Changes in 2020 Coming to Medicare Supplement (Medigap) Insurance
By Loretta Hartzell, Hartzell & Associates, Inc.
I recently attended the 2019 American Association for Medicare Supplement Insurance conference in Atlanta, GA. One of the main topics at this conference was the changes coming to Medicare Supplement Plans C and F in 2020 and the confusion in the marketplace by consumers. These changes were addressed in The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (known as MACRA).
MACRA prohibits the sale of Medicare Supplement policies that cover Part B deductibles to “newly eligible” Medicare beneficiaries defined as those individuals who: (a) have attained the age of 65 on or after January 1, 2020; (b) first become eligible for Medicare due to age, disability or end-stage renal disease, on or after January 1, 2020. A person who reaches the age of 65 or is eligible for Medicare before January 1, 2020 is not a “newly eligible” individual.
As of January 1, 2020, MACRA does the following: First, it prohibits first dollar Part B coverage on Medicare Supplement Plans C and F to “newly eligible” Medicare beneficiaries; so Plans C and F cannot be sold to those “newly eligible” for Medicare. Second, it makes Plans D and G the guaranteed issue plans for those “newly eligible” Medicare beneficiaries for the specified periods under current law that name Plan C or F for current Medicare beneficiaries.
If you purchased a Plan C or F prior to January 1, 2020 you can keep the plan. Plans C and F can still be sold after January 1, 2020, but only to Medicare beneficiaries who were 65 prior to January 1, 2020 or first became eligible for Medicare prior to January 1, 2020.
One other item mentioned in MACRA was the replacement of Medicare cards removing your social security number and replacing it with a unique 11-character Medicare number. This new Medicare number is made up only of numbers and uppercase letters (no special characters). All new Medicare cards have been mailed out. If you have not received your new Medicare card by now call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227); TTY users can call 1-877-486-2048 and request your new card. After December 31, 2019 Medicare cards with your social security number will no longer be valid for claims processing.