Medicare supplements are a necessary expense for anyone on Medicare to secure their finances.
While there are ten plans available in most states, Medicare Supplement Plan N is one of the more popular plans available.
If you’ve chosen to enroll in Plan N, you will need to accept cost-sharing under certain circumstances. You might need to pay up to $20 when visiting a doctor. The co-payment can go up to as much as $50 if you’re treated in the emergency room without being admitted.
Naturally, if you end up being admitted to the hospital, that co-payment will fall away completely. The co-payments are there as a way to prevent people from running to the doctor or E.R. for any little issue.
Medicare Supplement Plan N does not extend to any Part B deductible or excess charge.
Your benefits cover:
- This covers hospital coinsurance along with additional costs for a total of a year once Medicare Part A benefits have been exhausted. This coverage can provide you with a bit more peace of mind.
- Medicare Part A hospice co-payments or coinsurance.
- Medicare Part A deductible.
- You are covered for co-payments or coinsurance from Medicare Part B. This does not include the co-payments of $20 and $50 that we mentioned earlier, so you will still need to pay these out of pocket. If there are amounts over and above that, the plan will kick in and cover the rest.
- Three free pints of blood for a year. If you are undergoing a medical procedure and need a blood transfusion, this benefit kicks in for the first three pints that you need.
- Coinsurance to allow you to receive care at a nursing facility.
- Care, if necessary, during a foreign emergency. This is limited up to 80% and must fall within the limits of your plan. This should be an adjunct to your insurance, not as a replacement for complete travel insurance.
The basic benefits for Medigap Plan N are the same across the board. This is to ensure that coverage offered is the same no matter what company you’re dealing with. That said, because a range of private insurers sells the plan, your premium can be vastly different.
We recommend looking at not just the premium that you will pay straight away, but also considering how your premiums may increase. Find out how the company determines when and how much to increase your premiums. Your company will use one of the following to determine increases:
- Community-rated: This means that everyone pays the same, no matter how old they are.
- Issue-age-rated: Your premium depends on how old you were when you signed up. Your premium shouldn’t increase because you get older.
- Attained-age: Your premium will increase as you get older. These tend to work out the priciest over the term of the policy.
Also, most companies will increase their premiums on an annual basis to allow for inflation. The only way to establish what your plan will cost you is to get a quote. You should get quotes from a few different companies to find the best possible deal.
You can enroll in this plan if you have already enlisted for Medicare Parts A and B together. You will also need to ensure that the plan is available in the area you live in.
If you’re not sure whether or not Plan N applies to your area, there are many online tools that can assist you. With most, all you need to do is to enter your zip code. The tool will then be able to check whether the plan applies in your area or not.
It’s best to enroll as soon as you can during the Open Enrollment Period. This is the six months from when you are sixty-five and older and have also enrolled yourself in Medicare Part B. To clarify, the open period starts when you have achieved the age of sixty-five and also have enrolled in Medicare Part B.
If you’re sixty-four, you’re not eligible. If you’re seventy-six and have not enrolled in Medicare Part B, you’re also not eligible.
We do recommend that you stick to this enrollment period. During this time, you cannot be denied acceptance, no matter what health issues you have. The company may also not reject your application or load premiums during this stage.
Once that six-month period is up, however, things change. If you’ve left it too long, the insurer is allowed to charge you a higher premium or even decline to cover you because of health issues. Do yourself a favor and get this sorted out as soon as you can. This is especially important if you have pre-existing conditions that might affect the level of coverage that you can enjoy.
Medigap Plan F
Plan F is the most popular alternative because of its simplicity. If you feel that Plan N is not going to suit you, Medigap Plan F might be the answer. Plan F is slightly more expensive but allows you to do away with any copays or coinsurance.
Medigap Plan G
Plan G is probably the second most popular plan. It has slightly less expensive premiums from Plan F, but Medigap Plan G requires that you pay the Part B deductible.
Medigap Plan C
Unlike Plan G, Plan C will cover the Pat B Deductible. Medigap Plan C will not, however, cover any excess charges a doctor may charge over the Medicare recommended amount for a service.
This can be as much as 15% higher than the recommended charge.
Plan F vs Plan N
If you are someone who regularly needs to go to the doctor, Plan F might work out more economically for you in the long run. If you are someone who is in pretty good health, Plan N allows you to save some money. You’ll need to come up with the copayment, but if you don’t need medical attention often, that shouldn’t be a huge expense.
Our recommendation is to think carefully about what your needs are now and what they are bound to be in the future. Do you foresee a lot of doctor’s consultations in your future? Then paying the extra premium for Plan F would be a good idea.
Say, for example, that Plan F would cost you $150 per month, and Plan N would cost you $95 per month. Over the course of a year, that means Plan F will cost an extra $660. That’s thirty-three visits to the doctor or about thirteen visits to the emergency room. If you’re going to see the doctor once or twice a year, it would hardly be worth paying the extra sum of money.
Medicare Supplement Plan N Bottom Line
Medigap Plan N is a very popular and useful supplemental policy. If you are OK with the added risk of what it does not cover, in exchange for lower premiums than Plan F or G, then it is a very useful plan.
The most important step to take with any Medicare supplement is to make sure you get quotes from several insurance companies so you can compare rates and make sure you are getting the best policy for your needs.