Big Changes Coming in 2019 for Some Minnesotans on Medicare

Per federal law, changes to Medicare will be happening for many people across the country.  beginning in 2019, Medicare Cost Plans, a type of Medicare plan that Minnesotans have, will end in most Minnesota counties.  For many beneficiaries, it will mean they will have to change plans.  In            September, those people with Cost Plans ending received a notice in the mail from their Medicare plan that explained the changes.  Individuals will have to weigh their options and make some important          decisions before the end of 2018 to make sure they have good coverage for 2019. 

Here are some things to think about when deciding about changing your Medicare plan: 

· Do you want to return to Original Medicare Part A and Part B?

· Do you want to purchase a Medicare supplement (Medigap) policy to go with your Original Medicare?

· Do you want to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan?

· What plan do you want for your Medicare Part D benefit?

Call Minnesota's Senior LinkAge Line at 1-800-333-2433 for help with Medicare

 Due to the unprecedented Medicare changes happening in Minnesota, call volume to the Senior LinkAge Line is expected to be much higher than normal during open enrollment. To help meet this demand, the Senior LinkAge Line has increased staff and expanded its hours to 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Friday. Even with these changes, wait times are anticipated to be longer than normal. To help manage the volume and ensure beneficiaries and caregivers get help, we offer these tips:

 

·     Call 1-800-Medicare for assistance. They are ready to help with the Cost Plan transition.

·     Call a trusted insurance agent or broker for help reviewing options and choosing a new plan or purchasing a policy.

·     Those with Internet access can use the www.Medicare.gov Plan Finder to review options and actually enroll in a plan.

·     Call the different plans to get information about their provider participation and preferred pharmacy network. The plans can also assist beneficiaries with enrollment.

·     Before calling the Senior LinkAge Line, a plan or insurance agent, prepare a complete list of prescription drugs and dosages. This will allow them to better assist with reviewing options.

·     When calling the Senior LinkAge Line for help with Medicare, press 2 to be routed to a Medicare specialist.

 

Thank you for your patience, as we do our best to help Minnesota Medicare beneficiaries and their caregivers make these important decisions for 2019.

Medicare Cost Plans Ending in Most Minnesota Counties

Information about new Medicare plan options is available now.  You can also connect with experts to help you weigh your options. You can call 1‐800‐Medicare/1-800-633-4227, Minnesota’s Senior LinkAge Line® at 1‐800‐333‐2433 or visit www.Medicare.gov.  Healthcare Choices for Minnesotans on Medicare 2019 is available online.

Due to a change in federal law, Medicare Cost Plans will end in counties where there are two or more Medicare Advantage plans that meet enrollment numbers. To see a map of the counties where Cost Plans will and will not be available in 2019, go to Minnesota Medicare Cost Plan map (PDF).

 

More than 400,000 Minnesota Medicare beneficiaries are enrolled in Medicare Cost Plans, which have been the most popular Medicare health plan option for decades. This is because Cost Plan enrollees have the flexibility of using providers who participate in a network for full coverage, but still using Original Medicare benefits for coverage when seeing a provider outside of the network. While not all Minnesotans on Cost Plans will need to change plans, the majority will be affected.

 

View a video that covers the basics of the Medicare Cost Plan changes. For more information and the timeline for the Cost Plan changes, check out this timeline (PDF).

 

Due to changes in state law and the expansion of Medicare Advantage plans and Medigap policies in Minnesota, there will be more options in Minnesota than ever before during open enrollment. In addition, Cost Plan enrollees affected by the change will have extended periods to purchase a Medigap policy or enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan.

Health Care Choice 2019

To review a copy of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Landscape that includes all plans for all states, go to https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Prescription-Drug-Coverage/PrescriptionDrugCovGenIn/

The expanded edition of the Health Care Choices for Minnesotans on Medicare publication is now available electronically at http://www.mnhealthcarechoices.com/. It includes all Part D, Medicare Advantage, Medicare Cost Plans and Medigap policies available in Minnesota in 2019.

Print copies of the Choices publication will be available the first part of November. To request a copy, call the Senior LinkAge Line at 1-800-333-2433 and press option 4. Leave your name and address and a copy will be mailed to you.