simply that it relieves the responsibility of unforeseen medical bills and leaves them with peace of mind.

High Deductible Plan F

In some states, a high deductible Plan F is available in which you pay all of the costs not covered by Medicare until you reach your deductible amount of $2,340. This is offered for a lower monthly premium than the standard Plan F.

What Does Medicare Supplement Plan F Cost?

Although Medicare Supplement plans offer the same coverage no matter where you buy them, they are sold by private insurance companies and the prices can vary. Some examples of plans that may be available to you include:

  • Mutual of Omaha Medicare Supplement Plan F
  • Humana Medicare Supplement Plan F
  • AARP Medicare Supplement Plan F from United Healthcare

Variables that may affect the price include where you live, your age, your gender and your status as a smoker or nonsmoker.

Frequently Asked Questions

Still wondering whether Plan F is right for you? The following questions and answers may help address your concerns.

Is Medicare Supplement Plan F going away in 2020? 

No. Plan F is still available to Medicare recipients who were enrolled in Medicare prior to January 1, 2020. It will continue to be available for these members to purchase. People who are new to Medicare in 2020, however, are not eligible for Plan F and must choose a different plan.

If I already have Supplement Plan F, can I lose my coverage if I have too many claims? 

No. Medigap plans are guaranteed renewable, regardless of your health conditions. Companies cannot cancel your coverage as long as you pay your monthly premiums. 

Is there anything Medigap plans don’t cover? 

Yes, they typically do not cover long-term care, vision or dental care, hearing aids, eyeglasses or private nursing. For coverage of these types of services, look for a Medicare Advantage plan. 

What is the difference between Medicare Supplement Plans F and G? 

Plan G and Plan F are very similar. They cover all of the same items, except in Plan G your Part B deductibles are not covered. Changes to the law beginning in 2020 do not allow new enrollees to choose a plan that covers Part B deductibles, so for new enrollees Plan G is likely as close as they can get to Plan F coverage.

Plan F is still available to Medicare recipients who were enrolled in Medicare prior to January 1, 2020. It will continue to be available for these members to purchase.

Do I need a Medicare Supplement Plan if I already have a Medicare Advantage Plan? 

No. It is illegal for an insurance company to sell you a Medicare Supplement plan if you already have a Medicare Advantage plan, unless you are switching back to Original Medicare.

Do I have to be enrolled in both Medicare Parts A and B to enroll in Medigap? 

Yes.

I have had Medicare coverage for many years. Can I still choose Plan F? 

Yes, if you are not a new enrollee in Medicare, you may choose Plan F even if you haven’t chosen Plan F in the past.

I’m new to Medicare in 2020, and I want to choose Plan F for my supplemental coverage. What should I do? 

Unfortunately, Plan F is not available to you. Plan G is likely to be the plan that most closely matches the coverage you desire.

I was eligible for Medicare prior to January 2020, but I was not enrolled in a Medicare Supplement plan. Am I able to choose Supplement Plan F as my Medigap plan?

You still may be able to purchase one of these plans.

My spouse is enrolled in Medicare Supplement Plan F. Do I need to enroll separately? 

Yes, Medigap plans must be purchased individually.

Are all Plan Fs the same? Why do they cost different amounts? 

Yes, when you purchase Medicare Supplement Plan F the coverage is the same no matter which insurance company offers the coverage, with the exception of those who live in Massachusetts, Minnesota or Wisconsin. Although they offer standardized coverage, private insurance companies offer different prices that vary based on location, gender, age and other individual variables.