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I learned that no Medicare Supplement Plan F can be sold after 2020. If I am already enrolled in a Plan F, will I be able to keep my Medigap Plan F beyond 2020?


Yes.  If you are enrolled in a Medicare Supplement Plan F before 2020, you will be able to keep your Medicare Supplement after 2020.

But, as many financial advisors have stated, you may find that your monthly premiums increase due to two factors:  (1) the aging risk pool of Medicare beneficiaries who will remain in a Medigap Plan F after 2020, and (2) the shrinking number of members in the Medigap Plan F policies.

In short, current Medigap members can keep their Plan C or Plan F policies, but can expect increasing monthly premiums as plan healthcare costs rise without the addition of new, healthier plan members.

Option: Move to a lower-premium Medigap policy
With the outlook of increasing premiums, many people are expected to move to more affordable Medicare Supplement plans.  For example, we expect some people with Plan F to move to the similar Medigap Plan G (with a slightly lower premium and no Medicare Part B deductible coverage) .  In this example, if the person stays with the same Medicare Supplement carrier, there should be no medical underwriting (health questions) as Plan G offers less coverage (the Part B deductible) than the Plan F.

So as you near 2020, you may wish to discuss alternative Medicare Supplements with your insurance agent.  You probably will find that the Medicare Supplement Plan G premium will save around $150 - $160 a year, but not cover the $183 (2017 Part B deductible), so your annual Medigap costs may not increase significantly.

Option: Move to a lower-premium Medicare Advantage plan
As an alternative to a Medicare Supplement, you may also wish to consider a Medicare Advantage plan (that includes prescription drug coverage) at that time.

To learn more about the Medicare Advantage plans in your area, you can contact Medicare directly by calling toll-free 1-800-633-4227.  Once connected, please explain your situation to a Medicare representative and ask the Medicare representative to help you learn more about the Medicare Advantage plans in your area that most economically covers your health and medication needs - or you can ask specific questions about a particular Medicare plan.

As background, in 2015, a law was passed that would eliminate Medicare Supplements that cover the cost of the Medicare Part B deductible - and this includes Plan F.  But again, the change does not affect people who are already enrolled in a Plan F before 2020.

Here is the actual language from the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (04/16/2015 Public Law No: 114-10):

TITLE IV--OFFSETS
Subtitle A--Medicare Beneficiary Reforms
Sec. 401. Limitation on certain medigap policies for newly eligible Medicare beneficiaries.

Section 1882 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395ss) is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:
"(z) Limitation on Certain Medigap Policies for Newly Eligible Medicare Beneficiaries.--
    "(1) In general.-- Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, on or after January 1, 2020, a medicare supplemental policy that provides coverage of the part B deductible, including any such policy (or rider to such a policy) issued under a waiver granted under subsection (p)(6), may not be sold or issued to a newly eligible Medicare beneficiary.
   "(2) Newly eligible medicare beneficiary defined.--
In this subsection, the term `newly eligible Medicare beneficiary' means an individual who is neither of the following:
        "(A) An individual who has attained age 65 before January 1, 2020.
        "(B) An individual who was entitled to benefits under part A pursuant to section 226(b) or 226A, or
deemed to be eligible for benefits under section 226(a), before January 1, 2020.
   ‘‘(3) TREATMENT OF WAIVERED STATES.—In the case of a State described in subsection (p)(6), nothing in this section shall be construed as preventing the State from modifying its alternative simplification program under such subsection so as to eliminate the coverage of the part B deductible [$166 in 2016, up from the 2015 deductible of $147] for any medical supplemental policy sold or issued under such program to a newly eligible Medicare beneficiary on or after January 1, 2020.
   ‘‘(4) TREATMENT OF REFERENCES TO CERTAIN POLICIES.—
In the case of a newly eligible Medicare beneficiary, except as the Secretary may otherwise provide, any reference in this section to a medicare supplemental policy which has a benefit package classified as ‘C’ or ‘F’ shall be deemed, as of January 1, 2020, to be a reference to a medicare supplemental policy which has a benefit package classified as ‘D’ or ‘G’, respectively.
   ‘‘(5) ENFORCEMENT.—The penalties described in clause (ii) of subsection (d)(3)(A) shall apply with respect to a violation of paragraph (1) in the same manner as it applies to a violation of clause (i) of such subsection.’’.

[emphasis added]





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