Is Medigap Plan N for you?

Maryalene LaPonsie | June 13, 2011

Medigap Plan N is one of two newcomers to the slate of 10 Medigap offerings, having debuted in June 2010 along with Plan M.

Medigap Plan N is generally considered an alternative to the popular Medigap Plan F policy. It pays the Medicare Part A deductible ($1,132 in 2011) and none of the Medicare Part B deductible ($162 in 2011), according to Medicare.gov.

It is important to understand the way Medigap Plan N handles Medicare Part B coinsurance and co-payment requirements. After making a co-payment of up to $20 for office visits or a co-payment up to $50 for emergency visits that don't result in an inpatient admission, Plan N pays 100 percent of Part B coinsurance, Medicare.gov says. As such, it is the only Medigap plan to handle Medicare Part B coinsurance and co-payments in exactly this way.

The costs of lengthy hospitalizations, skilled-nursing facility stays and medical emergencies during foreign travel are among the protections offered by Medigap Plan N.

When a need that falls within the plan arises, Medigap Plan N is a supplemental health insurance policy that can reduce your out-of-pocket expenses. To determine whether Medigap Plan N is right for you, first make sure you have basic knowledge of Medicare and Medigap plans, and then evaluate whether Plan N's features are tailored to your specific needs.

Medicare and supplemental health insurance

Medicare is offered by the federal government to senior citizens, as well as individuals with certain disabilities. Broken into two parts, Part A and Part B, Medicare includes both hospital and outpatient medical coverage. However, original Medicare requires beneficiaries to pay deductibles, coinsurance and co-payments.

Medigap is sold by private health insurance companies to fill the 'gaps' in original Medicare. Not comprehensive medical insurance, Medigap instead covers your original Medicare co-payments, coinsurance and deductibles. If you are married, your spouse will need to purchase a separate Medigap plan.

Medigap is not right for everyone. If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, you would probably not buy Medigap supplemental health insurance, for instance.

There are 10 Medigap plans in total, labeled with a letter from A through N (new policy sales of Medigap Plans E, H, I and J have been discontinued). Each letter represents a standardized package of benefits. Compare quotes from different companies to find the best health insurance rate for the plan that's right for you.

Medigap Plan N Benefits

As one of the new Medicare supplemental health insurance options, Medigap Plan N provides coverage for the following:

1. Part A coinsurance for hospital costs up to 365 days after your original Medicare benefits are exhausted

2. Part A deductible

3. Part A Hospice coinsurance and co-payments

4. Part B coinsurance and co-payments

5. Part B preventive care coinsurance

6. First three pints of blood

7. Skilled nursing facility coinsurance

8. Emergency care during foreign travel

Medigap Plan N does not pay Medicare Part B excess charges, which means those expenses will still need to be paid by you out-of-pocket if you go with Plan N. Still, Medigap offers supplemental health insurance policies that can greatly reduce Medicare out-of-pocket expenses, including Plan N.

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