It’s that time of year again, HealthCare Enrollment Season! The Medicare Annual Open Enrollment Period is right around the corner. The insurance companies marketing departments will be flooding your mailbox and television programs with ads about plan updates. It will likely be a frequent conversation between friends. 2020 will bring some new plan options as well as some new costs to be aware of. Here’s a quick review of just a few changes to expect in 2020.
The good news is the donut hole will be fully closed one year early as of 2020. This coverage gap for brand name and generic drugs has been shrinking over the last several years. Prior to 2010 a Medicare Part D enrollee would be responsible for the plan deductible, then 25% of the costs until they reached the donut hole, then they had to pay 100% of the costs until they reached the catastrophic coverage threshold. In 2020 a Medicare Part D enrollee will be responsible for the plan deductible, then 25% of the cost until the catastrophic threshold. The out of pocket / catastrophic threshold will have a significant increase from $5100 in 2019 to $6350 in 2020 and the maximum allowable Part D deductible will also increase to $435, up from $415 in 2019.
Another new change for 2020 will affect those who are turning 65 after 1/1/2020. These individuals will no longer be able to purchase a Medigap policy with a Part B Deductible rider. Legislation was written in 2015 with the purpose of saving the government money on healthcare. The idea was if every Medicare Beneficiary had to pay something out of pocket they would go to the Doctor less often thus saving the government dollars by lowering healthcare expenses. The good news is if you have already had this plan in place you will be allowed to keep it. You may even purchase your Medigap Plan from a different company as long and you medically qualify, or make the change during an Open Enrollment or Guaranteed Issue time.
The Annual Enrollment Period for Medicare Beneficiaries begins October 15th and ends December 7th. This is a great time for seniors to explore new offerings that could provide updated coverage and potential savings. This is also an important time to review any changes that might affect the way your plan works or alter the benefits you receive.
Things to consider when choosing – Is my agent working in my best interest? Are my doctors/hospitals/pharmacies covered? Are there copays, deductibles, monthly premiums, maximum out of pocket amounts? Are there extra benefits, like Fitness Club Memberships, Dental, Vision, and Foreign travel?
The more you know about Medicare, the better it will serve you and your specific needs. Be sure to familiarize yourself with these and other changes that are affecting Medicare in 2020.