The Sunset of Medicare Supplement Plan F: What You Need to Know

As the healthcare landscape continues to evolve, one significant change is on the horizon for Medicare beneficiaries – the phasing out of Medicare Supplement Plan F. This popular Medigap plan, known for its comprehensive coverage, is slowly making its exit due to a federal law aimed at reducing healthcare costs. In this article, we’ll delve into the details surrounding the discontinuation of Plan F and explore the available alternatives for those seeking comprehensive Medicare coverage.

Understanding Medicare Supplement Plan F

Medicare Supplement Plan F, or Medigap Plan F, has been a favorite among Medicare beneficiaries for years. This plan offers what is known as “first-dollar coverage,” meaning it covers the Medicare Part B deductible and coinsurance amounts in full. With Plan F, beneficiaries enjoy virtually no out-of-pocket costs for covered medical services beyond their monthly premiums.

The popularity of Plan F stems from its comprehensive coverage, which includes:

  • Medicare Part A coinsurance and hospital costs (up to an additional 365 days after Medicare benefits are exhausted)
  • Medicare Part B coinsurance or copayments
  • Medicare Part B deductible
  • First three pints of blood (if needed)
  • Skilled nursing facility coinsurance
  • Foreign travel emergency care (up to plan limits)

Why is Medicare Supplement Plan F Going Away?

The phase-out of Medicare Supplement Plan F is a result of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) of 2015. This legislation aimed to reduce healthcare costs and encourage more responsible utilization of medical services by requiring beneficiaries to pay a deductible.

The rationale behind this move was that the “first-dollar coverage” offered by Plan F could potentially lead to overutilization of medical services, as beneficiaries had no financial stake in their healthcare decisions. By requiring a deductible, the insured would have a vested interest in ensuring that their visits to the doctor were truly necessary and justified the cost.

Who Can Still Enroll in Plan F?

While Plan F is being phased out, it’s important to note that not everyone will be affected immediately. Eligibility to enroll in or remain on Plan F depends on when an individual first became eligible for Medicare:

  • If you became eligible for Medicare before January 1, 2020, you can still enroll in Plan F or remain on the plan if you’re already enrolled.
  • If you became eligible for Medicare on or after January 1, 2020, you will not be able to enroll in Plan F or any other Medigap plan that covers the Part B deductible.

It’s worth mentioning that some states, such as Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Massachusetts, have their own versions of standardized Medicare Supplement plans with different names. However, the MACRA legislation affects these state-specific plans as well, and the coverage options will change accordingly.

What Are the Alternatives to Plan F?

While the phasing out of Plan F may seem daunting, there are still several alternative options available for those seeking comprehensive Medicare coverage:

  1. Medicare Supplement Plan G: Plan G is often considered the closest alternative to Plan F. It provides coverage for all the same benefits as Plan F, with the exception of the Medicare Part B deductible. This means that beneficiaries will be responsible for paying the annual Part B deductible ($226 in 2023) out-of-pocket.

  2. Medicare Advantage Plans: Medicare Advantage plans, also known as Part C, are an alternative to Original Medicare (Parts A and B). These plans are offered by private insurance companies and often include additional benefits such as prescription drug coverage, dental, vision, and gym memberships. Many Medicare Advantage plans also cover the Part B deductible and may have lower overall out-of-pocket costs compared to Medigap plans.

  3. High-Deductible Plan F or G: Some insurance companies may offer high-deductible versions of Plan F or Plan G. These plans typically have lower monthly premiums but require beneficiaries to pay a higher annual deductible before coverage kicks in.

  4. Other Medicare Supplement Plans: Depending on your healthcare needs and budget, other Medigap plans such as Plan N or Plan D may be suitable alternatives. These plans offer varying levels of coverage and have different out-of-pocket costs.

It’s important to carefully evaluate your healthcare needs, budget, and overall financial situation when choosing a Medicare supplement plan. Working with a licensed insurance agent or broker can help you navigate the available options and make an informed decision.

Future of Plan F Premiums

As Plan F becomes unavailable to new enrollees, the pool of policyholders will gradually shrink over time. This could potentially lead to an increase in premiums for those remaining on the plan, as insurance companies may need to adjust rates to account for the changing risk pool.

Insurance experts suggest that the annual premium increases for Plan F may be higher than those of other Medigap plans in the coming years. However, the extent of these potential rate hikes is difficult to predict and may vary across states and insurance carriers.


The phasing out of Medicare Supplement Plan F is a significant change that will impact many Medicare beneficiaries. While the loss of this comprehensive coverage option may seem concerning, there are alternative plans available that can provide ample protection against out-of-pocket costs.

As with any major healthcare decision, it’s crucial to carefully evaluate your individual needs, budget, and long-term financial goals. Seeking guidance from a licensed insurance professional can help ensure that you make an informed choice and secure the best possible coverage for your unique circumstances.

Remember, the healthcare landscape is constantly evolving, and staying informed about these changes is essential to making wise decisions for your overall well-being and financial security.

Medicare Supplement Plan F – Going Away in 2020?

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