What’s happening on January 1, 2020?
Medigap Plan F, the most popular Medigap Plan, will close to new beneficiaries on January 1, 2020. That means that people who turn 65 in 2019 (born in 1954) are the last group able to enroll in Medicare Supplement Plan F.
Why is this a big deal?
Currently, beneficiaries with Plan F likely have minimal medical and hospital expenses after Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) pays its share. This makes this plan very attractive.
You can keep Plan F if you already have it.
You don’t have to do anything if want to keep Plan F. The plan will continue and you will be covered past January 1, 2020.
BUT, your Plan F premiums may go up if you stay in the plan.
After the open enrollment period, Medicare supplement plans are not “guaranteed issue” (if you live in Massachusetts, Minnesota, or Wisconsin, you have guaranteed issue rights to buy a Medigap policy, but these Medigap policies are different than the standard plans). Only “healthy” (no pre-existing conditions) people who are approved by medical underwriting will be able to switch plans. If you have — or develop — serious chronic health conditions while on Plan F, you won’t qualify for a change and will be stuck in Plan F. Plan F will become a “closed risk pool” of the increasingly unhealthy, and the rates will increase faster each year — called the “death spiral” by insurance providers.
How do I switch to another Medigap Plan?
1. In most cases, you must be within your 6-month Medigap Open Enrollment Period.
2. If your state or insurance company will sell you a different Medigap policy, compare benefits and premiums before switching.
3. Don’t cancel your old Medigap policy until you decide to keep the new one. (They’ll ask you to commit to cancel the old one within 30 days.) This is called your “free look period,” which starts when the policy begins. You’ll need to pay both premiums for one month.
Why are they doing this?
Because of the passage of the Federal Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015, dubbed the “doc-fix” law. Congress doesn’t want plans that pay for literally everything since they might encourage more medical costs than are necessary.
Medigap Plan G is a good alternative
Consider Medicare G, which generally covers everything Plan F covers except for the Part B deductible. Part B deductible for 2018 is $183 per year.
Contact Trusty.care if you have any questions about your Medigap Plan F options.
By Gustavius Smith
Trusty.Care, your trusted partner for all your Medicare decisions
Medicare mistakes can have severe financial and healthcare consequences, especially when you miss a deadline or sign up for the wrong plan. The streamlined Trusty.care platform helps you easily identify and sign up for the right plan, and optimize your health coverage for life.