Comparing Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan N vs. Plan F

Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) Plan F is the most popular Medigap plan, with 55 percent of all Medigap beneficiaries enrolled in Plan F as of 2016.1 Plan F offers the most benefits out of any standardized Medigap plan.

Only 9 percent of Medigap beneficiaries were enrolled in Plan N in 2016.1 Plan N offers the same benefits as Plan F, except for coverage for the Medicare Part B deductible or Part B excess charges.

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Plan N does cover your Part B coinsurance in full in many cases, however there is a copayment up to $20 for some offices visits and another up to $50 for emergency room visits that don’t require you to be admitted as an inpatient.

So what are some of the other major differences between Plan F and Plan N?

This guide can help you compare Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan N vs. Plan F below.

What are Medicare Supplement Plan N and Plan F?

Plan N and Plan F are among the 10 standardized Medicare Supplement Insurance plans that are available in most states. Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Wisconsin have different Medigap standards and plan options.

You can use the Medigap plans comparison chart below to compare Medigap Plan N and Plan F benefits to what is covered by other Medigap plans.

Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans 2019
Medicare Supplement Benefits A B C D F1 G K2 L3 M N4
Part A co-insurance and hospital costs
Part B co-insurance or co-payment 50% 75%
First 3 pints of blood 50% 75%
Part A hospice care co-insurance or co-payment 50% 75%
Co-insurance for skilled nursing facility     50% 75%
Medicare Part A deductible   50% 75% 50%
Medicare Part B deductible                
Medicare Part B excess charges                
Foreign travel emergency     80% 80% 80% 80%     80% 80%
1. Plan F offers a high-deductible plan. This plan requires you to pay a $2,300 deductible in 2019 before it covers anything.
2. Plan K has an out-of-pocket yearly limit of $5,560 in 2019. After you pay the out-of-pocket yearly limit and yearly Part B deductible, it pays 100% of covered services for the rest of the calendar year.
3. Plan L has an out-of-pocket yearly limit of $2,780 in 2019. After you pay the out-of-pocket yearly limit and yearly Part B deductible, it pays 100% of covered services for the rest of the calendar year.
4. Plan N pays 100% of the Part B coinsurance, except for a copayment of up to $20 for some office visits and up to a $50 copayment for emergency room visits that don’t result in an inpatient admission.
View an image version of this table.

Learn more about the Medicare Supplement Insurance plan options that are available in your state.

Medigap Plan F and Plan N each provide full coverage of the following out-of-pocket Medicare costs:

  • Medicare Part A coinsurance
    While it’s not common to require a hospital stay long enough to incur Medicare Part A coinsurance charges, these costs can range up to $682 per day in 2019 for extended stays at hospitals and other inpatient facilities.

  • Medicare Part B coinsurance
    Medicare Part B typically requires a 20 percent coinsurance payment for Medicare-approved services and items after you meet your Medicare Part B deductible. Plan N does include the two copayments listed above in certain circumstances.

  • Medicare Part A deductible
    The Medicare Part A deductible is $1,364 per benefit period in 2019. The Medicare Part A deductible is not annual — you could potentially need to meet this deductible more than once in a given year.

  • Medicare Part A coinsurance and copayments for hospice care
    Medicare Part A generally requires you to pay a copayment for prescription drugs used for hospice treatment. You are typically also responsible for hospice respite care coinsurance costs.

  • Medicare Part A coinsurance for skilled nursing facility care
    Medicare Part A requires a coinsurance payment of $170.50 per day in 2019 for inpatient skilled nursing facility stays longer than 20 days.

  • First three pints of blood
    Original Medicare does not provide coverage for the first three pints of blood used for a blood transfusion.

  • Foreign travel emergency care
    In most cases, Original Medicare does not provide coverage for emergency medical care received outside of the U.S. Several Medigap plans cover 80 percent of emergency medical care received abroad.

Each plan also covers 80 percent of emergency medical care received abroad.

What is the difference between Medicare Supplement Plan F and Plan N?

Medicare Supplement Plan F provides coverage for two areas that Plan N does not:

Medicare Part B deductible

Medicare Part B provides coverage for certain outpatient medical services such as trips to the doctor’s office and preventive health care. Part B also covers certain durable medical equipment (DME).

But before Part B covers anything at all, you must first meet your annual Medicare Part B deductible. For 2019, the Part B deductible is $185 for the year.

Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan F provides full coverage for the Part B deductible. If you enroll in Plan N, you would still be responsible for paying the Part B deductible out of pocket.

Medicare Part B excess charges

Doctors who do not accept Medicare assignment reserve the right to charge up to 15 percent more than the Medicare-approved amount for services and items they provide. These costs are called excess charges.

Medigap Plan F provides full coverage of Medicare Part B excess charges, meaning you are free to visit any health care provider who accepts Medicare patients, without having to worry about excess charges.

If you have Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan N, you would have to pay any potential Medicare excess charges out of your own pocket.

There are two additional differences between Medigap Plan F and Plan N:

  • Medigap Plan F also offers a high deductible option
    High-deductible Plan F carries an annual deductible of $2,300 for 2019. This means you will have to pay the first $2,300 of covered Medicare services before the plan pays for anything.

    Plan N does not have a high deductible option.

  • Medigap Plan N has slightly different coverage for Medicare Part B coinsurance
    Medigap Plan N covers the Medicare Part B coinsurance slightly differently than Plan F.

    Plan N covers 100 percent of the Part B coinsurance, but it requires a copayment of up to $20 for certain office visits and a copayment of up to $50 for emergency room visits that do not result in a hospital admittance.

How much do Plan F and Plan N cost?

The average monthly premium for Medigap Plan F in 2018 was $169.14. The average monthly premium for Plan N in 2018? Just $111.28.2

High-deductible Plan F had an average monthly premium of only $57.16 in 2018.

But the average monthly premium for any Medigap plan tells only part of the story.

Plan F may cost more, but it also covers more costs. Some Plan N beneficiaries could end up paying more out of pocket for health care services throughout the year than Plan F beneficiaries.

It’s important to note that Medigap plan costs vary based on factors such as age, gender and where you live. The average costs listed above include Medigap Plan F, G and N options that may offer much lower premiums than what is listed, as well as some plans with higher premium costs.

How do I choose if Plan N or Plan F is right for me?

There are a few things to consider as you compare Medicare Supplement Insurance plans form different insurance companies.

If you become eligible for Medicare after January 1, 2020, you will not be able to enroll in Plan F. If you were enrolled in Medicare before that date, you can still enroll in a plan if one's available in your area.

Find out which Medigap plans are offered in your area. Consider your health care coverage needs and decide which Medigap plan offers the combination of benefits that works for you.

A licensed insurance agent can help you compare Medicare Supplement Plan N vs. Plan F options that may be available in your area.

Learn about Medigap plans in your area

Visit MedicareSupplement.com