The Ins-and-Outs of Medicare Plans N and G
What is Medicare Supplement Insurance & What Does it Cover?
Medicare supplement insurance, also commonly referred to as Medigap coverage, helps fill in some of the gaps left by Original Medicare parts A and B.
Specifically, Medigap coverage is designed to pay co-insurance, deductibles, and copays left off by original Medicare.
However, it’s important to emphasize that Medigap plans don’t provide coverage for certain things like long-term care, private-duty nursing, vision (eye exams, glasses, contacts), dental (oral exams, cleanings, dentures, fillings), and hearing care (including hearing aids).
With these details in mind, Medigap insurance isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Instead, while all plans—each of which is lettered A through N—offer the same primary benefits, there are some meaningful differences between plans G and N, which we’ll explore in greater detail in a moment. This way, you can choose the policy that most closely meets your unique mix of needs and preferences.
What’s the Difference Between a Medigap Insurance and an Advantage Plan?
Like Medigap coverage, Advantage plans are also sold by third-party insurance companies. However, the latter are designed to replace Original Medicare, along with any Medigap insurance you might have already purchased.
In fact, unless you’re willing to switch to Original Medicare, it’s illegal for anyone to sell you a Medigap policy if you already have a Medicare Advantage Plan in place.
What’s the Difference Between Medigap Plans G and N?
While 14 different Medigap plans are available, each independent insurance company decides which ones it wants to sell (depending on state law). This way, they don’t have to offer every Medigap plan.
IHS Pro Tip: If an insurance company offers any Medigap policies, they must offer Plan A, as well as Plans C or F.
Here’s a quick rundown of the different coverages available under Medigap Plans G and N, which is taken from Medicare.gov’s Medigap comparison:
|Medigap Plans G vs. N|
|Medigap Benefits||Plan G||Plan N|
|Part A coinsurance and hospital costs||Yes||Yes|
|Part B coinsurance or copayment||Yes||Yes, except for a copayment of up to $20 for some office visits and up to a $50 copayment for emergency room visits that don’t result in inpatient admission|
|Blood (first 3 pints)||Yes||Yes|
|Part A hospice care coinsurance or copayment||Yes||Yes|
|Skilled nursing facility care coinsurance||Yes||Yes|
|Part A deductible||Yes||Yes|
|Part B deductible||No||No|
|Part B excess charge||Yes||No|
|Foreign travel exchange (up to plan limits)||80%||80%|
As you can see, the plans have more in common than otherwise. The most significant difference is that Plan N requires a small copay, whereas Plan G waives any copayments for Medicare Part B services.
Also, the new G plan is now a Guaranteed Issuance policy under Medicare. N policies are still fully underwritten once an individual is outside their Medicare open enrollment period. So, from a rate stability standpoint, we find Plan N is more stable than Plan G when it comes to rate increases.
Because of Plan G’s guaranteed issue feature, insurance carriers are experiencing more significant claims since they’re required to take on more claims risk than they normally would accept under Plan N.
Plan G High-Deductible Option
Another important distinction is that Plan G also features a high-deductible option, where you’ll be responsible for paying a $2,370 deductible, after which your costs will drop to $0 for hospital (Part A) coverage, along with a $203 Medical (Part B) deductible.
With these details in mind, let’s take a closer look at how much you can expect to pay for plans G and N.
What’s the Price Difference Between Medicare Supplement Plans G and N?
Because licensed insurance companies sell their own Medigap plans, each one sets its prices. Consequently, there are a wide variety of factors that can impact how much you pay for supplement plans, including:
- You location
- Your gender
- Your age
- Your history of tobacco use
- Discounts (married individuals; paying your premium yearly; using EFT (electronic funds transfer); having multiple policies with the same company, etc.)
- Whether or not the company uses medical underwriting
Furthermore, the Medicare.gov website explains that “Medigap policy premiums can be priced or “rated” in three ways:”
- Community-rated 一 When premiums increase, it won’t be because of your age. Everyone’s charged the same rate.
- Issue-age-rated (aka “entry age-rated”) 一 Rates are based on your age when you purchase coverage (i.e., the company “issues” your policy). Generally speaking, the older you are upon issuance, the more you’ll pay. On the upside, your rates won’t increase due to your age in the future.
- Attained-age-rated 一 Rates are based on your current “attained” age. As long as you stick with this type of rating, your rates will continually increase as you get older.
With all of this said, according to rates on Medicare.gov’s Find a Medigap Plan tool,** you could pay anywhere between $146 and $276 per month for Plan G, which drops to $50-$88 for the high-deductible option. Plan N will cost you between $124 and $241 per month.
Some Key Facts to Keep in Mind
Regardless of your specific monthly Medigap premium, it’s important to emphasize that what you pay is in addition to the monthly Part B premium that you pay to Medicare. Also, these plans only cover one person, so you’ll have to purchase coverage for each individual who needs it (e.g., spouses).
Don’t forget to pay your premium when it’s due, though, because Medigap plans are guaranteed renewable ― even if you have health problems, as long as your coverage doesn’t cancel for non-payment.
In addition to what you pay, are there any other factors you should keep in mind when choosing between plans G and N?
How Can You Choose Between Medicare Supplement Plans G and N?
In 3 Steps For Choosing Your 2020 Medigap Plan, we explain that buying process can be broken down into these core parts:
- Part 1: Selecting a plan ― As outlined earlier, Plan N features lower copayments in certain circumstances and also doesn’t slap you with a Part B excess charge.
- Part 2: Deciding how much to pay ― You can pay widely different premiums depending on the plan you choose and who issues the coverage.
- Part 3: Choosing an insurance carrier ― Learning as much as you can about the insurance company with whom you plan to do business, including their financial stability rating, how long they have been in the Medigap market, and online policyholder feedback.
What’s the bottom line when it comes to Medicare Supplement Plans G and N?
Where Can You Learn More About Medicare Supplement Plans G and N?
IHS Insurance Group has helped clients like you choose the best Medigap plans over the course of 10+ years, based on your unique combination of needs and preferences. You can turn to us for any questions or concerns, and we’ll provide you with prompt, thoughtful advice.
Need a FREE Quote or have questions regarding Medicare or Medigap Coverage? We have three convenient ways to reach us:
- If you prefer to talk to a licensed agent directly, please call (866) 480 5063
- If you prefer to fill out a quick form and have an agent get back to you at your convenience, use the GET A FREE QUOTE tool.
- Lastly, for those that want an immediate quote, please click HERE.
Also, check out our Medicare FAQs here.
** Based on a 70-year old male non-smoker in the 90210 zip code, as of 7/22/21.