What Is Medicare Supplement Plan F? (Printable Cheat Sheet)

Medigap Plan F
Key Takeaways

Medicare Part F is one of ten Medigap policies that Americans can buy if they want health coverage beyond Original Medicare (or if they want help paying for their Medicare Part A and Part B coverage).

Medicare Plan F is one of the most popular Medicare supplement policies on the market.  It covers a wide range of medical expenses and is offered by many health insurance providers.

If you’re wondering exactly what your Medicare benefits will look like under Plan F, or which private health insurance companies sell the Plan F Medicare supplement insurance plan, look no further.

What Is Medicare Supplement Insurance?

Medicare supplement plans (also known as “Medigap”) are private health insurance plans that supplement Original Medicare.

You can purchase Medicare supplement insurance at any point after you become eligible for Medicare Part A and Part B coverage.

The Federal Medicare Program
Venn Diagram of What Medicare Covers
Medicare has two parts -- Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Part B (Medical Insurance). Other components, such as prescription drug coverage, are issued by private health insurance companies.

Medicare Supplement Vs. Original Medicare

Original Medicare refers to Medicare Parts A & B.  It covers inpatient and outpatient medical services.  However, it does not cover some key health care needs, including prescription drugs, dental care, vision care, or eye care.

Supplementary insurance can be purchased to fill in the gaps that Original Medicare doesn’t cover, such as copays and deductibles, which leave you with pockets of uncovered costs after your medical expenses are taken into account.

Depending on the plan purchased and what type of medical coverage is desired rather than just medically necessary coverage, different supplemental policies will focus on various parts of healthcare expenses such as prescription drug benefits or vision benefits.

What Do Medigap Plans Cover?

There are a variety of Medigap plans (as of 2021, there are ten different plans).  You can buy Medical Supplemental Insurance from a private health insurance company, such as Aetna, UnitedHealthcare, Cigna, and Humana.

They cover, among other items, the co-insurance and deductibles for hospitalization, hospice care, or skilled nursing services that Medicare does not cover.

For some seniors, these extra benefits can make the cost of Medicare worth the investment. Others may be able to get help paying their medical bills through Medicaid or a different program.

What Is Medicare Supplement Plan F?

Medicare Supplement Plan F provides the most comprehensive coverage of all Medigap plans.  Notably, it provides coverage for:

  • Medicare Part A and B deductibles
  • International medical emergency services
  • Skilled nursing facility care

Medicare Plan F is a highly cost-effective option for people over 65 years of age.  While the premiums will be higher than other Medigap policies, there are little to no out-of-pocket expenses, except for prescription drug costs.

Medicare Supplement Plan F is one of only two Medicare Supplement insurance plans covering 100% of Medicare Part B excess charges (the other being Medicare Supplement Plan G).

Medicare Plan F Eligibility

Plan F is only available to Medicare beneficiaries who were eligible for Medicare before Jan. 1, 2020.

Plan F is going away due to new legislation that no longer allows Medicare Supplement plans to cover Medicare Part B deductibles.

Since Plan F (and Plan C) pay this deductible, private insurance companies can no longer offer these plans to new Medicare enrollees.

Medigap Plan F Benefits Cheat Sheet (Printable PDF)

If you’re like me and understand things better on paper, we’ve put together a printable, one-page cheat sheet to help you get your head around Plan F.

Medicare Supplement Plan F Benefits Cheat Sheet

In the sections below, we’ll go through each of these benefits in more detail.

Medicare Plan F:  Basic Costs

ServiceYou Pay
Part A Inpatient Hospital Deductible0% ($0)
Annual Part B Deductible0% ($0)
Out of Pocket Maximum$0
Part B Excess ChargesCovered

Medicare Plan F has comprehensive coverage.  While you still have to pay your Part B premium, your Parts A & B deductibles are $0.  Your out-of-pocket costs will be $0 as well.

While Part B excess charges are rare (and illegal in several states), if you do happen to encounter them, Plan F will cover them.

Although you may not be eligible to purchase Medicare Supplement Plan F, there is no need to be concerned.  Medicare Supplement Plan G is very close in coverage, and many people prefer it over Plan F.

Plan G offers nearly the same benefits and is considered the next best “comprehensive coverage” plan.

The only difference in coverage between Plan F and Plan G is that Plan G does not cover your Medicare Part B deductible. In 2021, the Part B deductible is only $203. After you pay the deductible, Plan G works just the same as Plan F. The benefits of Plan F and Plan G include protection from the 20% gap in Medicare coverage and the elimination of copays and coinsurance.

Medicare Plan F:  Doctor Visits

ServiceYou Pay
Primary Care Visits$0
Specialist Visits$0
Referral To Specialist Required?No
Provider Network Required?No
Preventive Services$0 for Medicare Covered Services

If your Medicare supplement insurance is Plan F, you will pay nothing to visit the doctor.  (And you can see any Medicare doctor.)

Primary care and specialist visits have a $0 copay.  And you have a $0 copay for preventative services, as long as these are Medicare Covered Services.

Unlike Medicare Advantage plans, which have networks (HMO or PPO), you are not limited to a network with Medigap Plan F.

That means you can see any provider who takes Medicare, and you will not need a referral to visit a specialist.

Medicare Plan F:  Emergency Care

ServiceYou Pay
Urgent Care$0
Emergency Care$0
Ground Ambulance Services$0
Air Ambulance Services$0
Foreign Travel Emergency$250 Annual Deductible then 20%
($50,000 Lifetime Max)

If you have Medicare Supplement Plan F, you won’t pay anything for urgent care, emergency room care, ground ambulance services, or even air ambulance services.  This could save you tens of thousands of dollars.

Most Medigap plans do not cover foreign travel emergency coverage, which is not valuable for many Americans.  However, Plan F’s foreign emergency coverage may be a nice perk if you plan to travel internationally.  After a $250 annual deductible, you will pay only 20% up to a $50,000 lifetime maximum.

Medicare Plan F:  Inpatient Care

ServiceYou Pay
Inpatient Hospital CareFor Days 1-60: $0
For Days 61-90: $0
For Days 91+: See Note
Skilled Nursing FacilityFor Days 1-100: $0
For Days 101+: All Costs

This is where it gets somewhat confusing.  For inpatient care at a hospital or a skilled nursing facility, you will have a certain number of days at no cost, after which you will pay all expenses.

For inpatient hospital care, you will pay nothing for days 0-90.  Then, you will begin using your 60 lifetime reserve days under Medicare Part B.  After this, your Plan F insurance coverage will pay for the next 365 days.

Up to this point, which would be 515 days, you will pay nothing for inpatient care.  After these 515 lifetime days, you will be responsible for all costs.

Medicare Plan F:  Outpatient Care

ServiceYou Pay
Ambulatory Surgical Center$0
Outpatient Hospital Services$0
Mental Health - Outpatient$0

Under Medigap Plan F, you will pay nothing for services at ambulatory surgical centers, outpatient hospital services, and outpatient mental health care.

Medicare Plan F:  Lab & X-Ray Services

ServiceYou Pay
Lab Services$0
Diagnostic Radiology Services$0
Outpatient X-Rays$0
Durable Medical Equipment$0

Under Plan F, you will also pay nothing for lab services, diagnostic radiology services, x-rays (done on an outpatient basis), and durable medical equipment.

Medicare Plan F:  FAQs

Medicare Plan F (also referred to as Medigap Plan F) is the most comprehensive Medicare supplement plan. This plan covers Medicare deductibles and all copays and coinsurance (including Part B deductibles), which means you pay nothing out of pocket throughout the year.
Plan F is only available if you first became eligible for Medicare before January 1, 2020 (which means your 65th birthday occurred before January 1, 2020 or you qualified for Medicare due to a disability before this date).
Plan F is going away due to new legislation that no longer allows Medicare Supplement plans to cover Medicare Part B deductibles. Since Plan F (and Plan C) pay this deductible, private insurance companies can no longer offer these plans to new Medicare enrollees.

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