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Changes in Medicare to Look Out for in 2020

Jul 24 2019

By Danielle Kunkle

Medicare is an ever-changing program built of many parts and plans that can have individual changes of their own. We usually see a few minor changes and one or two major changes each year with Medicare.

Changes, such as deductible and premium increases are inevitable with inflation being an ongoing factor. In this coming year, we will see things like plan discontinuations, new benefits and even presidential proposed bills and acts. Needless to say, 2020 will be a big year for Medicare.

Here are some changes in Medicare to look out for in 2020.

Plan Discontinuations

Possibly the most talked about change is the 2015 Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) taking effect. This legislation was finally passed by Congress in 2018. It basically states that as of 2020, the Part B deductible must be paid by the patient, not a Medigap plan. One reason for this is to deter patients from running to the doctor for every sneeze or sniffle.

Therefore, any Medigap plan that covers the Part B deductible will no longer be allowed to be sold to new Medicare beneficiaries as of January 1, 2020. Plans that cover the Part B deductible are Plan C, Plan F and High-Deductible Plan F (HDF).

As of January 1, 2020, the only people who will be able to have these plans are those who are enrolled in one prior to 2020 or those who have Part A prior to 2020. For those who already have one of these plans, they will be grandfathered in.

If you have Medicare Part A prior to 2020, then you will still be able to apply for these plans. However, you’ll likely have to answer health questions. If you can’t pass the carrier’s medical underwriting, then you can be denied coverage.

Alternatives to These Plans

After 2020 begins, the most comprehensive Medigap plan offered to new Medicare beneficiaries will be Plan G, instead of Plan F. Medigap Plan G covers everything Plan F covers except for that Part B deductible.

The comparable plan to Plan C will be Plan N. Plan N covers everything Plan C does except the Part B deductible. Also, with Plan N, you’ll have small copays for office and emergency room visits.

The only difference between Plan G and Plan N, other than the copays, is the fact that Plan N doesn’t cover Part B excess charges. Because Plan N covers fewer things, it typically has a lower monthly premium than Plan G. Also, there’s a rumor going around that a new High-Deductible Plan G will take place of the High-Deductible Plan F.

Newly Allowed Benefits

A big pro to having a Medicare Advantage plan is usually having access to extra benefits that Original Medicare doesn’t cover. Benefits, such as dental, vision and drug coverage are things that Original Medicare doesn’t cover, but most Medicare Advantage plans do.

As of 2019, telehealth and home health care are benefits Medicare Advantage plans will be allowed to offer.

How is this a change for 2020, you might ask? Well, currently, only a few Medicare Advantage plans offer these new benefits. We expect to see more plans offer these benefits in 2020.

The telehealth benefits create a way for patients to connect to their doctors and specialists who may be too far to travel for in-person consultations. There are certain rules that apply to this benefit, and each plan may be different.

The home health care benefits added to Medicare Advantage plans give beneficiaries a chance to obtain coverage for things, like custodial care, meal delivery and home safety modifications. Again, every Medicare Advantage plan is different, and your benefits and coverage will vary by plan.

The Presidential Election

The 2020 presidential election will hold a large focus on Medicare. With all the proposed bills from presidential candidates, such as Medicare for All, Medicare at 50 and Medicare Advantage for All, there is sure to be some form of change in Medicare within the next few years.

Even our current President has proposed changes to Medicare. President Trump has a new Medicare and Medicaid budget proposal for 2020 that could potentially cut Medicare spending by $800 billion over the next ten years, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Medicare Changes in 2020

As you can see, there are many Medicare changes to look out for in 2020. In addition to changes made to Medicare as a whole, if you have a Medicare Advantage or Part D plan, these plans can change every year as well.

These types of plans can have many changes made to them each year by the carriers. You may experience changes, such as increased or decreased premiums, dropped or added benefits, formulary edits and more.

The carrier you have your plan through will send you an Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) by the end of September this year (2019) to inform you of any and all changes that your plan will have for 2020. Be sure to review this so you can change plans during the Annual Election Period in the fall if you find you don’t like the changes your plan will make