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Comparing Medicare insurance plans

You may still be undecided about Medicare. Many people have told me they feel overwhelmed by the process.

I certainly felt that way when I first took a good look at Medicare. That was years ago, but I remember fighting through the fog like it was yesterday.

Maybe taking a peek at how I compare insurance plans today will help. I want you to have a firm grasp on the important facts, so you can feel good about your choice.

Let’s look at more than just the best and worst-case scenarios.

Let’s add the most-likely case scenario.

Comparison of 3 Popular Options

Medicare Supplement Plan F

The most recommended Medicare Supplement Plan is Plan F. I no longer recommend it but I’ll include it in our comparison.

Medicare Supplement Plan G

The Medicare Supplement Plan I recommend over Plan F, is Plan G. The much lower cost of Plan G makes it a better option. The benefits are only slightly lower.

A $0 Premium Medicare Advantage Plan

There are several Medicare Advantage Plans in Connecticut that have $0 premiums. The information in the table below won’t be for a specific plan. But the benefits for most $0 premium plans will be similar to what you will see in the table.

Read This Before you Look at the Comparisons Below

Drug copays are not included in the out of pocket costs below. However, when you ask me for advice, the cost of your medications will be important.

Let’s first determine the category fits you best. Knowing how each policy covers your drugs won’t be important until it is time to select the best plan within the category you choose.

The rates and other information below is based on 2018 data.

The out-of-pocket expenses assume that all treatment is approved by Medicare.

The Best-Case Scenario

(No need for medical care all year.)

Option Monthly Costs Approx. Annual Cost
(with drug coverage)
Out of Pocket Costs Total Costs
Medicare Supplement F $241.50 $2898 + $360 = $3,258 $0 $3,258
Medicare Supplement G 192.05 $2,305 + $360 = $2,665 $0 $2,665
$0 Premium Medicare Advantage $0 $0 $0 $0

The Worst-Case Scenario

(Multiple hospital stays, multiple emergency room visits, twice weekly doctor visits…)

Option Monthly Costs Approx. Annual Cost
(with drug coverage)
Out of Pocket Costs Total Costs
Medicare Supplement F $241.50 $2898 + $360 = $3,258 $0 $3,258
Medicare Supplement G 192.05 $2,305 + $360 = $2,665 $183* $2,847
$0 Premium Medicare Advantage $0 $0 $6,700** $0

*The only out of pocket expense you might pay with a Plan G is the Part B deductible. You can only pay that once per year.

**The out-of-pocket-maximum on a Medicare Advantage plan is $6,700 or less on all plans. This does not limit your costs for drugs. No option has an out-of-pocket limit for prescriptions.

The Most-Likely-Case Scenario

Option Monthly Costs Approx. Annual Cost
(with drug coverage)
Out of Pocket Costs Total Costs
Medicare Supplement F $241.50 $2898 + $360 = $3,258 $0 $3,258
Medicare Supplement G 192.05 $2,305 + $360 = $2,665

$183

$2,847
$0 Premium Medicare Advantage $0 $0 ? ?

*The only out of pocket expense you might pay with a Plan G is the Part B deductible. You can only pay that once per year.

As you’ve seen above, your overall cost for Plan F and Plan G stays about the same in all three scenarios.

A $0 premium plan could cost you as little as $0 if you have no medical expenses. It could cost as much as $6,700 if you have a lot of medical expenses.

What’s Your Most Likely Scenario with a Medicare Advantage Plan?

You’ll probably pay $20 or so to see a primary care doctor and $50 or less to see a specialist if you enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan.

So, if you see your primary care doctor 4 times you’ll pay about $80. If you see a specialist monthly you’ll pay about $600. This adds up to total doctor copays of $680.

Each stay in the hospital will cost you about $400 a day no more than $1900. (You are only charged for the first few days per admission). This is true even if you are there for a month each time.

The Way I Look at It

There is no scenario where Plan F sounds better than Plan G. (I don’t care how many other agents recommend it.)

But Where is the Cut Off?

When is Plan G better than a $0 premium plan?

If you are in the hospital for 4 or more days and have about two dozen doctor visits, your out of pocket expenses will be about the same with either option. If you have a second hospital stay or have other expenses, Plan G will be a better choice.

Facts I Left Out

Medicare Advantage plans limit you to doctors and other providers in their network. Most people are comfortable with this. We can usually find a plan all their doctors take.

Plus, any emergency care you need out-of-network is covered as if you were in network.

There are other Medicare Supplement Plans to consider. Plan N and K are also good options.

I Can Help you Either way

You can ask me for advice or help enrolling in any Medicare Supplement Letter except plan “M” or any Medicare Advantage Plan sold in 6 of the 8 Connecticut Counties. (Or all but one plan in the other two counties.)

About Post Author

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Alston J. Balkcom

“ Connecticut-licensed insurance agent since 1985.”

Connecticut Medicare Supplements vs. Medicare Advantage Plans: See how to compare plans by weighing the best case, worst case and most likely case scenario.