We're going through each and every Medicare supplement plan to really break down the differences. We've looked at the A, B, and C plan already and now it's time to turn our attention to the D Medigap plan. The D plan is not terribly popular as a Medicare supplement goes but it's still important get all the facts in order to make a good decision so let's dig in.
The D Medicare supplemental plan is wedge right between two very popular Medigap plans, the C and F plan which make up a large percentage of all supplement plans sold. Many carriers do not even offer the D plan as they see the cost of maintaining a plan with so few subscribers to be both costly and potentially risky if a percentage of that smaller pool of subscriber have significant health issues. None the less, it is offered by some carriers so how is it different than the C and F plan which sit aside it? We'll go through each traditional Medicare benefit category but the D plan is very similar to the C plan. In fact, the only difference is the fact that it doesn't pay for the Part B deductible which we'll go into with more detail. As for the F plan, the D plan does not cover the Part B deductible (as mentioned) and the Part B Excess charges while the F covers both (and all main categories). Now let's break down each category for the D Medicare supplemental plan.
Where the D plan really lacks coverage in on the Physician side or what's commonly know as Part B with Medicare. It covers the Part A or hospital deductible and co-insurance which is important since this is where the big bills are. It also covers the Part B physician co-insurance that Medicare does not pick up which is also important. The main gaps in Medicare that Part D doesn't cover is the Part B deductible and Part Excess charges. The deductible itself is not terribly important since it generally runs over $100 annually but the lack of coverage for the Excess charges is potentially an issue. Excess deals with the extra allowed amount that physicians can charge above and beyond what Medicare allows. The D Medicare supplemental plan does not cover this. The problem is that there is no cap on this amount which is potentially up to 15% of the physicians charges. Uncapped exposure to costs is practically the opposite of what insurance is designed for and we highly recommend against it. We're less concerned with the Part B deductible since we can quickly calculate the difference in cost over a year's time between a plan covers it and one that doesn't.
The D plan covers all the other major gaps in traditional Medicare (hence the name, Medigap). These include Hospice care, Emergency foreign travel, first 3 pints of blood, Skilled Nursing, and Preventative co-insurance. Of course, the Part A deductible and co-insurance are covered which is where there are potentially $1000's if not 10's of $1,000's in cost these days. So how does the D Medicare supplemental plan compare with the other options if it's available?
Generally, the the price is so close to the C plan (which covers the Part B deductible) that it doesn't make sense to go with the D plan. Also, the cost for the next plan up, the F plan is small enough to warrant getting not only the Part B deductible but the more important Part B Excess benefit. Perhaps, this is why the D plan is not popular and not often offered by carriers.