Here are some key changes for Medicare going into 2020, and some impressions::

Changes in Medigap

Probably the biggest news for Medicare in 2020 is the deletion of Plans C and F from the overall Medicare Supplement menu on 1/1/2020. This was required by legislation that was adopted in 2015. Let’s be totally clear about this change — it has no impact on any beneficiary that became eligible for Medicare prior to 1/1/2020, for any reason. Let’s try to use some case examples to make this more understandable:::

  • If you currently have a Plan C or  F, you will be able to keep it;
  • If you want to apply for a Plan F, as a change from a Medicare Advantage plan or as a replacement plan from another type of Medigap plan, you will be able to do so;
  • If you have a Plan F, and have changed to a Medicare Advantage plan, you can return to a Plan F during the 12 month return policy;
  • If you are currently receiving Medicare due to a disability, and you are under 65, you will be able to apply for a Plan F once you turn 65

Some folks have asked me if the price of their Plan F will increase in the future. Actuaries at insurance companies base plan pricing on anticipated payouts for claims. Right now, Plan F is the most heavily subscribed plan in the country. Over an extended period, it is possible a few carriers will increase the premium cost for their Plans F out of scale, it likely will not be anything to be worried about for the short term. Please call me if you have a situation you want to discuss this further.

Option for Changing from Plan F to G — Guaranteed?

In Colorado, the Division of Insurance is considering a regulation to permit a guaranteed move for those that wish to transfer from a Plan F to a Plan G (or Plan C to Plan D) for a limited period in early 2020. That reg has not reached the full adoption phase, but stay tuned and I will let you know. The same idea is being promoted in some other states.

New Plan Finder on Medicare.gov

Medicare will be introducing a new drug and Medicare Advantage plan finder on October 1, 2020. A beta is currently available testing on the Medicare.gov site. Believing that greater security and usability was necessary, this new site is a pretty significant departure from the current finder. Some key things to keep in mind:: in order to make full use of the site to save your drug list, you will need to have a MyMedicare account. You are probably familiar with the MySocialSecurity account, where you can go to check out your Social Security statements. This is different from the MyMedicare account.

Currently only about 4% of Medicare beneficiaries have a MyMedicare account. You can sign up for an account, where you can see all of your claims, order a new Medicare card, download care information, and even conduct a live chat, by going to MyMedicare.gov.

How will the new site affect your interactions with me during our reviews? Because CMS is going to delete all saved drug lists on 10/1, each time we go into the finder to evaluate drug and medical plans, we will have to re-enter all of your medications in order to conduct a review. If you have a MyMedicare account, this may allow us to shorten the time the review will require by storing your drug list inside the account. Please note that I will not be able to set up a MyMedicare account for you — this is an account that needs to be totally within your control.

New Plan Changes for 2020

In Colorado, 2020 promises to offer a slew of new choices. New Medigap plans, new Medicare Advantage plans, and new benefits within most Medicare Advantage plans. In 2020, we will have nine Medicare Advantage plans with the addition of Cigna Medicare Advantage, Mutual of Omaha, and the revision of ClearSpring. They join Aetna, Anthem, Bright Health, Humana, and United Healthcare. Of course, Kaiser will still be there, and they still will not let brokers represent them.

We will be seeing some geographic service area expansions, along with a number of new non-Medicare benefits being offered by various plans.

There are also several new Medicare Supplement, or Medigap, plans coming online. Call me so we can do a price comparison. Remember, Medigap plans changes can occur at any time during the year.

Drug Plan Changes

The last big thing  changing for 2020, at least for this edition, is the change in the Aetna drug plan landscape. First some background, Aetna and CVS have merged, with the final approval from the federal court just coming this last week. One of the conditions the Department of Justice placed upon the two companies for their merger (actually CVS bought Aetna), was for Aetna to divest itself of its Medicare part D plans. This they did by selling the PDP plans to Wellcare, a company that specializes in Medicare and Medicaid. In 2019, Wellcare took over this business even though Aetna was still managing it. That will shift completely to Wellcare on 1/1/2020. Wellcare will be taking over Aetna Medicare Rx Select plans — so look for that in the ANOCs you receive this month. It may throw you for a loop, but we can always review your coverage in light of all 2020 plans.

Aetna will be marketing solely SilverScript plans, which are owned by CVS. As a final note, Centene made an offer to purchase Wellcare earlier this year. Centene’s shareholders approved the merger in June, and the purchase is currently being reviewed by Justice. Centene operates extensively in the Medicare and Medicaid national markets, and also offers individual health insurance in several locations.

R Allan Jensen
AJ@InsuranceProfessor.net
8/9/2019

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