Turning 65: what Medicare Supplement plan do others choose?

Faced with numerous and complicated options many men and women turning 65 report significant levels of confusion when having to choose their first Medicare plan option.

For those who are soon to be eligible for Medicare a just published report may provide some mind-calming information. The study of over 2,000 individuals who turned 65 in 2020 found that two plans were the overwhelming choice among those opting for Medicare Supplement coverage.

Medicare Supplement, often referred to as Medigap, is the choice of some 14 million Americans. Specifically, a Medigap plan enables individuals to utilize any medical provider that accepts Medicare.

In 2010 the federal government standardized the types of Medigap plans, creating 10 options designated by A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M and N. Beginning in January 2020 two of the more comprehensive and popular plans, C and F, ceased being available to people newly eligible for Medicare.

The first national study of 2020 buyers was conducted for the American Association for Medicare Supplement Insurance. Medigap Plan G was the choice of 58.8 percent of the first time Medicare enrollees followed by Plan N with 32.8 percent. In third place was High Deductible Plan G selected by 5.8 percent.

Medicare Supplement Plan G covers any medical benefit that Original Medicare covers, except for the outpatient deductible. It helps pay for inpatient hospital costs, such as blood transfusions, skilled nursing and hospice care. Also outpatient medical services such as doctor visits, lab work, diabetes supplies, durable medical equipment, x-rays, ambulance, surgeries and much more.

After Medicare pays, Plan G pays all the rest after you pay the once annual deductible ($203 in 2021). The plan also offers some foreign travel emergency benefits.

Medicare Supplement tips for those turning 65

The first step for those turning age 65 should consist of gaining an understanding of the available options specific to your local area. Medicare plan choices and even coverage costs can be quite specific based on where you live, right down to your zip code.

Comparing available medical providers, provider networks as well as what costs are covered and those that are not covered is essential to securing the best coverage for your particular health care needs and preferences You have the most options to get the best Medicare Supplement insurance during the six-month Medigap Open Enrollment Period.

This period begins the first day of the month you’re 65 or older and enrolled in Medicare Part B. For example, if you turn 65 and are enrolled in Part B in May, the best time for you to buy a Medigap policy is from May to October. After this enrollment period, your option to buy a Medigap policy may be limited if health conditions exist. Plus, it may cost more. Additional open enrollment periods may be available in certain states.

Seniors have more options than ever to learn more about Medicare plan options. There are a growing number of call centers ready to answer consumer questions. You may prefer to work with a local Medicare insurance agent who should know more about local health care providers who accept Medicare patients. The American Association for Medicare Supplement Insurance offers an online zip code-based directory that lists agents nationwide. The no-cost resource can help you connect with experts able to answer questions and explain options.

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