How-to Get Medicare Supplement Plan F & C
- Yes, Medigap Plans F and C are scheduled to be terminated by Congress in 2020.
- Plan F and C offer Medicare Part B deductible coverage. This is the option that is going away.
- You can still buy these Medicare supplements until January, 2020.
- Seniors enrolled in these plans in 2019 will be grandfathered in and continue to have the coverage after 2020.
- The closest replacement is Medigap Plan G, which is the same as Plan F, without the Part B deductible.
What’s behind the Medicare Supplement change?
Millions of seniors buy Medigap insurance to cover the gaps in Original Medicare’s coverage (e.g., deductibles and co-insurance). However, as a result of recent legislation (see: Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act), beginning January, 2020 Medigap plans will not be allowed to provide coverage for Medicare’s Part B deductible. This change does not impact current policyholders and those buying Medigap policies by December 31, 2019. For these beneficiaries, the deductible coverage will be grandfathered.
This change to the Medicare supplemental insurance regulation is a direct effort to bolster the “doc fix” legislation that controls how the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) pays doctors. Medicare Part B is in the lawmaker’s cross hairs because it covers doctor visits and other outpatient care. It’s believed that removing the deductible coverage in supplemental policies will curb frivolous doctor visits, putting undue financial stress on the Medicare system.
The counter argument is that the change will cause beneficiaries to forego needed medical care before it’s an emergency, costing Medicare far more in the end. Many experts also believe the change will encourage more seniors to make the switch from Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage, which is not affected by the new legislation.
Medicare Part B is about to get even more expensive for high income earners.
In addition to this significant change to supplemental insurance, wealthy seniors need to brace for another hike in their Part B premiums. Starting January, 2018, the new law will hike premiums (again) for higher-income beneficiaries. It does this primarily by lowering the income thresholds for rate changes. As an example, the for people with MAGI between $133,501 and $160,000 ($267,001-$320,000 for a married couple) Medicare Part B premiums will go up between 50 to 65 percent. At the higher end, the threshold for the highest premium will be reduced to $160,001 (now $214,000) for individuals and $320,001 (from $428,000) for married couples.