The quick answer is “yes” for some but “no” for others.
Upcoming Changes to Plan F & Plan C
About once a decade, Medicare decides to make a change to the Medicare supplement plan offerings available to Medicare recipients. The most recent change involves the elimination of Medicare supplement Plan F and Plan C in 2020. But, contrary to many folks’ beliefs or concerns, these plans are not going away for everybody.
You might be asking yourself why Medicare would eliminate two of the most popular Medicare supplement plans available. As we all know, Medicare is experiencing increased financial strain from the growth in enrollment from the “Baby Boomer” generation and the ever-increasing cost of medical care. In an attempt to control costs by reducing claims, Congress decided it made sense to have Medicare recipients be responsible for more of their out-of-pocket medical expenses or what they often refer to as having Medicare recipients have more “skin in the game.”
It had long been argued without much substantiation that the “first dollar” coverage available from Plan F and Plan C cause Medicare recipients to see the doctor more frequently than they would if they didn’t have all deductibles covered and had to pay a little out-of-pocket when they go to see a doctor. While an actual cost-savings from this change couldn’t be calculated, it was often cited it would save Medicare billions of dollars each year in medical claim exposure.
While various politicians wanted there to be fairly substantial financial exposure for Medicare recipients, it was eventually decided to just do away with plans that offered full coverage of all deductibles (Plan F and Plan C) to ensure the Medicare beneficiary would have to pay a little out-of-pocket for their medical bills and might be discouraged from going in as frequently.
Others argued that causing the beneficiary to have “more skin in the game” could lead them to not seek treatment when they needed it, which could lead to advanced health conditions that are more difficult and costly to treat. This would be in direct contrast to the reason Medicare decided to cover more preventive benefits starting in 2006. Back then, Medicare felt it would save Medicare billions by allowing beneficiaries to be diagnosed early and treat any condition before it became too advanced and much more expensive to treat.
Beneficiaries That Will Be Able to Keep Plan F or C
The good news for people who join Medicare Part A prior to January 1, 2020, is that Medicare supplement Plan F and C will still be available to you. You will be able to continue to shop for and pick up or change companies for your Medicare supplement Plan F or C after this date (and plans will be available from companies) as long as you can qualify medically (or are in an Open Enrollment or Guaranteed Issue situation).
Beneficiaries That Will NOT Be Able to Keep Plan F or C
For people who join Medicare Part A on or after January 1, 2020, you will unfortunately not have the ability to purchase a Plan F or C. The most comprehensive plan available to you will be Medicare supplement Plan G. Plan G works identically to Medicare supplement Plan F with the only difference being Plan G not covering the Part B deductible. Outside of that one difference, they work the same. Also, in guaranteed issue situations, Medicare supplement plan G will be available with no medical underwriting requirements starting January 1, 2020.
So, if you own a Medicare supplement Plan F or C when January 1, 2020 comes around you don’t have to do anything as your coverage will still work; however, if you decide you do want to shop the market at that time to determine if you might be able to find a better rate for your coverage you can call (866) 894-3258 to speak with one of the friendly and knowledgeable agents at GoMedigap.
GoMedigap is one of the largest and most respected Medicare supplement insurance agencies in the country offering a free service to help Medicare recipients learn about Medicare supplements and how to shop for them from the nation’s top providers such as Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna, Mutual of Omaha and many others.