Change is the only constant in life. In particular, the people who arrange and rearrange Medicare continue to apply major tweaks to the system with big cost-related changes coming in 2020. Not only will plan specifics change, but you can expect your monthly premiums to increase as well.
Here’s a guide to eligibility, important deadlines, and how to make plan changes for 2020. There’s really nothing left to do except search options and pricing.
Open enrollment for Medicare happens annually between October 15 and December 7. If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, you can either make changes to your coverage in this window or during the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period from January 1 to March 31 yearly.
While it’s important to reassess your coverage every year, it’s particularly vital headed into 2020 given the price hikes you’ll likely see in some parts of Medicare. You always have the option to do nothing and your coverage will stay the same, however this might not be the year to stand pat. There might not be anything you can do to avoid a price increase, but it doesn’t hurt to check. At the very least, you might be able to make an adjustment in one area of Medicare that mitigates the price increase in another.
Routinely reviewing your coverage can definitely save you money. The National Council on Aging notes that the typical Medicare participant can save approximately $300 a year by merely making adjustments to their Part D prescription drug plan. But again, 2020 looks to be a year where any cost savings you manage to procure might act to offset attendant price increases.
And it’s not only planned premium increases that can hit your pocketbook.
If your current doctor or pharmacy moves “out of network” in your present plan, you’ll likely see your costs increase. However, you can switch to a plan where the same providers are “in-network.” You must make these changes during Medicare’s open enrollment window or risk paying fees for requesting changes outside of open enrollment.
First, some good news.
Expect expansion and price decreases for Medicare Advantage plans. According to Forbes, larger numbers of Medicare enrollees will have access to the services and support care Medicare Advantage offers. These include general transportation for non-medical reasons and in-home care. Premiums for Medicare Advantage will likely decline modestly by just a few dollars. Not a ton of money, but it’s better than all-too-common price increases.
Now, the not-so-good or, potentially, bad news. And, get ready, because it’s confusing. Luckily, the resources available from this page will help you piece everything together.
To keep it simple, the bottom line is premiums, deductibles, and coinsurance for Medicare Part A plans will all see prices increases in 2020. Expect price hikes for Medicare Part B premiums and deductibles. It doesn’t matter if you take a Medicare Supplement or Medicare Advantage plan, you must enroll in Parts A and B and pay the Part B monthly premium.
In some fashion, prepare to pay more for Medicare in 2020. However, Part B increases are tied to income, with higher-income Medicare participants paying a larger price increase. Most seniors do not pay a Part A premium. But there’s one caveat -- if you or your spouse has not amassed 40 quarters or more of work history, you will pay a premium that is set to increase in 2020. The fewer work quarters you have under your belt, the more you can expect to pay in premiums and the higher the increase in your premium from 2019 to 2020.
Both Medicare Supplement Plans C and F will no longer available to new Medicare beneficiaries in 2020.
Plan F is the program’s most comprehensive supplement. If you are already on Plan F, you’re grandfathered in. However, the government has already informed insurance companies that they can no longer sell new Plan F (or c) programs in 2020.
We mentioned one way to save on Medicare is by reviewing drug coverage. But get set for changes there as well. You will likely see monthly premiums for Part D prescription coverage change in 2020. In addition, the drugs covered under these plans will likely change as well.
From this page, you can access resources to help you make further sense of it all. You can get a headstart on how 2020 Medicare cost increases will impact you.