We are quickly approaching the annual Open Enrollment period for Medicare. Open Enrollment begins October 15th and ends December 7th. It is an important time to review both your current Medicare Part B supplement plan (i.e. “Medigap”) and Part D prescription drug coverage. Health and drug plans change every year so it’s critical to make sure your current coverage continues to meet your healthcare needs.
It’s recommended that you review the materials provided by your health plan each year. The two notifications to look out for are the “Evidence of Coverage” (EOC) and “Annual Notice of Change” (ANOC). When plans make changes to costs and coverage, these notices should outline those changes and help you determine whether your current coverage is still adequate.
Starting in October, information on all current Medigap and prescription drug plans are available. You can contact Medicare directly by calling 1-800-MEDICARE or visit their website – www.medicare.gov – for more information. The website is a great resource for general information on how Medicare works, who is eligible, and what is covered. Currently when you visit the website, you will see a pop-up image where you can have Open Enrollment and Medicare news emailed directly to you. We are also happy to assist if you are enrolling for the very first time.
Important Changes Coming for 2020 & Beyond
There are important changes coming to the Medigap policies that you should know about. These supplemental plans help to fill in the gaps of the standard Part B outpatient coverage. Medicare Part B covers doctor’s visits, preventative services, medical supplies, etc. However, there are a number of out-of-pocket costs that are not covered by this basic coverage, which is why it’s important to have a Medigap policy. There are ten Medicare supplement plans (identified as Plan A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M, & N), and each Medigap plan helps cover a range of these out-of-pocket costs.
With the passing of The Medicare Access and CHIP Re-authorization Act of 2015 (MACRA), several healthcare changes are going into effect. One of the biggest impacts of the bill is that supplemental Plan C and F are being phased out in 2020. These are the only two supplemental plans that will cover the annual Medicare deductible ($183 for 2018). Starting in 2020, Medigap policies are no longer allowed to include the annual deductible amount.
Plan F is often considered the “Cadillac plan,” as it includes the most comprehensive coverage. It is also the most expensive Medigap plan. If you turn age 65 on or before December 31, 2019, you are still able to purchase Part F for 2019 and in the future. You’re essentially “grandfathered” into the plan.
If you turn 65 in 2020 or beyond, you are not without luck. Plan G provides nearly identical coverage as Plan F, except that it does not cover the annual deductible amount.
Healthcare tends to be one of the larger expenses retirees face. Medicare provides a wide range of options, but they vary in complexity and cost. We always recommend our clients be vigilant in reviewing their existing policies to ensure they are still receiving the coverage they need at manageable costs.
If we can assist in answering your questions or connecting you with a qualified Medicare insurance specialist, please don’t hesitate to contact us.