Many seniors on Medicare are rightfully concerned about the MACRA changes enacted by Congress and how this law will affect them going forward. As with just about any law that makes changes to a long-standing program like Medicare, these changes will only affect newly enrolled beneficiaries to Medicare on or after January 1, 2020.
Congress has decided to eliminate first-dollar coverage under Medicare supplement plans F and C as a result of overutilization of services by beneficiaries under these plans. The idea being if these C and F policyholders have “no skin in the game” in the form of co-payments or deductibles, they would likely go to the doctor more often and thus over utilize their Medicare benefits.
So, in an attempt to stem the flow of overutilization under Medicare in the wake of rapidly increases costs to the program, Congress has decided to halt the sale of F and C to anyone newly eligible for Medicare in January 2020. If you are currently enrolled in Medicare or will be enrolled prior to January of next year, you will be given the ability to purchase either a C or F indefinitely if you so choose. And, your policy you have now is a guaranteed renewable contract no matter which supplement plan you have A through N.
This means you can never be dropped from your plan or forced to purchase another supplemental policy the government determines if “better” suited for you as long as you live. You may not care to pay the higher F premiums over the long run but, at least you’ll have peace of mind knowing you can renew your F plan as long as you live!
There are many other supplemental options that I would argue presents a much more cost-effective purchase. However, these options leave you with some out of pocket exposure in the form of deductibles and co-payments which usually wind up being less money out of pocket than your excess premium for the plan F.
If you’re in reasonably good health and have experienced rate increases under your plan F I’d encourage you to give our office a call (866) 341-8542 or complete a contact form on our website. You can even see plans and pricing by using our quoting tool online HERE.
These rate increases could be exacerbated in the future as more and healthier seniors get out of these old outdated C and F plans and into plans that offer lower premiums in exchange for higher deductibles. Insurance companies will then surely be left with an older, less healthy pool of policyholders which has a tendency to increase claims and costs associated with maintaining these Medicare plans into the future.