UNITED STATES─Hi Toni: I met with your office in late 2019 for a Toni Says® personalized Medicare consultation. I have a question regarding travel outside the United States due to COVID-19. Once everything calms down and there is travel to other countries, I would like to plan a trip overseas.

A friend recently gave me Medicare advice that now 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? Thanks for any help you can give me.  Lee Anne from Sugar Land.

Lee Anne: Medicare Alert! Your friend is giving Medicare advice and has no idea of what a Medicare Supplement covers. This is not the first time that a friend has confused someone trying to understand the maze of Medicare.

Medicare Supplement plans F, G and N cover the same limited amount of emergency foreign travel with illnesses such as COVID-19 and accidents. This is an extra perk Medicare does not cover. The Foreign Travel plan has a $250 deductible and $50,000 lifetime maximum. The Medicare Supplement pays 80 percent to lifetime maximum of $50,000 and the insured (you) pay 20 percent and amounts over the $50,000 lifetime maximum.

Who knows what 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 countries around the world.

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

Since your friend seems to be the Medicare Supplement Plan F expert, is she aware that starting January 1, 2020 changes were made to Medicare Supplement Plan F.  For those enrolled in a Medicare Part A prior to January 1, 2020, they can apply for Medicare Plan F. Those who enroll in Medicare Part A after January 1, 2020 are not eligible to apply for Plan F and can enroll in Medicare Supplement Plan G

Here is a big surprise for your friend because Medicare Supplement Plan G can be more affordable than Medicare Plan F. 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. Medicare Part B deductible for 2020 is $198 which is Medicare 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. Medicare Part B deductible is not covered, and Medicare 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 care about their best Medicare interest, but knowing Medicare’s rules are another issue.  For guidance choosing which Medicare plan meets your needs and understanding the maze of Medicare, call the Toni Says® Medicare office at 832-519-8664 or email 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 and friends at www.tonisays.com.