There are several ways you can enhance your health care coverage beyond what Original Medicare Part A and Part B provide. A Medicare Supplement plan, also known as a Medigap plan, can help offset out-of-pocket expenses related to copayments, coinsurances and deductibles. Some plans also provide certain health care benefits while traveling outside of the country, or cover 100% of the costs of qualifying services once an out-of-pocket limit for the year is reached.
In most states, Medicare Supplement plans are identified by a letter name, such as Plan F or Plan N. These plans are offered through private insurance carriers who may carry all Medicare Supplement plans or only some. The plans are standardized, which means that any given plan will provide the same coverage no matter which insurer carries it. Medicare Supplement plans charge their own premium, determined by the carrier, and a recipient must have both Part A and Part B Medicare coverage plans before they can enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan.
Understanding What Plan N Offers
Plan N does not offer the most comprehensive set of coverage options when compared with all Medicare Supplement plans, but it does provide a broad range of benefits.
- Copayments: Recipients who choose this plan can expect to pay $20 for certain office visits and $50 for visits to the emergency room when it does not lead to being admitted as a patient, but all other copayments are covered.
- Coinsurances: All coinsurances associated with Medicare Part A and Part B are covered, including hospital stays, hospice care and skilled nursing facility care coinsurance amounts.
- Deductibles: This plan covers all of the Part A deductible but none of the Part B deductible.
Additional benefits available with Plan N include covering the cost of the first three pints of blood if a transfusion is required during a surgery, and foreign travel exchange up to an 80% limit. Private insurers that offer Medigap plans are not required to offer Plan N, so it may not be available in some areas.
Plan N Coverage for Eye Exams
Unlike Medicare Advantage plans, Medigap coverage does not provide extra benefits like vision or dental care. Because Original Medicare coverage does not offer routine eye exams, Plan N cannot help offset any of the costs associated with them. However, if a recipient requires eye exams to help diagnose or manage a qualifying chronic medical condition, these exams may be covered by Original Medicare. If the exam is performed during a recipient’s inpatient hospital stay, Part A terms apply. When an eye exam is done as an outpatient service, it may be covered by Part B. In either case, Plan N may cover any eligible cost-sharing obligations related to copayments, coinsurances and deductibles.