While Medicare Supplement Plan F has been the most popular Medigap plan for several years, Plan G and Plan N are quickly becoming the most popular Medicare Supplement plans for new Medicare beneficiaries.
There are 10 different types of Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) plans available for purchase in most states. Each type of plan offers a unique combination of nine types of Medicare out-of-pocket costs that the plan either fully or partially pays for.
So which Medicare Supplement plan is the most popular?
What do the most popular Medigap plans cover?
Medicare Supplement Insurance provides coverage in areas where Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) requires some out-of-pocket spending in the form of deductibles, copayments and coinsurance. There are nine such out-of-pocket costs that a Medigap plan can cover in part or in full, if at all.
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The chart below shows the coverage combination for the 10 types of standardized Medigap plans available in most states. Take note of how Plan F provides coverage in each area, and how Plan G covers all areas except one.
* Plan F and Plan C are not available to Medicare beneficiaries who became eligible for Medicare on or after January 1, 2020. If you became eligible for Medicare before 2020,... you may still be able to enroll in Plan F or Plan C as long as they are available in your area.
1 Plans F and G offer high-deductible plans that each have an annual deductible of $2,370 in 2021. Once the annual deductible is met, the plan pays 100% of covered services for the rest of the year. The high-deductible Plan F is not available to new beneficiaries who became eligible for Medicare on or after January 1, 2020.
2 Plan K has an out-of-pocket yearly limit of $6,220 in 2021. 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 $3,110 in 2021. 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 $50 copayment for emergency room visits that don’t result in an inpatient admission.+ Read more
Plan F: Traditionally the most popular Medigap plan
Plan F has been the most popular Medicare Supplement Insurance plan over recent years. Plan F offers the most comprehensive coverage, for which its popularity may be attributed. Plan F beneficiaries typically face little to no out-of-pocket costs when seeking Medicare-covered services or items.
In 2019 (the most recent year data is available), Plan F accounted for 49% of all Medigap enrollees, which was more than double that of any other plan. And 85% of all insurance companies that sold Medicare Supplement Insurance offered Plan F as part of their plan lineup.
Plan G: Becoming the new most popular plan
There’s no doubt that Plan F has been the most popular Medicare Supplement Insurance plan for years. Even going back to 2012, Plan F accounted for 53% of the Medigap market share with no other plan garnering more than 13%.
However, the popularity of Plan F has recently started to decline.
In 2015, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act was signed into law. Part of the legislation included a rule that Medigap Plan F and Plan C would no longer be offered to beneficiaries who first became eligible for Medicare on or after January 1, 2020. Only those who became eligible for Medicare before that date would be allowed to enroll in Plan F.
This change opened the door for Plan G to start growing into the most popular Medicare Supplement plan. Plan G covers the second-most costs of all Medicare Supplement plans, behind only Plan F.
Plan G was already gaining momentum even before the new rule took effect. In 2016, 10% of Medigap beneficiaries were enrolled in Plan G. That enrollment rate increased to 13% in 2017, 17% in 2018 and 22% in 2019, making it the second-most popular plan behind Plan F.
With Plan G now being the most comprehensive plan that incoming Medicare beneficiaries are eligible to join, its share of the marketplace is sure to continue to increase while Plan F enrollment will likely decrease. Over time, Plan G will likely surpass Plan F as the most popular Medicare Supplement Insurance plan.
Plan N and other popular Medicare Supplement plans
Any discussion of the most popular Medigap plans deserves a mention of Plan N. Plan N has maintained about a 10% share of the Medigap market over the years, making it the clear-cut favorite after Plan F and Plan G.
Plan N is popular among beneficiaries partly because it covers several common out-of-pocket Medicare costs while using a unique pricing structure to keep premiums low: Plan N covers Part B coinsurance in full but requires a $20 copayment for certain doctor’s office visits and $0 copayments for emergency room visits that don’t result in inpatient admission.
This hybrid model helps keep Plan N premiums more affordable than other plans with similar coverage.
Other popular plans include Plan K and Plan L. These are the only two plans to provide beneficiaries with an annual out-of-pocket spending limit. Once that limit is reached, the plan pays for 100% of covered services for the remainder of the year.
Enrolling in the Most Popular Plan
The most popular Medigap plan may not always be the best plan for you. Each plan is designed with different health care needs and budgets in mind, so it’s important to examine each plan carefully to determine how it may fit your own needs.
Plan selection also varies by location, so not everyone is guaranteed to have the same set of plans from which to choose. Speak with a licensed insurance agent to learn which plans are available in your area, review the costs of each and discuss which one may be best for you.
Learn about popular Medicare Supplement plans available where you live.
Christian Worstell is a licensed insurance agent and a Senior Staff Writer for MedicareAdvantage.com. He is passionate about helping people navigate the complexities of Medicare and understand their coverage options.
His work has been featured in outlets such as Vox, MSN, and The Washington Post, and he is a frequent contributor to health care and finance blogs.
Christian is a graduate of Shippensburg University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He currently lives in Raleigh, NC.
Where you've seen coverage of Christian's research and reports:
Plan F and Plan G are the most comprehensive Medicare Supplement Insurance plans available. Discover the key differences between Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan F and the Medigap plan that may soon become the most popular Medigap plan, Medigap Plan G. Read more
You can change your Medigap plan any time, but you may have to go through medical underwriting unless you have a guaranteed issue right, depending on what state you live in. Learn about switching Medigap plans with the help of a licensed insurance agent. Read more
Use this Medicare Supplement Insurance plans comparison chart to compare your potential 2021 coverage options and find the right Medigap plan for your needs. Compare Plan F, Plan G and other Medigap Plans. Read more