Why is it that Medicare supplement plan N is a smart alternative to Medicare Advantage plan? Every year, Medicare Advantage plan is subject to change. The premium can increase, the benefits may change, or the plan may not renew for the next year.
What if you are not comfortable with the changes? Or maybe your Medicare Advantage plan is not renewed for the next year. You need to consider Medicare supplement plan N as a viable alternative. In June 2010, Plan N was introduced as one of the new Modernized Medicare supplement plans. Medicare Plan N guarantees more freedom than an Advantage plan, and also lower premiums than many other Medicare supplement plans. Sometimes, it will have premiums lower than some of the Medicare Advantage options which are available. The Benefits are fairly comprehensive and they include:
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Medicare Part A:
- Part A hospital coinsurance
- Part A hospital deductible
- Skilled nursing facility coinsurance
- Hospice co-payment/coinsurance
Medicare Part B:
- Other Benefits
- Part B outpatient coinsurance
The premium for Medicare supplement plan N is less than that for other supplements because some of the outpatient costs will be shared by the policy holder. If you sign up for this supplement, you will be responsible for:
- Up to a $50 co-pay for an emergency room visit
- Up to a $20 co-pay for doctors visit
- The Part B deductible – currently $155 annually
Another reason why Medicare supplement Plan N is a smart alternative to a Medicare Advantage plan is that when you purchase plan N you are not affected by any network restrictions like most Advantage plans. Also, supplements provide standardized benefits from one company to another and are readily accepted by medical providers. And because these are plans are standardized, it is easy to compare one company with another. The difference between plan N for one company and the same plan for another company is the price and level of customer service.
Apart from the little co-pays for ER visit and doctors visit, your out-of-pocket expenses will be very little. For inpatient hospital stays, there are no required daily co-pays or deductibles. For some outpatient procedures, you may have fewer out-of-pocket expenses. Many Advantage plans require the same coinsurance levels as other medical services and original Medicare for outpatient surgery. Plan N supplement will cover for the 20% coinsurance for outpatient surgery that Medicare does not cover for. Unlike Advantage plans, plan N is not an annual plan which is subject to enrollment periods. Most providers are offering plan N with fewer underwritings and in many cases, pre-existing conditions are not relevant. You are guaranteed an acceptance into a Medicare supplement plan if your Medicare Advantage plan is not being renewed.
Supplements cover for the gaps left by Medicare. Generally, you are not given additional benefits, like vision, dental, or gym membership. Hence, you need to determine the importance of these ancillary services as opposed to the level of coverage and freedom offered by the supplement.