Your Medicare Advantage plan can change every year. The benefits can change, the premium can increase or the plan may not renew for the following year. What if you don’t like the changes? Or maybe your Medicare Advantage plan is not renewing for the following year. Take a look at Medicare supplement plan N as a viable alternative.
Medigap Plan N was introduced in June 2010 as one of the new Modernized Medicare supplement plans. Plan N offers more freedom than an Advantage plan, as well as lower premiums than most supplements. In some cases, plan N will have lower premiums than some Advantage plans.
If you have never been insured through a Medicare supplement and have always be covered by a Medicare Advantage plan, get out * Part video Mini-Course to help you understand the plan differences.
Plan N benefits
Medicare Part A:
- Part A hospital deductible
- Part A hospital coinsurance
- Skilled nursing facility coinsurance
- Hospice co-payment/coinsurance
Medicare Part B:
- Part B outpatient coinsurance
- Foreign travel emergency – 80% to lifetime max of $50,000 after $250 calendar year deductible
Premiums for Medicare supplement plan N are less than other supplements because the policy holder will share some of the outpatient costs. If you purchase plan N, you will be responsible for:
- The Part B deductible – currently $183 annually
- Up to a $20 co-pay for a doctors visit
- Up to a $50 co-pay for an emergency room visit
- Any Part B Excess Charges will be your responsibility
Comparing Plan N between companies couldn’t be easier. Since benefits are standardized all companies will be offering the identical plan. It just comes down to price and how you feel about a particular company. You can compare Plan N by visiting the eHealthInsurance website.
The reasoning behind Medigap Plan N as an alternative to a Medicare Advantage plan
You are not bound by any network restrictions with a Medicare supplement. Unlike a Medicare HMO, you have more freedom to choose your providers. These plans offer standardized benefits from one company to the next, (unlike an Advantage plan) and are readily accepted by medical providers. Because these are standardized plans, it is easy to compare one company to another.
AARP Medicare supplement plan N for example, will include identical benefits as Mutual of Omaha plan N or any other company’s Plan N. The difference is price and the perceived level of customer service.
Other than the small co-pays for doctors visits and ER visits, you will have very little out-of-pocket expense. No deductibles or daily co-pays for inpatient hospital stays are required. You may have less out-of-pocket expenses for some outpatient procedures. Many Advantage plans require the same coinsurance levels as original Medicare for outpatient surgery and other medical services. Your plan N supplement will cover the 20% coinsurance for outpatient surgery.
Unlike an Advantage plan, Medigap plan N is not an annual plan and you are not subject to enrollment periods. Many providers are offering plan N with limited underwriting and pre-existing conditions are not relevant in many cases. If your Medicare Advantage plan does not renew for the following year you are guaranteed acceptance into a Medicare supplement plan.
What are you missing?
Supplements fill in the gaps left by Medicare. You are generally not afforded additional benefits, like dental, vision or gym memberships. So you need to determine the importance of these ancillary services compared to the freedom and level of coverage offered by the supplement.
Medicare supplements do not include Part D drug coverage. You will need to purchase a separate drug plan. You will still be subject to Part D enrollment periods.
Whether or not the plan will fit your budget is obviously a huge factor. But that said, there are Advantage plans with higher premiums than plan N.
One benefit of a standardized plan, is that it lends itself to being easy to shop for online. Unlike an Advantage plan, you don’t need to meet with countless agents to learn about the different benefits. The benefits are the same with Medicare supplement plan N and you should be able to compare plans online with little trouble.