The idea of Medicare was born when Harry S Truman called for a health insurance fund in 1945. Truman’s dream was realized when Lyndon B. Johnson signed it into law in 1965. It now covers nearly 61 million Americans. Spending for the program is projected to account for 18% of the federal government’s budget by 2028.
There have been fluctuations in spending, most notably from 2010-2017. Every year, Medicare changes just enough that it is important to know how it will affect you. Since the program is an incredibly important social program it is continuously at the center of Congressional debates in Washington, DC.
Enrollment in Medicare Advantage plans has been seeing an upsurge of approximately 8% every year, but it is projected to grow even more this year. Part of that projection may be due to the announcement that Medicare Advantage premiums declined by 23% for 2020, bringing rates to the lowest since 2007. Medicare Advantage enrollments have doubled over the last decade.
An Introduction to Medicare Insurance Plans for 2020
You still have two main options for your Medicare coverage.
Original Medicare includes Parts A and B:
- Medicare Part A coverage is for hospital care, short-term nursing home care, hospice, home health care, and skilled nursing at a facility. You have access to any doctor or medical provider in the US, as long as they accept Medicare.
- Medicare Part B coverage is “Medical Insurance” which can include doctor visits, annual exams, medical equipment, mental healthcare, lab tests, and ambulance service.
- OPTIONAL: You can add Part D, which is for prescription coverage. Approximately 72% of all Medicare beneficiaries (43 million people) in the US are enrolled in Part D prescription plans.
- OPTIONAL: You can add supplemental coverage to Medicare with a Medigap plan, a former employer, or a union/membership organization to help pay for the 20% coinsurance fees and other out-of-pocket costs associated with Original Medicare.
Medicare Advantage is also known as Medicare Part C. As you’ve seen, this option is becoming increasingly popular. Enrollment is expected to grow even more in 2020. Here’s a quick overview:
- Medicare Advantage bundles Parts A, B, and often Part D. It’s an all-in-one solution. You will NOT need to purchase a Medicare Supplement/Medigap plan if you choose a Medicare Advantage plan.
- You will need to continue to pay you Part B premium. Medicare Advantage premiums can be much lower than purchasing a Medicare Supplement.
- Medicare Advantage plans are co-pay based plans that include “maximum out of pocket” limits.
- Medicare Advantage plans are available based on “service area,” which is defined as the zip code and county in which you reside. Not all plans are available in every county of your state.
- Certain plans may be restrict plan members on which doctors or medical providers you can use, while other plans may come with more flexible doctor choice.
- Depending on the plan benefits, Medicare Advantage plans in your area may offer benefits for vision, dental, hearing, over-the-counter vitamins and supplements that are not covered by Part D, and even gym memberships.
What is the 2020 Medicare Changes?
An overview of the Medicare changes in 2020 includes an increase in the premiums for Medicare Part A, as well as the premiums and deductibles for Medicare Part B. Medicare Supplements have also changed. For example, Plan F is no longer available. As a result, many folks will highly consider Plan G as a viable alternative to Plan F.
Why are the changes coming in 2020?
Rising Medicare costs are not something you ever want to see, but the increased rates were established in 2015. Many of the legislative changes only affect those individuals who are enrolling in the future. It was not designed to be retroactive. The changes still put the following changes into place.
- Legislation increased Parts A and B rates to mitigate the mounting healthcare costs across the country.
- For all new enrollees, the legislation eliminates Medicare Supplement Plans F High-Deductible, Plan F, and Plan C plans.
The Medicare Supplement plan changes, in short, have placed more out-of-pocket costs back into the hands of consumers. The rationale is that if a Medicare beneficiary has to contend with a deductible for services, that same beneficiary may not use the service unless necessary. The counterargument is that some beneficiaries simply will not get the needed medical help because of the deductible. Then, as the counterargument goes, those beneficiaries could develop more serious conditions because they did not get the early diagnostic care they needed.
How to Learn More?
It’s important to get a firm grasp of how 2020 Medicare Changes may affect you, and what your options are.
At Blue Goose, we offer local, personalized support and services that you need for your Medicare health insurance needs. We walk you through the entire plan selection and enrollment process, answer all your questions, and help you to understand how the 2020 Medicare Changes may affect you both now and in the future.
Our goal is to take the hassle and uncertainty out of the process, so that you can feel confident with your choice of Medicare plans.
Call us today at 207-807-2272 or set up a consultation now!