Medigap Plan F is the most popular Medicare supplement plan in the nation. The reason is simple. Plan F currently covers the most out-of-pocket Medicare expenses.

However, changes may be on the horizon for Plan F. These potential changes, along with changes already being made to Medicare as a result the Affordable Care Act, mean Medigap customers need to shop around for 2012.

Medicare Supplement Policies-including Plan F-Still a Smart Choice

For many people, a Medicare Supplement Policy, like Plan F, is still a great way to protect against deductibles, co-pays, coinsurance and other out-of-pocket expenses that Medicare does not cover. In fact, two new Medicare Supplement policies, M and N, are now available so you have even more ways to save.

As of today, Plan F still provides the greatest amount of protection from out-of-pocket expenses. But if lawmakers on Capitol Hill continue to view Medicare Supplement policies, and specifically Plan F, as a place to cut costs, consumers should start thinking about a back up plan.

Know Your Options

The most important thing is to understand exactly what's available to you. This can be tricky, because not all insurance companies offer all Medigap plans, and offers tend to different by state. In addition, Plan F is also available as a high-deductible plan in some areas. That means you'll pay a lower monthly premium, but you'll have to meet a deductible of about $ 2,000 before the plan pays anything.

With so many potential changes on the horizon, there are a number of options you might want to consider:

Purchase Plan F Before Anything Changes

Congress continues to look for ways to reduce spending, including making changes to Medicare Supplement policies. One proposal would see Part B premiumss rise by as much as 30% for anyone with a Medigap plan that provides first dollar coverage, like Plan F. Until Congress acts, however, Plan F will remain unchanged, offering solid protection from out-of- pocket expenses. So, if you've ever considered purchasing Plan F, now may be the time, before anything changes.

Take a Look at the Other Available Medigap Plans

Now that Medicare provides more coverage for preventive services, you may not need all the coverage that Plan F provides. With nine other plans to choose from, including the new plans M and N, there may be another Medicare Supplement policies that meets your needs as well, or better, than Plan F.

Consider a Medicare Advantage Plan

While Medigap plans each cover a very specific set of services or expenses not covered by Medicare, Medicare Advantage policies take a broader approach. These plans offer all the same benefits, plus additional services like dental and vision screenings, hearing checks, wellness programs, annual exams and more. Many MA Plans even come with prescription drug coverage.