Oct 01, 2019
By Cathy Johnson, CPA, CGMA Chief Administrative Officer and CFO at Terry Lockridge & Dunn/World Trend Financial
Every year, Medicare’s open enrollment period is October 15 - December 7, for coverage that is effective January 1st. Medicare health and drug plans can make changes each year—things like cost, coverage, and which providers and pharmacies are in their networks. October 15 to December 7 is when all people with Medicare can change their Medicare health plans and prescription drug coverage for the following year to better meet their needs.
There are a few changes you should be aware of for 2020 Medicare.
- Medicare Supplemental (Medigap) insurance plans cover the Part B deductible. Today there are many options available, called Plans. Medigap Plans C and F will no longer be available for those newly-eligible for Medicare. Those currently enrolled in the Medigap Plans C and F can keep them, and those who were eligible for Medicare before 2020 will still be able to purchase. But for newly-eligible enrollees, Plan C and Plan F is ended after 2019.
- Medicare Part B premiums will rise by $8.80 per month in 2020, to $144.30 for the standard monthly premium.
- The donut hole for generic drugs is being eliminated in 2020. Today, the gap in prescription drug coverage begins when the initial coverage limit of $3,820 in 2019 ($4020 in 2020) is reached and ends when $5,100 in 2019 ($6350 in 2020) has been hit. Once fully closed by the Affordable Care Act in 2020, those enrolled in standard Part D prescription plans will pay 25% of the cost of their drugs up to reaching the catastrophic threshold. The donut hole was closed in 2019 for brand name drugs. The Medicare Part D maximum deductible will be $435 in 2020, up from $415 in 2019 (it increases each year).
Here is a checklist to help get organized:
- Put together a detailed list of all medications. Be specific with the exact spelling and dosage shown on the prescription container. Take a picture of prescription bottles if you will be meeting with a caregiver to do this review.
- Make a thorough list of all health care providers, including name, contact person and phone number. Be sure to include physical therapists, medical equipment suppliers, laboratories, pharmacies, etc.
- Read the new plan benefit summary and the Annual Notice of Change from your current plan. If your plans are changing, make sure their plans will still meet your needs for the following year. Look at more than the premium.Determine if there are changes in co-payments, co-insurance, deductibles, and other plan features. Will your medications continue to be covered, or not? Ask your health care providers if they plan to continue participating in your plan.
- If you are married, consider if you should each have different plans. Oftentimes, the medical needs of each spouse are different, so assuming one plan is good for both can be costly.
- Go to www.medicare.gov or call 1-800-MEDICARE to find Medicare plan information and compare plans.
- If you are satisfied that your current plans will meet your needs for next year, and it is still being offered, you do not need to do anything.
Please take the time now to get organized and perform a Medicare checkup before the deadline passes.