Medicare Plan G Reviews: Medigap Plan G in 2021
- Medigap Plan G will likely soon become the most popular Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan, becoming more popular than Plan F. Read our review of Plan G to see if it’s the right Medigap plan for you, too.
There will likely be a lot of Medicare beneficiaries looking for Plan G reviews in the months and years to come. That’s because recent federal legislation bars anyone who became eligible for Medicare on or after January 1, 2020 from enrolling in Medicare Supplement Plan F, which has for years been the most popular plan due to its comprehensive coverage.
If you first became eligible for Medicare after Jan. 1, 2020, you won’t be able to apply for Plan F, so Plan G will be the type of Medicare Supplement plan that offers nearly as many benefits as Plan F that you may be able to apply for if it’s available where you live.
In an effort to provide some guidance to incoming Medicare beneficiaries (and current Medicare beneficiaries who are considering a new Medigap plan), we’ve put together this review of Plan G, covering its benefits, the leading Medicare Supplement Insurance companies and much more.
Is Medicare Plan G Worth It?
Plan G already had the second-highest enrollment rate among all Medigap plans, even before the new Plan F enrollment rule took effect in 2020. Plan G is also the fastest growing Medigap plan in terms of enrollment, with a 39% enrollment surge year-to-year in recent years.
With new beneficiaries now blocked from enrolling in Plan F, Plan G is now the Medigap plan offering the most comprehensive coverage to new Medicare beneficiaries, and it will likely hold the largest share of the market in the near future.
What Is the Best Medicare Supplement Plan G Company?
Like all Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) plans, you may only apply for Plan G if it’s available for purchase where you live. Not all plans are available in all markets or from all carriers.
66% of all insurance companies that sell Medigap policies sell Plan G. Plan G is available in parts of every state and U.S. territory. There are many different insurance companies that sell Plan G, and you can use the Medigap plan finder tool on Medicare.gov – the official Medicare site – to view the available plans and carriers in your zip code.
Some of the top Medicare Supplement Insurance companies that offer Plan G in a number of states include:
What Does Medicare Supplement Plan G Cover?
There are 9 benefit areas covered by the 10 standardized Medicare Supplement Insurance plans that are available in most states, and Plan G covers 8 of those possible benefits.
Medicare Part A Deductible
Medicare Part A beneficiaries are required to meet a deductible of $1,484 for each benefit period in 2021 before Part A coverage takes effect. This means that if you’re admitted to the hospital for inpatient care, you must first spend $1,484 of your own money before your Medicare Part A benefits kick in.
It’s important to note that the Part A deductible can reset more than once in a year. You have the meet the deductible each time you have a benefit period, which starts once you are admitted for inpatient care and ends once you have been discharged and have stopped receiving inpatient care for 60 days. If you’re admitted to the hospital for inpatient care again after 60 days, however, you will be in a new benefit period and will have to meet the deductible all over again before your Pat A benefits kick in for your new hospital stay.
Plan G covers 100% of your Part A deductible costs, no matter how many benefit periods you face in a single year.
Medicare Part A Coinsurance
Part A also requires you to pay coinsurance payments beginning on day 61 of acovered inpatient stay at a hospital. Although it’s uncommon to stay in the hospital longer than 60 days, the daily costs of such a long stay could add up quickly.
Your Part A coinsurance costs are $371 per day for days 61 through 90 in 2021, and $742 per day for 60 additional lifetime reserve days. After your lifetime reserve days are used up, you’re responsible for 100% of the daily coinsurance costs.
Plan G fully covers Part A coinsurance payments along with an additional 365 days of inpatient hospital costs after all of your lifetime reserve days are exhausted.
Medicare Part B Coinsurance and Copayments
Medicare Part B requires you to pay coinsurance payments of typically 20% of the Medicare-approved amount for certain covered services and items. This can include things like doctor’s office visits or X-rays and even more potentially expensive services like cancer treatments.
Plan G covers these Part B coinsurance and copays in full.
First 3 Pints of Blood
Medicare beneficiaries are responsible for the cost of the first 3 pints of blood needed for a blood transfusion if the hospital doesn’t offer free blood from a blood bank. But Plan G covers 100% of the cost of these first 3 pints of blood, and Medicare Part B will cover the cost of any additional blood you need.
Part A Hospice Care Coinsurance or Copayment
Copayments of no more than $5 may be required for drugs and other products used for symptom control and pain relief during hospice care. Inpatient respite care can also require a coinsurance of 5%. Plan G covers all of these hospice copays and coinsurance payments in full.
Part A Skilled Nursing Facility Care Coinsurance
If you have to receive inpatient care at a skilled nursing facility, Medicare Part A requires you to pay daily coinsurance payments of $185.50 per day for days 21 through 100 of your stay in 2021. Plan G provides full coverage of these cost requirements.
Part B excess charges
Certain health care providers are allowed to charge up to 15% more than the Medicare-approved amount for their services in what is called an “excess charge.” Plan G covers Part B excess charges in full.
Foreign travel emergency care
Emergency care received outside the U.S. or U.S. territories is only covered by Medicare in rare circumstances. Plan G covers 80% of the cost of such care, which is the maximum allowed by any type of Medigap insurance plan.
The chart below shows how Medigap Plan G stacks up against the benefits of other types of Medigap plans.
|Medicare Supplement Benefits||A||B||C1||D||F1||G||K||L||M||N|
|Part A coinsurance and hospital costs||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Part B coinsurance or copayment||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||50%||75%||✓||✓|
|First 3 pints of blood||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||50%||75%||✓||✓|
|Part A hospice care co-insurance or co-payment||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||50%||75%||✓||✓|
|Co-insurance for skilled nursing facility||✓||✓||✓||✓||50%||75%||✓||✓|
|Medicare Part A deductible||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||50%||75%||50%||✓|
|Medicare Part B deductible||✓||✓|
|Medicare Part B excess charges||✓||✓|
|Foreign travel emergency||80%||80%||80%||80%||80%||80%|
|1. Plans C and F are not available to new beneficiaries who became eligible for Medicare on or after January 1, 2020.
2. Plans F and G also offer a high deductible plan which has an annual deductible of $2,370 in 2021. Once the annual deductible is met, the plan pays 100% of covered services for the rest of the year. The high deductible Plan F is not available to new beneficiaries who became eligible for Medicare on or after January 1, 2020.
3. Plan K has an out-of-pocket yearly limit of $6,220 in 2021. Plan L has an out-of-pocket yearly limit of $3,110 in 2021.
4. Plan N pays 100% of the Part B coinsurance, except for a copayment of up to $20 for some office visits and up to $50 for emergency room visits that don’t result in an inpatient admission.
View an image version of this table.
Is Plan G Better Than Plan F?
Plan G covers all of the same things as Plan F, with only one exception. While Plan F covers the Medicare Part B deductible, Plan G does not.
New Medicare beneficiaries aren’t allowed to purchase Plan F any longer because the federal government reasoned that beneficiaries who do not have to pay a deductible or any coinsurance for routine doctor’s office appointments (which are subject to the Part B deductible) might over-utilize their coverage and bog down the health care system with every runny nose and sore thumb. By forcing beneficiaries to pay the Part B deductible, they now have some “skin in the game” and may think twice before going to the doctor for minor ailments.
The Medicare Part B deductible is $203 per year in 2021, which is a smaller cost requirement than some other out-of-pocket Medicare costs.
If you first became eligible for Medicare before Jan. 1, 2020, you may still enroll in Plan F if it’s available where you live. However, it would be wise to weigh the difference in premiums between Plan F and Plan G against the cost of the Part B deductible. The $203 Part B deductible works out to roughly $17 per month.
Many people find that the higher premium for Plan F accounts for more than $17 per month more than a Plan G option in their area. In this case, you may be better off paying the lower premiums of Plan G and simply paying the Part B deductible out of pocket. That will save you money over the course of the year if you meet the Part B deductible.
What Is High-Deductible Plan G?
A high-deductible version of Plan G also exists in some areas. With this option, beneficiaries must first satisfy a deductible of $2,370 (in 2021) before the plan begins covering costs. The tradeoff for the deductible is a lower monthly premium.
High-deductible Plan G may be a good option for those who want to maximize their coverage but don’t anticipate receiving a lot of care and are budgeting mostly for an emergency situation.
How Much Does Plan G Cost per Month?
The cost of Plan G can vary within a wide range. Generally speaking, Plan G may be more expensive than other Medigap plans except for Plan F since some carriers may price their plans based on the benefits offered. In some areas, however, Plan G premiums may be lower than other Medigap plan premiums because more people are enrolled in Plan G, which may allow some insurance companies to charge lower premium costs.
Some of the variables that can factor into the price of a Medigap plan include:
Plan G sold in a major city may have higher monthly premiums than Plan G sold in a more rural part of the country, partly due to the different costs of living between the respective markets.
Medicare Supplement Insurance is sold on the private market, where each insurance carrier is free to set their own prices to remain competitive within the market.
Some carriers may charge higher rates to older enrollees or have a pricing structure that feature increasing premium costs as plan members age.
If you apply for a Medigap plan outside of your Medigap open enrollment period or during any other time when you don’t have a guaranteed issue right, you may be subject to medical underwriting. Depending on your health, an insurance company may use underwriting to determine your monthly premium cost or deny you coverage altogether, which they can’t do if you apply when you have a guaranteed issue right.
It’s not uncommon for insurance carriers to offer discounts on Medigap policies for being a non-smoker, being married or for other reasons. Be sure to ask the insurance company or your licensed insurance agent about any discounts you may be able to qualify for.
You can use the Medigap plan finder tool on Medicare.gov to get more concrete pricing details about Plan G options in your area, or you can work with a licensed insurance agent to help you find the best deal on a Plan G option near you.