Every year around this time, we start to look toward the next year’s Medicare changes. During Medicare open enrollment (October 15th-December 7th), you can review your Medicare plans and make changes for 2020. Contact us to make an appointment with a patient advocate for a Medicare plan review. You should consider this during open enrollment or anytime you have changes or first join Medicare. They can also help you with eligibility for special help and other programs.

We’ll give you a sneak preview into some 2020 Medicare plan changes. Know what to expect for Medicare Part B, Medicare Part D and your various costs. Make sure to sign up for our newsletter for updates. We’ll also offer a free copy of our 2020 Medicare Fact Sheet with all the detailed numbers.

Medicare Plans in 2020: Medicare Supplement Plan Changes

As of 2020, Medicare supplement (Medigap) providers can no longer sell new policies for Plans C and F. These plans cover the Medicare Part B deductible. Congress hopes that by requiring all members to pay their own Medicare Part B deductible this will reduce medical overuse.  

If you are enrolled in a Medicare Plan C or F as of 12/31/2019, you will be “grandfathered” in and can continue with your plan as long as you want. This change only affects new plans being sold for 2020. If you’re already enrolled in a Plan C or F, you may even purchase your Medigap Plan from a different company as long as you medically qualify, or make the change during an Open Enrollment or Guaranteed Issue period.

Here’s a chart of the current Medicare Supplement plans. These are standardized, so the chart makes it easy to compare benefits. You can then purchase these plans from different insurers in your area, but they must all provide the benefits as listed. So, once you decide on a plan, it is just a matter of comparing pricing and ratings/customer service of the insurance companies. Some will also offer additional benefits.

Medicare Part B in 2020

The Medicare trustees have projected that the standard monthly premium in 2020 for Medicare Part B will increase by $8.80 a month to $144.30*. Many people also pay high-income surcharges, known as income-related monthly adjustment amounts (IRMAA). This means if you earn a certain income, you’ll pay higher premiums. According to the projections, individuals with modified adjusted gross incomes of $85,000 to $107,000—and couples between $170,000 and $214,000—will pay $202.00 in 2020, up from $189.60 this year. The premium ranges up from there when you hit certain income brackets. Medicare surcharges are based on the last available tax return. 

*The Medicare B premium has been confirmed at $144.60 for 2020. The income for owing higher premiums starts at $87,000 for individuals for 2020. To check out Medicare Part B premiums and all the numbers from 2020, click here to get our Medicare Fact Sheet. This also gives an overview of the various parts of Medicare plans and key dates. 

Medicare Part D in 2020: The Donut Hole in Medicare Plans for Prescription Drugs

What is the donut hole?

When the Part D plan was structured, it had a “donut hole” or coverage gap, meaning that once you receive a certain amount of coverage each year, you pay a larger amount of out-of-pocket costs until you reach “catastrophic coverage”. The Affordable Care Act provided for closing the donut hole gradually. Different plans have offered additional discounts or assistance during the donut hole, and vary widely in coverage and costs.

In 2020, the donut hole will finally close. Medicare Part D members will pay up to 25% of the cost for any covered medication from the time they meet the deductible until reaching the out-of-pocket spending limit. 

How to Save Money on Medicare Plans in 2020 and Make the Most of Your Coverage

Check out our Medicare Money Saving Tips for specific steps you should take during open enrollment for Medicare Plans. We also include tips to make the most of your Medicare coverage all year round.

Book an appointment with an EasyLiving care manager to review your healthcare options and get advice on the best Medicare plans for your needs. They can also help with medical advocacy, insurance appeals, and applying for different programs and resources.