Your Medicare eligibility date impacts the coverage that you qualify for. If you are eligible for Medicare before 2020, then your options will be different than those of Americans who become eligible from January 1, 2020, on. Since Congress passed the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) in 2015, the plans with no deductible, like Medicare Supplement (Medigap) Plans F and C, will no longer be available.
For the beneficiaries already enrolled in Medigap Plan F or Plan C, you can rest easy knowing that you’re grandfathered into your policy. However, it’s important to understand that after 2020, you may see a rate increase if you have one of these policies.
Medicare Eligibility Before and After 2020
Plans F, C, and High-Deductible Plan F are going away for new enrollees in 2020. However, Americans who are already on Medicare prior to 2020 should be able to select or switch from these plans at any time in the future.
So, if you are eligible for Medicare Parts A and B by December 2019, then you’ll be able to enroll in one of these plans at any time in 2020.
The best time to enroll in a Medicare Supplement is during your Guaranteed-Issue period. This enrollment period begins on your Part B effective date and ends after six months. The Guaranteed-Issue period grants you approval on your Medigap application regardless of any pre-existing conditions.
You could still enroll after this time period, but you would need to answer medical underwriting questions and the carrier could deny coverage or give you an increased premium rate.
If you only become eligible for Medicare on January 1, 2020, or later, then you won’t be able to enroll in Medicare Supplement Plan F or Plan C. Since Plan F is being discontinued, High-Deductible Plan F will also be unavailable for those becoming eligible for Medicare in 2020.
High-Deductible Plan F is Retiring
There is plenty of information on Plans C and F hitting the road, but most Medicare beneficiaries don’t realize that High-Deductible Plan F will also be going away.
Medigap policy High-Deductible Plan F provides beneficiaries with the same coverage as the traditional Medigap Plan F, except there is a high deductible of $2,240. Medicare Supplements are standardized by the government so, the plan benefits are the same across all the insurance companies that offer that plan.
Congress believes that seniors should put more of their own money into their healthcare. With Plan F, seniors wouldn’t need to pay anything other than the premium on covered services, so it seems like they could easily be tempted to overuse their healthcare benefits.
Plans F, C and High-Deductible Plan F are going away for new enrollees in 2020. However, those who are already on Medicare prior to 2020 should be able to select or switch from these plans at any time in the future. If you notice that your Plan F premium becomes too high for your budget, then you can always switch to another plan. Depending on the state you live in and other eligibility factors, you may be required to answer some medical questions.
It’s also important to remember not to cancel your current coverage until your new policy is in place. Otherwise, you could experience a lapse in coverage or, worse, get denied and left with no coverage. Talking to a licensed insurance agent in your state can provide you with an idea of the costs of other plans in your area, and what options could be best for you.
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