Medicare Supplement Plan J (also known as Medigap Plan J) was discontinued for new enrollees after the 2010 Medicare Modernization Act. Although new sales were prevented, anybody who already had the plan could keep it and still receive its benefits.

Keep reading to learn about Medigap Plan J coverage, and what to do if you’re currently enrolled.

For people who kept Medigap Plan J after it was no longer offered to new enrollees, the benefits include:

  • coinsurance and hospital stay up to 365 days after Medicare benefits are used up
  • Part A deductible
  • Part B deductible
  • Part B excess charges
  • Part B coinsurance or copayment
  • blood (first 3 pints)
  • hospice care coinsurance or copayment
  • skilled nursing facility care coinsurance
  • foreign travel (up to plan limits)
  • preventive care ($120 per year)
  • at home recovery ($1600 per year)
  • prescription drug benefit

With changes to Medicare, some of this coverage is now redundant. Preventative care and at-home recovery are largely covered by updates to Medicare Part B coverage. Although Medigap Plan J had a prescription drug benefit that was unique at the time, there are now other options. These include:

  • Medicare Part D. This optional benefit is available for everyone who has Medicare through private insurance companies approved by Medicare. Since the cost of professionally administered prescription drugs is typically covered in Medicare Part B, Medicare Part D covers self-administered brand-name and generic prescription drugs.
  • Medicare Advantage Plan (Medicare Part C). This option is offered through private insurance companies approved by Medicare. Medicare Advantage plans provide your Medicare parts A and B benefits, commonly offer prescription drug coverage, and often offer extra benefits not available through Medicare, such as vision, dental, and hearing.

Both Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage plans are offered by Medicare-approved private insurance companies. Review your options before making a decision on Medicare prescription coverage, because not only does coverage vary between plans, but the price does as well, including:

  • monthly premiums (the amount you pay for the coverage)
  • yearly deductibles (the amount you have to pay before the coverage starts)
  • copayments/coinsurance (your share of the price, if any, after your plan pays its share)

You must have original Medicare parts A and B to qualify for Medicare prescription drug coverage.

Even though Medigap Plan J is no longer sold, it’s still honored. So if you have Medigap Plan J, you’re still covered.

In fact, if you still have a Medigap Plan J, then you have the most coverage that you can buy. For example, it pays the Medicare Part B deductible which most Medigap plans don’t. In 2020, the Medicare Part B deductible is $198.

Because there are some newer Medigap plans with different offerings, some people decide to switch from Medigap Plan J to another Medigap plan that offers the coverage they want for a lower premium. Also, you may find that Medicare Part D typically offers a better prescription drug plan.

Medigap Plan J has not been available since 2010. People who opted for Medigap Plan J and its comprehensive coverage prior to 2010 have been able to keep it.