UNITED STATES—Hi Toni: I met with you in late 2017 for a Toni Says® personalized Medicare consultation. I have a quick question regarding travel outside the US because I’m planning a trip to Greece next month.

A friend recently gave me Medicare advice that has me very confused. She told me that some Medicare Plans give foreign travel medical coverage such as Medicare Plan F, but not Plan G, which was my choice. Is that true?

If so, do you have any recommendations for me as to how to get reasonable medical coverage for my trip? Thanks for any help you can give me. Lee Anne from Sugar Land.

Lee Anne: Your friend is wrong!! What she told you is not true. She is giving Medicare supplement advice and has no idea of what a Medicare Supplement covers. This is not the first time that a friend has mislead someone with their Medicare option.

Medicare Supplement plan F, G and N cover the same limited amount of emergency foreign travel, that is an extra perk Medicare does not cover. This Foreign Travel plan has a $250 deductible, but the Medicare Supplement plan only pays 80 percent to a lifetime maximum benefit of $50,000 and the insured (you) pay 20 percent and amounts over the $50,000 lifetime maximum.

Who knows what an air ambulance from Greece will cost, but a big recommendation that I would suggest to you Lee Anne, is that you talk with your travel agent or explore online for true travelers insurance that will take care of your medical needs while traveling in all countries all over the world.

Remember that Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans take care of medical and prescription drug expenses in the United States. Lee Anne be sure that you have enough prescriptions while you are traveling overseas or you will have to pay out of pocket.

Lee Anne, since your friend seems to be the Medicare Supplement Plan F expert…is she aware that Plan F will no longer be available starting January 1, 2020? For those who are currently enrolled in a Medicare Supplement Plan F, their Plan F will be grandfathered. Grandfathered means that they may keep the plan, but no one really knows what the future rate increases will be like.

Here is a big surprise for your friend because Medicare Supplement Plan G will be taking Medicare Plan F’s place and Medicare Plan N will be the lesser premium plan with more out of pocket.

Let’s discuss the differences in Medicare Supplements Plan G and Plan N:

  • Plan G: offers lower rates and the same Medicare benefits as Plan F except the Medicare Part B deductible is not covered and will be paid for by the enrolled Medicare beneficiary. Part B deductible for 2019 is $185 which is Plan G’s out of pocket.
  • Plan N: generally, has lower premiums than Plan G with generally more out of pocket. There is a $20 co pay for a doctor visit with $50 co pay for emergency room. Part B deductible is not covered, and Part B excess charges are not paid for by the insurance company which Plan G includes. Plan N can have more out of pocket cost than Plan G.

America needs to realize that their friends have their best Medicare interest at heart, but understanding Medicare’s rules are another issue. For guidance choosing which Medicare option or Supplemental plan meets your needs, contact the Toni Says® Medicare office via email at info@tonisays.com.

Toni King, author of the Medicare Survival Guide® is giving a $5 discount on the Medicare Survival Guide® Advanced book and bundle package for the Toni Says® readers at www.tonisays.com. Is the maze of Medicare confusing you? Visit www.abbs4u.com.