What is Medicare Plan N? What does it cover? How does Medicare Supplement Plan N compare to other Medicare Supplement plans? Get the answers to these questions and more in this article.
What Is Medicare Plan N?
So what exactly is Medicare Supplement Plan N? In order to understand the ins-and-outs of Plan N, first, let’s see how Medicare and Plan N work together.
To begin with, if you’re enrolling in Medicare for the first time or if you’re already on Medicare, you’ll be issued a red, white and blue Medicare card. On this card, you’ll see Part A, Hospital and Part B Medical. This is known as Original Medicare. Once you are enrolled in Original Medicare, you’ll have access to virtually any hospital, doctor or specialist throughout the U.S., as long as they accept Medicare.
Therefore, if you’re covered by Medicare, the question becomes, why do you need a Medicare Supplement Plan? Here’s why. When you present your Medicare card at the time of care, Medicare will generally cover 80% of your Medicare approved costs.
So imagine receiving a hospital bill for $100,000 dollars and Medicare only covers 80%. How do you cover that remaining 20%? You simply choose a Medicare Supplement Plan like Plan N.
Now imagine receiving a hospital bill, but this time having a Medicare Supplement Plan N. Once Medicare pays its share of your medical bills (80%), your Medicare Plan N picks up the other 20% of the bill. It really is that simple!
What Is Covered With Medicare Plan N?
Like other Medigap plans in most states, Medicare Plan N offers standardized benefits. This means you’ll get the exact same basic benefits for Plan N, no matter where you live or which insurance company you purchase the policy from.
The key thing to remember is that no matter which insurance company sells Plan N, the coverage is the same. A Medicare Supplement Plan N with AARP United Healthcare is the same as Plan N with Humana. There is no difference in coverage, but each company selling Plan N may charge a different rate.
What Does Medicare Plan N Cost?
Generally, Medicare Supplement Plan N costs significantly less than other Supplement Plans. You are likely going to see huge savings with that lower monthly premium. One of the reasons Medicare Plan N premiums are so low is because there are some out-of-pocket costs when you need care. However, those out-of-pocket costs are nominal when compared to the benefits Plan N offers.
What Does Medicare Plan N Cover If I Go to the Hospital?
Medicare Supplement Plan N will cover certain things when you go to the hospital. For example, Medicare Part A will cover things like skilled nursing, blood transfusions, and even hospice care. Before performing these services, there is a Part A Hospital deductible ($1,408 in 2020) and a coinsurance of 20%. Medicare Plan N covers these out-of-pocket costs for you. With Plan N, there is a $50 deductible when you go to the hospital or need any of these services mentioned, but that $50 fee is waived if you’re admitted as an inpatient to the hospital.
You’re even covered up to 80% for foreign travel emergencies when you travel outside the US. Keep in mind, this emergency coverage has a lifetime limit of $50,000 dollars. Medicare Plan N will pay 80% of certain medically necessary emergency care. There is a $250 deductible for the year that you would need to meet before Plan N would cover you in this scenario. So if you are vacationing out of the country, Plan N offers you that peace of mind when traveling abroad.
What Does Medicare Plan N Cover If I Go to the Doctor’s Office?
Medicare Supplement Plan N is the only plan that has a co-payment of up to $20 for doctor visits, such as your primary care or specialist. As long as the doctor you’re visiting takes Medicare, you are covered.
Here’s how that works. Medicare Part B will cover 80% of the approved bill, Medicare Plan N will cover the other 20% after you’ve made your $20 co-payment.
What Is the Part B Annual Deductible?
Keep in mind, if this is your first time seeing a doctor for the year, there is an annual deductible that will need to be met. Medicare Supplement Plan N does not cover what’s known as the Part B annual deductible.
The Medicare Part B annual deductible is a once per year deductible ($198 in 2020) that is paid to Medicare for services or costs that fall under Part B. This is not something your Medicare Supplement Plan N or doctor’s office charges. You won’t be charged this deductible every time you see a doctor.
This deductible resets each year, but if you don’t see your doctor or need care, you can avoid paying this annual deductible and that means more savings to you.
What Is the Part B Excess Charge?
Lastly, Medicare Plan N does not cover what’s known as Part B Excess. Sometimes, doctors and other healthcare providers can charge 15% over the Medicare allowable charge for certain services and procedures. This is known as the Part B excess charge.
The good news is that not all doctors or clinics or facilities charge this excess. It’s estimated that a very small number, around 2% will charge this excess. You can ask your healthcare provider upfront if they apply this charge should you want to avoid this.
How Do I Determine My Medicare Plan N Eligibility?
There are a few options to determine your Medicare Plan N eligibility with regard to enrolling in this plan. Probably one of the most important time frames for enrolling in a Medicare Supplement Plan would be during your Medigap Open Enrollment Period. This enrollment window is offered to you only once. Essentially, once you have signed up for Medicare Part B, you are given a 6-month window to choose any Medigap Plan, like Plan N, with no medical underwriting. This means you are guaranteed coverage.
Now, if you already have Supplemental insurance, you can still switch to a new Medicare Supplement plan at any time of the year, pending medical underwriting. There is no enrollment window, but you may have to qualify for coverage. In most states, insurance carriers have health questions on each application to determine eligibility.
Lastly, if you currently have a Medicare Advantage plan and are considering changing to a Medicare Supplement plan, you can do so during the following times of the year. Open enrollment, which is Oct 15th – Dec 7th or, during the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period which is Jan 1st – March 31st. During these dates, you may leave Medicare Advantage and enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan, pending medical underwriting of course.
What Is the Best Medicare Supplement Plan N Insurance Company?
Which of the Medicare Plan N Insurance Companies is the best? Is it AARP United Healthcare, Humana, Blue Cross Blue Shield? The true answer is: it doesn’t really matter which company you go with. Here’s why.
All Medicare Plan N policies offer the same basic benefits. The coverage will be the same, but the price might be different. Each Medicare Plan N insurance company is required to offer these standard benefits.
How Are Medicare Supplement Plan N Rates Determined?
How are Medicare Supplement Plan N rates determined? All Medicare Supplement Plan prices are determined by 5 factors. These factors include your age, zip code, whether you’re male or female if you use tobacco products and which plan letter you want.
Final Thoughts on Medicare Supplement Plan N
All Medicare Supplement Plan N policies have the exact same coverage. They only differ in price. Medicare Plan N is a popular choice because the monthly premiums tend to be lower than most other plans. The only out-of-pocket costs you may see under Medicare Plan N would be a copay for doctor or hospital visits, your annual deductible, and the 15% excess charge, which again is easily avoidable.
The number one reason Medicare Supplement Plan N is a great choice overall other Medicare Supplements is its low annual rate increase. Each Medicare Supplement plan has annual rate increases. Some plans see a high rate increase, meaning each year premiums can go up.
Medicare Plan N tends to have one of the lowest rate increases, around 2.5% annually. This means you can expect your Medicare Supplement Plan N rates to increase by only a few dollars per year. Simply put, low monthly premiums and a low annual rate increase means Medicare Plan N is a smart decision for long-term savings.