Medicare Open Enrollment is Here…Changes in 2020
Medicare open enrollment began October 15th and continues through December 7th. This year, Medicare has made changes to its guidelines that regulate prescription-drug coverage, alter out-of-pocket costs, and added new benefits for new consumers in the Medicare Advantage Plans offered by private insurers. Along with those changes, beginning January 1st, 2020, Medicare Supplement Plan F & C will no longer be available to those who became eligible on or after January 1. These changes were created in 2015 to save government money. Here is the rundown on the changes to Medicare this year:
Medicare Basic Options for Consumers
Traditional vs. Medicare Advantage
Traditional Medicare includes Part A, which covers hospital stays, and Part B for doctor’s visits and other outpatient services. Under the new guidelines, the consumer is responsible for paying 20 percent coinsurance for Medicare-covered services after the deductible. With this plan, consumers can see any doctor who accepts Medicare and does not need a referral to see any specialist. There is no annual limit on out-of-pocket expenses and if the consumer chooses, they can purchase a Medigap policy to cover extra expenses not covered by this plan.
Medicare Advantage differs from Traditional Medicare as it has its own rules and restrictions. A typical advantage plan includes drug coverage, vision, dental, and other benefits. Consumers of this plan cannot buy Medigap policies and out-of-pocket costs can vary. With Medicare Advantage, you have to stay within your plan’s network of providers and will need referrals to see a specialist.
Changes to Medicare Advantage
In 2019, Advantage Plans began to cover adult day services, in-home assistance, support for family caregivers and other services. In the new year, for consumers who have a chronic illness, coverage will expand to meal delivery, transportation, and other social services.
Donut Hole is Due to Close in 2020
As the Medicare Supplements Plans F & C are dissolving, Medicare Part D Donut Hole is closing. If you are a consumer who is in the Donut Hole currently, you will be receiving a discount on your brand-name drugs and a steeper discount on generic drugs until it officially closes.
What Does This All Mean?
It has been suggested by Medicare experts that individuals who qualify for Medicare, both existing and new consumers, should certainly compare costs to determine what benefits them and their needs the best. The government is aware that these changes can be daunting to most seniors. To assist consumers in making a decision, Medicare has created the new Medicare Plan Finder. The Medicare Plan Finder can be found here: https://www.medicare.gov/find-a-plan/ Also, consumers can visit their nearest Senior Health Insurance Program (SHIP) site to gain free, non-biased health insurance counseling. To find a SHIP site, please call (800) 252-8966.
Laise, E. (2019, September 23). Navigate 2020 Medicare Changes During Open Enrollment. Retrieved from https://www.kiplinger.com/article/retirement/T039-C000-S004-navigate-2020-medicare-changes-open-enrollment.html.
What Are the Medicare Changes in 2020 to Medicare Supplement Plan F, C, and the Donut Hole? (2019, August 30). Retrieved from https://www.gomedigap.com/medicare-answers/medicare-supplement-plans/medicare-2020-changes/.