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Not long ago, when people first enrolled in Medicare at age 65, they usually chose to have a Medicare Supplement F plan. The F plan provided complete coverage, with no out of pocket costs.

But the F plan is no longer available to those new to Medicare as of January 1, 2020. So what plan should you choose? It’s all about risk tolerance, and how much safety net you are comfortable with.

The top level of coverage now available is the G plan. the G plan covers everything the F plan did, except the Part B deductible. That deductible changes each year, but it is currently only $203 annually. This is a very small out of pocket cost, a very low risk, therefore it is a strong safety net. In exchange for a higher monthly premium, you enjoy very little out of pocket costs, with a very low maximum.

When the premium gets too high, some might consider dropping the medicare supplement altogether which leaves you with no safety net. Medicare will still pay 80% of all approved medical costs, and hospital costs after the Part A deductible but, there is no maximum on your medical costs of 20% or hospital costs if you exceed the maximum number of medicare paid days. There is another option.

A high deductible Medicare Supplement adds a maximum out of pocket. It is considered a secondary deductible and it is currently $2,370. what that means is, once your share of costs reach $2,370, the supplement pays all remaining medicare approved charges. The premium for this type of plan is much less than the full F or G plans, so you have a monthly savings. But you risk spending up to the deductible amount in any year you have significant medical or hospital expenses.

The amount of that high deductible will increase each year. it is set by Medicare and tends to increase approximately 3% annually. and, if you switch to a high deductible plan, you would have to pass health underwriting to return to the more complete coverage of a plan F or plan G.

For those who can reasonably expect good health and fewer medical costs in the next several years, and can tolerate more risk, a high deductible plan is worth considering. Any safety net is better than no safety net!

This is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to substitute for professional advice. Randy Foulds of Foulds Health Insurance Agency is an independent broker and Medicare specialist in La Quinta. license #0G69218. You can reach him at 760-346-6565.