The rumors are true: Medicare Supplement (Medigap) Plans F and C are being phased out of Medicare coverage beginning 2020. But some enrollees may be able to pick up one of these popular plans in 2020 and beyond.
Medigap Plan F is Medicare’s most popular supplemental plan by far as it offers the most coverage, including the Medicare Part B deductible ($198 in 2020). Medigap Plan C covers the Part B deductible as well. However, the fact that they cover the Part B deductible is the reason both plans are being phased out of Medicare, but only for people who will not be eligible for Medicare until 2020 or later.
In other words, if you are already eligible for Medicare by December 31, 2019 and would like to purchase Medicare Supplement Plans F or C in the future, you may do so.
Even if you’ve declined Medicare coverage because you still have insurance through your employer, you can still purchase Medicare Supplement Plans F and C once you do enroll in Medicare–as long as you’re 65 years old by December 31, 2019.
Why are Plans F and C so popular?
These plans have first-dollar coverage, meaning you won’t have to pay anything before coverage kicks in. For example, if a Medigap plan covers copays (as Plans F and C do) you will be in and out of your doctor’s office without spending a penny.
Why is it being phased out?
Plans F and C are being phased out as a cost-saving measure for the government. According to Congress, Medicare beneficiaries need to put a little more “skin in the game” so they won’t run to the doctor for every cut or bruise.
Every now and then, Congress will take a look at which optional Medicare plans are costing the government the most money and eliminate these plans. In 2010, Plans E, H, I, and J were taken off the table. Now Plans F and C are on the chopping block for younger people as well.
Be warned: after Medicare phased out Plans E, H, I, and J, rates went up within these plans for those who were grandfathered in. The same thing could happen with Plans F and C to discourage enrollees from purchasing them. However, Plan G is also a good option for people who want the exact same coverage as Plan F but don’t mind paying the Part B deductible.