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What Is AARP Medicare Part N?

This is a bit of a misnomer. There is no “Medicare Part N.” Rather, there are ten types of standardized Medicare supplement plans, which are designed to cover medical expenses that Medicare itself does not cover. Plan N is one of these, and is the most comprehensive, as well as usually the most expensive.

The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) partners with United Health Care to offer Medigap plans. You are required to join AARP at $15 per year to enroll in an AARP Medigap plan.

What? Medicare Doesn’t Cover Everything?

Unfortunately, no. Medicare has co-payments and deductibles and limits the number of days in an acute care hospital it will pay for. In addition, coverage for post-hospital nursing home care is limited. And care outside the United States is not covered at all. Medicare Supplement plans (“Medigap”) are designed to cover these.

Original Medicare, passed in 1965, has two parts: Part A covers hospitalizations. Part B covers “everything else” with the exception of prescription drugs. Prescription drugs are covered by Part D. Remember that Original Medicare and Medigap plans do not include prescription drugs except under extremely limited circumstances. Discuss this with your insurance agent when you sign up for a Medigap plan.

General information on Medigap plans may be found here. Please note that this information does not apply to plans issued in Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Those states chose to standardize their Medigap plans differently than the Federal government does.

Do I Have to Enroll in Part B?

AARP Medigap plans require you to enroll in Part B. The Part B premium for most people is $135.50 per month in 2019.

What About Medicare Advantage?

Medicare Advantage Plans are covered by Part C of the Medicare statute. They are not Medigap plans; rather, they are a replacement for Original Medicare, Parts A and B.

What Does Plan N Cover?

Plan N covers the following:

  • Part A deductibles;
  • Part B copayments or coinsurance,  except for a copayment of $20 for some office visits and a $50 copayment for emergency room visits that do not result in a hospital admission;
  • Part A copayments and additional 365 day of hospitalization after Medicare Part A benefits are used up;
  • The first three pints of blood;
  • Part A hospice coinsurance or copayments;
  • Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) coinsurance; and,
  • 0% of medical expenses incurred in foreign travel, up to plan limits. (Original Medicare does not cover care outside the United States.)

Does Plan N Have an Out-of-pocket Limit?

No. Only Medigap plans K and L have out-of-pocket limits. (Original Medicare has no out-of-pocket limit also. Medicare Advantage plans do have such limits.)

Can I Use Any Doctor or Hospital?

All Medigap policies allow you to use any doctor or hospital that accepts Medicare patients. Medicare Advantage plans usually restrict you to health care providers within their network.

Does AARP Have to Issue Me a Policy for Plan N?

That depends on whether you enroll during your initial enrollment period, which runs for six months from the time you are enrolled in Part B. During this period, AARP has to issue the policy and may not charge a higher premium for health conditions you may have. After this period, you may be refused a policy and/or the costs may be higher.

What is Changing in 2020?

Starting in 2020, Medigap plans are not allowed to cover the Part B deductible. (It’s $183 in 2019.) If you have a plan that covers the deductible that you enrolled in before 2020, you can keep that plan, and your part B deductible will be covered.

Now That I Know All This, What Should I Do?

Medicare can be complicated, and it does not cover everything. Talking to a professional insurance agent can help you determine what choice is best for your individual situation. Go to MedicareHealthInsuranceFacts.com or call 877-829-1109 to discuss your options with a licenses insurance agent.