Seniors: These Are the 2020 Medicare Changes You Need to Know

Did you know that Medicare changes every year? Although it seems straightforward once you’re subscribed, your Medicare plan actually undergoes big shifts frequently. And each year, you have just a few months to prepare for any upcoming changes.

Navigating Medicare can be confusing and challenging — it’s tough to learn all the government rules, coverage details, and deadlines. But if you don’t pay attention to upcoming changes, you might end up paying more in the year ahead.

Medicare changes are happening once again. And it’s important to understand even the smallest changes if you’re a subscriber before they take effect in 2020. 

When open enrollment begins, you have only a few weeks to update your plan. So, whether you’re a new Medicare subscriber or simply renewing your current plan, it’s crucial to stay on top of the changes that could affect your coverage. 

Here’s what you need to look for when reviewing your Medicare plan.

Two Important Medicare Plans Are Disappearing

There’s a huge change coming in 2020: as of January 1, Plan C and Plan F will disappear for good. And new Medicare subscribers will see this change as soon as they try to enroll in 2020.

Due to the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015, Plan C and Plan F are being discontinued. This government decision reallocates more money for doctors who accept Medicare patients. But it means that those in need of extra coverage – or Medigap coverage – will have to look at other options.

Both Plan C and Plan F have been very popular. They’ve provided additional coverage for Medicare subscribers for years, helping seniors pay less out of pocket. 

And fortunately, if you’re already a Medicare subscriber, you’ll be able to keep Plan C or Plan F. This big change only affects seniors who sign up for Medicare on or after January 1, 2020.

New Medicare Subscribers Can Opt in for Plan D or Plan G

With both Plan C and Plan F disappearing for new Medicare subscribers, there are new alternatives being introduced in 2020. Plan C and Plan F will be replaced – or substituted – with two new possibilities.

Called Plan D and Plan G, these Medicare options will become the new choices for seniors searching for Medigap policies. Plan D has been around for some time, and it’s a popular choice for those in need of prescription drug coverage. However, now Medicare subscribers can purchase a Plan D (or Plan G) policy to fulfill any coverage gaps.

And while Plans C and F were known as “high deductible plans,” Plans D and G may not be as expensive. Premiums and costs will vary depending on the plan and coverage level you choose, but you may be able to pay a lower price. Make sure to search and compare plans and premium costs if you’re considering Plan D or Plan G.

Anyone who turns 65 or becomes eligible for Medicare on or after January 1, 2020 will be able to choose Plan D or G for their Medigap coverage.

Prescription Drugs Will Get Cheaper

Here’s great news for Medicare subscribers: your prescription drug costs should decrease in 2020.

Prescription medication costs are often the biggest expenses for seniors. Medicare hasn’t always covered much in the way of medication – and that can leave subscribers with huge out-of-pocket costs if they rely on expensive medicines.

But over the past few years, Medicare has made changes to close the “donut hole” or gap in prescription drug coverage to put more money back into seniors’ pockets. And in 2020, the coverage is increasing once again.

In 2019, Medicare subscribers paid 25 percent of the cost for brand-name drugs and 37 percent of the cost for generic drugs that weren’t covered. In 2020, you’ll only have to pay 25 percent for both generic and brand-name prescriptions.

And once you reach the annual out-of-pocket maximum, you won’t have to spend any more.

Look for Important Differences During Open Enrollment

Medicare is undergoing a few complex changes as 2019 wraps up and 2020 begins. With different plans disappearing for some subscribers and prescription drug coverage changing, your wallet will directly be affected.

That’s why it’s so important to learn as much as you can about these changes before open enrollment wraps up. Once open enrollment ends, it becomes difficult to change your plan. And you need your Medicare coverage to begin effectively covering your health needs when 2020 begins – regardless of any changes.

The deadline to enroll in Medicare or update your current plan is coming up fast. That’s why it’s important to take advantage of the opportunity to make changes right now. 

But if you don’t do your research, you could wind up paying more for less coverage. Make sure you know the changes that will be taking place in 2020, and how these changes will affect your Medicare coverage. Then, you can adjust your health insurance as needed to suit your health.

You have only one chance to make changes to your Medicare enrollment, and it’s right now. Open enrollment ends in December, so make sure to check, update, and finalize your plan before then!

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