Although many, if not all, Medicare supplements do increase on renewal, there are instances where some seniors are facing a 15 percent renewal. What does a Medicare beneficiary do in the face of such an increase?
When faced with such a dramatic increase, it is usually best to start shopping around as soon as possible. Although, some industry watchers suggest anyone facing this kind of situation has to wait until Medicare Open Enrollment, which is typically in October. Contrary to popular opinion on when beneficiaries can change a Medicare supplement plan, the Medicare supplement underwriting rules start when beneficiaries have had their Medicare Part B longer than 6-months.
Put another way, any beneficiary who wants to make changes to their Medicare supplement plan can do so at any time during the year. Medicare Open Enrollment is the time to make changes to a Medicare Advantage or Medicare Part D prescription drug plan.
In other news for Medicare recipients, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) made, among other changes, a tweak to Medicare supplement’s plans F and C that kick in for 2020. Medicare plans F and C are available until January 1, 2020. You may also want to consider Plans G or N.
The Plans in brief:
- Plan F: Has more benefits and higher premiums. If you enroll now or already have Plan F, you are not going to be forced to move because this change only affects newly eligible Medicare recipients with effective dates of January 1, 2020. Plan F is not going to be available to those new to Medicare.
- Plan G: Has lower rates and same benefits as Plan F, but the Part B deductible is not covered – the beneficiary pays for it.
- Plan N: Generally has lower premiums than Plan G, but more out-of-pocket expenses. For instance, there is a $20 co-pay for seeing a physician and $50 co-pay for using the ER. Part B deductible is not covered.
New to Medicare? Want to apply for a new Medicare supplement? Medicare Plan F and C are available until January 1, 2020.
Do not be in a rush to choose. Always ask questions to ensure your medical needs are met. Most importantly, do not cancel an existing Medicare supplement policy until a new insurance company has approved you. Remember, you can replace your Medicare supplement policy at any time.