What is Medicare Plan G and Should You Choose It?

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What Is Medicare Plan G?

Medicare Plan G is a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan that covers expenses not handled by Original Medicare (Part A and Part B). It is one of the most comprehensive Supplement plans available, and because of this, Plan G is also one of the most popular plans.

What does Plan G cover?

Plan G is one of the top three for Medigap plans with the most coverage. Of the 10 Medicare Supplement plans, only Plans C and F offer more coverage than Plan G. The Medicare costs covered by Plan G include the following:

  • The Medicare Part A deductible
  • Part A coinsurance and hospital costs for an additional 365 days after Original Medicare’s coverage ends
  • Part A hospice copayments and coinsurance
  • Part B copayments and coinsurance
  • Part B excess charges
  • Skilled nursing facility coinsurance costs
  • Foreign travel emergency costs

What does Plan G not cover?

There are some costs that no Medicare Supplement plan covers:

  • Hearing aids and related services
  • Eyeglasses and related services
  • Private nursing care
  • Long-term custodial care
  • Dental care

These aren’t covered by Medigap because they aren’t covered by Original Medicare. If you need coverage for any of these services, consider switching to a Medicare Advantage plan, which can offer coverage for services not normally covered by Medicare, like dental and vision, as well as all the services covered by Medicare Part A and Part B.

The one major thing missing from Plan G coverage that is covered by Plan F (the most popular Medigap plan with the most coverage) is Part B deductible coverage. The Part B deductible is only $183 in 2017,1 so it’s not a huge loss, but you will be responsible for paying that cost before your Medicare plans will start paying their portions. Plan G does tend to be cheaper than Plan F, though, which may compensate for that loss of coverage for some people. In fact, some individuals save enough on premiums with Plan G that it actually makes more sense to choose it over Plan F.

When and how do I enroll?

If you’ve found a Medicare insurance provider you like, you can enroll for Plan G directly through them. This can generally be done online or over the phone. The best time to enroll in a Medigap plan is during Open Enrollment, which is the first six months after you turn 65 and sign up for Part B. After Open Enrollment ends, you can still purchase a Medigap plan, but you may pay higher rates based on age and health history.

If you don’t have a specific provider in mind, shop around. Medigap plans like Plan G are offered through private insurers, and since Plan G coverage is always the same regardless of which provider you choose, it makes sense to go with the cheapest provider in your area. Find the plan with the most competitive price, and remember to consider the quality of a provider’s customer service. You can start shopping for Medigap plans in your area through our website.

What is Medicare Supplement insurance?

Medicare Supplement insurance is commonly known as Medigap insurance because it fills in the “gaps” of Original Medicare coverage. Medigap plans are private insurance plans that cover expenses Original Medicare doesn’t. The expenses covered by Medigap plans include Medicare copayments and deductibles. The idea is that you pay a monthly premium for the Medigap plan and then don’t have to pay anything out of pocket when you go for a doctor visit or require other health care.

There are 10 Medigap plans—A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M, and N. These plans are standardized, meaning any given plan should provide the same benefits regardless of which insurer offers it. The only thing that may differ between providers is the cost of the plan.

Who is eligible?

Medigap plans are available to anyone enrolled in both Medicare Part A and Part B. To be eligible for Medicare Parts A and B, you must meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • You are age 65 or older.
  • You have a disability.
  • You have End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD).

However, you can’t be enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan and a Medigap policy at the same time. Medigap policies can only be paired with Original Medicare. That means if you currently have a Medicare Advantage plan and want to switch to Original Medicare and Medigap, you’ll need to cancel the Medicare Advantage plan before your new coverage starts. The same is true in reverse—if you’re switching to Medicare Advantage, you’ll need to cancel your Original Medicare and Medigap policies before the Advantage plan goes into effect.

If you have more questions about Medicare coverage and benefits, check out our in-depth FAQ pages. We have answers to a wide range of common Medicare questions.


Sources

1 Medicare.gov, “Part B Costs”

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