Which Medicare Supplement is Best

What Are You Looking For?

In some ways, the question, “Which Medicare supplement is the best?,” is like asking, “Which car is the best?” That question needs to be countered with, “Well, what are you looking for? Do you want a car that is reliable, or are you looking for comfort, or do you want great gas mileage, or would you like one that is a head-turner . . . ?”

Notice the focus on you in this last series of questions. Whenever I meet with someone, I want to help and guide them toward the best for them. Thus, the better question is not, “Which Medicare supplement is best?”, but, “Which Medicare supplement is best for you?” This helps to narrow the field. (This article focuses on Medicare supplements; note that there are definitely differences between supplements and Advantage Plans.)

The Top Ten Choices

While, there are not nearly as many choices when it comes to Medicare supplements as there are when buying a car, there are some. If you want the lowest premium and don’t mind the risk of paying an annual deductible of $2,180, you might go with the high-deductible Plan F. Or, perhaps, you want a low premium but don’t want a high deductible on your plan—and don’t mind taking the risk of no cap on your out-of-pocket spending, then you may want Plan N. Or, maybe you want the Cadillac of all supplements, so you choose Plan F. So you do have choices; after all, there are ten different Medicare supplements, which have varying deductibles (or no deductibles), copays, and coverage. (However, there are some things they all have in common—what Medicare supplements do not cover.)

Understand How Medicare Works

Therefore, we could get very complex in this article, but I have made it a practice to make the complex simple; so, let’s narrow down the list. However, before reading further, it is important for you to understand how Medicare works in order to better understand how the supplements work. Keep in mind that a Medicare supplement can only provide coverage on a medical event that Medicare covers; it works in conjuncture with Medicare. So, you might want to read (or re-read) my blog post on “How Does Medicare Work?”

Narrowing the List of Medicare Supplements

The most popular Medicare supplement is Plan F, followed by Plan G, then Plan N. The high-deductible Plan F drops to halfway down the list in terms of popularity. Due to the amount of potential out-of-pocket costs (money you would have to pay for deductibles, copays, and not covered expenses), people tend to avoid the seven least popular supplements; and I concur with that avoidance. So, let’s fast-forward to the three most popular supplements and analyze them.

What’s Wrong with Plan N?

The third most popular supplement is Plan N. In my opinion, it sits in this position because of its low premium (at least with some insurance companies) and because of its appearance of fairly low out-of-pocket costs. I say “appearance” because one could actually have an extensive bill with the N Plan; and here is where we approach its downside.

Like Plan F and Plan G, the N Plan does a great job of covering Part A out-of-pocket potential expenses. On medical events covered by Medicare (keep in mind the basic adage that if Medicare does not cover something, the supplement will not cover it, either) under Part A, Plan N will pick up the rest, including the Part A deductible, the per day hospital stay and the per day skilled nursing stay (that is, from days 21 to 100). However, expenses could still be incurred in the hospital under Plan N—those which fall under Part B Medicare.

Under Part B coverage, Plan N has a deductible, which is $223 (2023). After meeting the deductible, which applies for doctor office visits, doctor charges in the hospital, and outpatient medical (labs, tests, x-rays, MRIs, etc.), there is a $20 copay for each Part B charge. In addition, there is a $50 copay for each emergency room visit. However, the two most problematic issues with Plan N are: the excess fee and no maximum out of pocket on the insured’s expenses.

The excess fee applies to doctors who choose not to accept a Medicare assignment (that is, they choose not to limit themselves to Medicare’s contractual payment to doctors). Those particular doctors can charge an extra 15% over and above Medicare’s contractual agreement. So who gets stuck paying the extra 15%? The insured who possesses the N Plan gets to pay it, which can really add up.

Suppose you have a hospital stay in which half a dozen doctors bill you (not unusual at all!). Let’s say two of those doctors have not accepted a Medicare assignment (entirely possible). This would mean you get to pay two bills of an additional 15% charge! Depending on the original charge, this could be a significant hit to the pocketbook!

On top of that, with Plan N, you will get charged a $20 copay for each bill the other doctors charge you. Even worse, there is no cap on your out-of-pocket spending with the N Plan. You could just keep getting billed!

For these reasons, I do not recommend Plan N. But we have two more supplements to examine.

Plan F: Is It Worth It?

The F Plan is currently the most popular of all the supplements; however, it will soon be replaced in that position by Plan G. Its coverage and convenience have made Plan F the choice of many in the past. On any medical event covered by Medicare, the holder of the F Plan should have zero out of pocket! This makes this plan very convenient, as the insured does not have to mess with copays and deductibles; just show your card, and that’s the end of it.

Up till recently (the past year, or so), Plan F, among many insurance companies, has been a good buy. But two things have occurred which have caused me to recommend the G Plan.

First, a number of insurance companies have lowered the premium on Plan G. With some companies, the Plan G premium is low enough that the insured will save approximately $200 per year with the G Plan versus Plan F, even after meeting the Plan G deductible.

Second, as of 2020, Plan F and Plan C will no longer be offered, plans which pay the Part B deductible. Because insurance premiums are based, largely, on claims and the size of the pool of insureds (that is, for example, the amount of people in a particular area who have Plan F), when a plan is no longer offered, the size of that insured pool will eventually shrink. When it shrinks, it will not have the ability to absorb claims as well, which will cause premiums to go up. This all means that, eventually, Plan F will become very expensive to have. And because, outside of your introductory open enrollment, you need to health-qualify to change supplements, it is better to get the right plan now. (Look for another article on this topic.)

Plan G: The Winner!

This leaves Plan G as my recommendation for a supplement. It provides the best value when looking at coverage versus premium. However, with the supplement decision solved, there still remains the choice of insurance company which carries Plan G.

Which Insurance Company Is the Best for You?

Many insurance companies offer Plan G, so which one is the best for you? In answering this question, it is important to realize that Medicare has designed all of the supplements but has handed them over to private insurance companies to administrate and to sell. In addition, Medicare is in control of the coverage, as Medicare determines what is covered; and the supplement, then, follows Medicare’s lead in payment of claims.

All of this means that Plan G will be exactly the same plan from one insurance company to the next. There will be no difference in how your Plan G pays claims, even if you get the plan with the most expensive of insurance companies.

In fact, there will only be two differences in a Plan G from one insurance company to the next: 1) the premium the insurance company charges for that plan currently; and, 2) the rate increases the company may have in the future. While no one can predict the future, a good, experienced, independent (all key terms) insurance agent should be able to tell you about past performance (past rate increases) of companies, which can be used as a predictor of future rate increases. Such an agent should also be able to let you know about companies with the lowest Plan G rates in your area.

Based on all of this information, what is the best Medicare supplement for you? In my opinion, it is Plan G with the insurance company with the lowest premium and lowest history of rate increases in your area. Just find the agent who will help you enroll on that plan, and you will be doing yourself well with your Medicare coverage.

Wes SmithWes Smith
23:36 15 Jul 24
John Claeys has the highest standards conducting business. His knowledge and attention to detail makes every client... informed and comfortable with what they are purchasing. Exceptional service.read more
Don McCartyDon McCarty
00:36 07 May 24
Very helpful, friendly, and knowledgeable. Plan pricing was accurate, and I was kept informed throughout the process.
Susan BleuerSusan Bleuer
11:28 02 May 24
John Claeys is a great insurance agent. He is very pleasant and professional to work with and will get you the best... insurance at the lowest price. He is quick to return phone calls and resolve issues. We highly recommend him for your insurance needs.read more
Rick RogersRick Rogers
16:14 01 May 24
If if spent a week studying the options for Medicare and all of the choices that go along with it, I’m sure that I... would still be uncertain about what to do. John does a great job of explaining all of the options, including the advantages and disadvantages of each. I recommend him highly without any reservations.read more
Shari BrockShari Brock
22:12 18 Apr 24
John sat down with both of us and explained everything and answered any questions we had. He researched for the best... plans for us. Highly recommend!!read more
Eric GuvernatorEric Guvernator
03:16 16 Apr 24
With all the endless solicitations I had received as I approached my 65th birthday, I had never expected to feel so... comfortable and relieved to have John guide me seamlessly through the process. I couldn’t have asked for a finer experience. Not really having a clue going into our meeting, I left having confidence that I was gifted with the perfect plan as well as an advocate in my corner.I continue to get timely explanations and guidance anytime I send a question on Medicare material.If like me you are approaching this monumental deadline, contact John and let him handle this important process. You will not be disappointed.read more
Judi CarrollJudi Carroll
23:28 15 Apr 24
John answered all my questions and found me a great plan at an affordable premium.
Lynn SmithLynn Smith
20:41 15 Apr 24
The change to Medicare and supplemental health insurance can be terrifying. John Claeys and The Claeys Group Insurance... Services made the process unbelievably simple. John is incredibly knowledgeable and up to date on all of the latest requirements. He explained the process and my options in a very simple and concise way and easily helped guide me in making the best decision for my situation. I cannot imagine navigating this medicare system without him. I also feel confident that he will safeguard and watch my situation in the event of future changes. Knowing that he is watching out for me going forward is the best part of all!read more
Tena BoneTena Bone
18:06 15 Apr 24
John Claeys has been very thorough with every detail of this important decision for me and my future Healthcare. He has... such a sweet and caring spirit. I can't imagine using anyone else for my insurance needs.read more
Dollene BrownleeDollene Brownlee
15:26 10 Apr 24
John was very helpful explaining different Medicare options
January ShubertJanuary Shubert
13:50 08 Apr 24
Excellent customer service. Professional and knowledgeable. Received what I needed and wanted at a reasonable price.
Melton TimmonsMelton Timmons
23:05 05 Apr 24
John is a great person first. As an agent he is very knowledgeable of the products and services he offers. For every... question I had, he provided answers and solutions. I am very comfortable with him and if you need a capable agent, please contact John Claeys.read more
Rosa MartinRosa Martin
21:53 05 Apr 24
John is a very knowledgeable person in his profession. He has helped my husband, my sister, and myself to find the best... affordable insurance for each of us…He made navigating through Medicare a breeze for me. He is willing to help in any way and any time of the day.Thank you John for all your help.read more
Johnny CoffmanJohnny Coffman
16:33 05 Apr 24
He explained the ins and outs of how Medicare works and clarified the confusion. Highly recommend John Claeys!
Mark BleuerMark Bleuer
22:48 03 Apr 24
John is very professional and courteous. His knowledge and attention to detail is exemplary. I can highly recommend... Claeys Group Insurance. He does a great job.read more
sheila Rhynesheila Rhyne
14:58 03 Apr 24
I have had excellent customer service.Claeys insurance company has helped me for several years now and he does a... wonderful job setting me up with the right insurance that fits my needs .I really appreciate the job he does and Thank you again.read more
Scott GillScott Gill
00:34 03 Apr 24
Highly professional with attention to detail. Felt like John was genuinely interested in matching my needs to the... various options.read more
Karen DeemKaren Deem
21:02 02 Apr 24
John was very pleasant and professional. Medicare can be very confusing. He had all the answers for me.
Beth HamillBeth Hamill
17:52 02 Apr 24
I am so thankful for John's help and kindness...he explains everything so clearly and I feel confident that he is... truthful and finding the best plan for me.read more
Margie FisherMargie Fisher
22:38 13 Feb 24
My husband and I have used John's services for several years, as do many of our friends. At no time has his... recommendations let us down. He is kind, patient in making sure we understand our choices and was there for any and all questions afterwards. He would be our ONLY choice when it's your turn to use his insurance services. He will not let you down. What a professional! 🙂read more
Jerry JonesJerry Jones
02:27 08 Feb 24
John was very helpful in guiding me through the medicare choices. He explained everything thoroughly and answered all... my questions.read more
marvitta hallmarvitta hall
23:31 07 Feb 24
Tonda SammonsTonda Sammons
21:26 07 Feb 24
Judy CraftonJudy Crafton
20:54 07 Feb 24
Mr. Claesy, was a pleasure to work with on just a short time table, my not paying attention to dates for Medicare... changes! We really appreciated his response and meeting personally with us. We highly recommend him for your insurance needs. Thanks again for doing a wonderful service.read more
Dannie SkipperDannie Skipper
20:50 07 Feb 24
John was very helpful in selecting insurance companies for Roy. He demonstrated that he was very knowledgeable about... what was available and what was needed. He made recommendations, provided details, and gave good advice to us. He was flexible and did what we asked of him to complete the process of selecting the best insurance companies for the situation. We are grateful for his help and pleased with the results.read more
14:47 24 Jan 24
John is a very knowledgeable subject matter expert and is thorough in his approach. He takes time breaking down and... explaining what can be a somewhat complex subject and helps makes it easier to understand! John always has the best interests of his clients guiding his recommendations. We have found John's advice to be extremely helpful and would recommend him to anyone seeking health insurance.read more
Laura BogenschutzLaura Bogenschutz
18:06 21 Jan 24
John Claeys is the best! He has helped my husband and I tremendously with our Medicare and supplement coverage! He... breaks it down to where you can understand it! We would be so confused without John!! Thank you John for being there for us!!read more
Thompson FamilyThompson Family
15:46 18 Jan 24
John Claeys is one of the most knowledgeable individuals on Medicare and supplemental insurance plans you can ever... find. Not only is he very personable he also stays involved from year to year to ensure you have the best policies for your current needs.read more
Ingrid FauskeeIngrid Fauskee
23:21 17 Jan 24
I just got a Medicare plan through John Claeys. I was getting a lot of mail about Medicare and was so confused. Some... friends told me about John so I emailed him and he contacted me right away.. He was amazing! He went through everything with me, he explained every detail and was so patient with all my questions . So grateful to him for all he did. Thank you John.😁read more
John Claeys helped me understand the in's and out's of Medicare. He found the best insurance and prescription plan to... best suit my needs at an affordable price.Thank you John!Laurie Boriskieread more
Marsha AllenMarsha Allen
16:55 24 Oct 23
My experience with John was definitely 5 Star! He explained everything thoroughly, and simply. He answered all my... questions regarding Medicare completely. I would absolutely recommend John, without reservation.read more
Linda WilliamsLinda Williams
10:08 12 Jul 23
I had a 5 star experience and would recommend him. Always returning my calls promptly, very helpful and informative,... listened to what my needs was regarding my Medicare. I truly felt comfortable with John's help to navigate through the maze of Medicareread more
Cindy KulakCindy Kulak
14:51 18 Jun 23
John is very knowledgable, honest and ethical in helping clients evaluate Medicare options and get enrolled. He made... the process extremely easy for myself and my husband.read more
Dale SimsDale Sims
16:28 11 May 23
John did a great job of explaining Medicare and supplemental insurance. He was thorough and patient. He answered all of... my questions. I greatly appreciated his help.read more
Leeann MoosLeeann Moos
17:26 06 Apr 23
When I became eligible for Medicare, my phone was constantly under attack from Medicare options sales folk. Since I... needed help understanding my options and life is too short to do business with annoying people a little research was in order. Thats how I found John. His other customers seem very pleased with his service and I decided to give him a try. I was NOT disappointed! He did an excellent job for me, is extremely personable and I could not be happier. Thank you Johnread more

Leave a Reply