Medicare Supplement Plan N Reviews: 2021 Medigap Plans
- Medicare Supplement Plan N offers premiums that are typically lower than some other types of Medigap plans, while still offering coverage for a number of benefits. Read our Plan N review to learn what it covers, how much it costs and to see if it’s the right Medigap plan for you.
Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan N was introduced in 2010 and has since become a popular choice for beneficiaries looking for reliable coverage at an affordable premium.
Plan N is one of only two Medigap plans that has seen its enrollment rate increase in recent years, and the number of insurance companies selling plan N has also increased. Is Medicare Supplement Plan N right for you? Read our review of Medigap Plan N below to find out.
Is Medicare Plan N Good?
Medicare Supplement Plan N can often offer monthly premiums that are lower than the premiums for other types of Medigap plans offered in the same area. While several factors can affect Medigap plan prices, one reason insurance companies are able to offer Plan N with lower premiums is because the plan requires small predictable cost-sharing amounts.
For example, if you have Plan N and visit your doctor’s office for a routine covered visit, you’ll pay a copay of up to $20. And if you go to the emergency room but aren’t admitted to the hospital for inpatient care, you’ll probably have to pay a $50 copay. Aside from these two types of copay costs, however, most of your other out-of-pocket Medicare costs are covered by Plan N.
If you don’t visit the doctor regularly, and if you don’t expect to visit the ER too often, you may find Plan N to be a good low-cost fit for your needs.
Plan N – like all standard Medigap plans – doesn’t require you to visit doctors, hospitals or providers who are part of a plan network. This means that you can use Plan N wherever you go in the country, as long as the doctor you visit accepts Medicare.
What Does Medicare Supplement Plan N Cover?
There are nine benefit areas that can be covered by one of the 10 standardized Medicare Supplement Insurance plans available in most states, and Plan N provides coverage for all but two of them.
The comparison chart below shows what Plan N compares vs. other Medicare Supplement Insurance 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.
Part A Deductible
Beneficiaries must first satisfy a $1,484 deductible per benefit period in 2021 before any Part A inpatient hospital coverage kicks in. The deductible is based on each benefit period, which can theoretically reset more than once within the same year. This means that you could potentially have to pay the Part A deductible more than once in a year, depending on how often you’re admitted to the hospital for inpatient care.
Plan N covers the full cost of the Part A deductible, no matter how many Part A benefit periods you experience.
Medicare Part A Coinsurance
After you meet your Medicare Part A deductible, you’ll have to pay daily coinsurance costs if you’re in the hospital for longer than 60 days in the same benefit period. The coinsurance requirements for 2021 are $371 per day for days 61 through 90 of your stay, and $742 per day for each “lifetime reserve day” beyond day 90.
You have 60 lifetime reserve days to use over the course of your life, and you are then responsible for all inpatient costs once these days are exhausted.
Plan N provides 100% coverage of Medicare Part A coinsurance costs and also covers an additional 365 days of hospital costs after running out of lifetime reserve days.
Medicare Part B Coinsurance
Medicare Part B requires a coinsurance payment of 20% of the Medicare-approved amount for services and medical equipment after you meet your annual Part B deductible. This 20% cost can add up quickly for Part B covered services such as cancer treatments or medical imaging such as X-rays and MRIs.
Plan N covers the Medicare Part B coinsurance in full in most cases. As mentioned above, a copayment of up to $20 may be required for some doctor’s office visits, and Plan N members may face a copayment of up to $50 for emergency room visits that do not result in an inpatient admission.
First 3 Pints Of Blood
Original Medicare’s coverage of blood needed for a blood transfusion begins with the fourth pint, leaving beneficiaries responsible for the first three pints. If your hospital doesn’t provide free blood from a blood bank, you’ll have to pay for the costs out of your own pocket.
Plan N covers the complete cost of the first three pints of blood.
Part A Hospice Care Coinsurance And Copayments
Copayments of up to $5 may be required under Part A hospice coverage for medications and other products intended for symptom control or pain relief. Coinsurance of up to 5% is required for respite care.
Plan N fully covers both the copayments and coinsurance for hospice care.
Skilled Nursing Facility Care Coinsurance
If a beneficiary reaches 21 days of inpatient care at a skilled nursing facility within the same benefit period, a daily coinsurance payment of $185.50 per day will be required in 2021. Should the stay last longer than 100 days, the beneficiary will then become responsible for all costs.
Plan N covers 100% of the cost of any skilled nursing facility coinsurance.
Foreign Travel Emergency Care
Only in rare circumstances does Original Medicare provide any coverage for the cost of emergency care received outside the U.S. or U.S. territories.
Plan N provides 80% coverage of such care, which is the maximum allowed by Medicare Supplement Insurance plans.
What Does Medicare Supplement Plan N Not Cover?
There are two Medigap benefit areas for which Plan N does not provide any coverage.
Medicare Part B Deductible
Medicare Part B requires an annual deductible to be met before Part B coverage takes effect. For 2021, the deductible amount is $203 for the year.
Medicare Part B Excess Charges
Some health care providers maintain a contract with Medicare that allows them to charge up to 15% more than the Medicare-approved amount.
If your doctor or provider accepts Medicare assignment, it means that they agree to accept Medicare reimbursement as payment in full and they won’t charge any Part B excess charges. Even though Plan N doesn’t cover excess charges, you can easily avoid these costs by making sure you only visit doctors or providers who accept Medicare assignment. Be sure to ask your doctor whether they accept Medicare assignment before you get any treatment.
Is Medicare Plan N Better Than Plan F?
The comprehensive coverage of Plan F has made it the gold standard among Medicare Supplement plans for several years. There are three key differences between Plan N and Plan F, however, and you may find that Plan N is a better fit for you than the popular Plan F.
You may only enroll in Plan F if you became eligible for Medicare before January 1, 2020. If you did not become eligible for Medicare until that date or later, federal legislation prevents you from enrolling in Plan F. If you were eligible for Medicare before 2020, however, you can still apply for Plan F if it’s available where you live.
Plan F offers coverage in all 9 of Medigap benefit areas, which includes everything found in Plan N plus coverage of the Medicare Part B deductible and excess charges. Plan F also does not require the small copayments that can be found under Plan N’s coverage of Part B coinsurance.
As detailed above, the Part B deductible is only $203 for the year in 2021, and Part B excess charges can typically be easily avoided. If you’re eligible for both Plan F and Plan N, you may want to keep these facts in mind as you compare the monthly premiums for each plan.
Generally speaking, Plan F will be more expensive than Plan N. That’s partly because of the copays and coinsurance that Plan N requires, and it’s also partly due to the fact that fewer new Medicare beneficiaries will be able to enroll in Plan F in the years to come. As the pool of Plan F beneficiaries shrinks, insurance companies may be forced to charge increasingly high monthly premiums for Plan F. This means Plan N will likely be a consistently less expensive plan than Plan F going forward.
How Much Does Medigap Plan N Cost?
As previously noted, a plan’s coverage can have an effect on its premium. Other factors that can affect the cost of a Medigap plan include:
Medigap plans sold in big cities can bring big city prices.
Medigap is sold in the private sector where insurance companies are free to price their products according to competition and demand.
Because of their longer life expectancy and therefore more years paying premiums, women are often given a lower rate for Medigap plans.
Companies can charge more to older enrollees or raise the premiums for existing members for each year they age.
Beneficiaries who enroll in Medigap outside of their Medigap open enrollment period or outside of any other period during which they have a guaranteed issue right may be subject to medical underwriting when they apply for a plan. This means that an insurance company can use your health history when they consider whether to issue you a policy, and you may be charged a higher premium as a result of poor health.
It’s not uncommon for insurance companies to offer Medigap plan discounts to beneficiaries who are non-smokers, those who elect for direct automatic withdrawal of their premiums and more.
Medicare Plan N Insurance Companies
59% of all insurance companies that sell Medicare Supplement Insurance offer Plan N.1
While Medigap Plan N may be found within smaller insurance companies all over the U.S., some of the most popular insurance companies in the country sell Plan N in at least some states.
Our Review of Medicare Supplement Plan N
Medigap Plan N has seen a rising enrollment rate in recent years, and for good reason. Plan N offers suitable coverage and will typically be found at a more affordable price than other Medigap plans.
Plan N does not provide coverage of the Medicare Part B deductible. However, the Part B deductible is only $203 per year, which is a relatively small requirement when compared to other Medicare cost requirements. And only beneficiaries who became eligible for Medicare before 2020 can get coverage of the Part B deductible, anyway.
Plan N also does not provide coverage of Medicare Part B excess charges. However, excess charges can be easily avoided simply by confirming whether or not a health care provider accepts Medicare assignment prior to receiving service.
Members of Plan N may encounter copayments for their Medicare Part B coverage, but only in limited circumstances, and the copayment requirements are quite low.
All things considered, Medicare Supplement Plan N is a smart choice for anyone looking for premium coverage without a premium price.