Every year, seniors must deal with new changes to Medicare. And this year, a big change lies ahead: Medicare Plan F could disappear, leaving enrollees without supplemental health insurance coverage. Without Plan F, seniors could face higher costs, fewer choices, and different levels of coverage.
One of the most popular Medicare supplement plans, Plan F has been available for decades. And this means millions of seniors will be affected if Plan F goes away in 2020.
What Is Plan F?
Medicare Plan F is a supplemental plan. Also called Medigap Plan F, this plan is meant to fill any gaps in your Medicare coverage. Along with Original Medicare (Parts A and B), prescription plans, and other supplemental coverage offered through Part C, Plan F offers healthcare benefits that help cover seniors’ needs.
According to eHealth Medicare¹, Plan F is also the supplemental plan that offers the most comprehensive benefits. Under Plan F, you have very few out-of-pocket expenses. It covers what Original Medicare does not – and it pays whatever’s left after Parts A and B pay their portions.
Although Plan F is often the most expensive option when it comes to Medigap plans, it’s a very popular choice. eHealth Medicare² calls Plan F a great value for anyone who’s seeing increased copayments and deductibles, as it can cover the high costs of regular medical needs.
And unfortunately, Plan F is going away in 2020. In fact, both Plan F and Plan C are disappearing – and it’s all thanks to big government changes.
Why Is Plan F Going Away?
Plan F will be no more once 2019 wraps up. But if Plan F is such a popular choice for Medicare recipients, why is it going away?
It’s because Congress decided to make sweeping changes to Medicare supplement plans. This happens every so often – according to Boomer Benefits³, it happened in 1990 and in 2010 when parts E, H, I, and J were eliminated. And now it’s happening again in 2020.
Medicare Plan F is being phased out as the result of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) of 2015. Sometimes called the “doc fix law,” Boomer Benefits⁴ reports that this legislation was passed to ensure doctors are paid fairly when they see Medicare patients.
Congress decided to try to fix doctors’ payments so they would stay in the Medicare program and keep seeing patients. And in order to do that, Congress needed to find additional money.
That means Medicare coverage had to be reformed. So, Plan F (and Plan C) were the chosen parts to be cut.
What Should Medicare Enrollees Do Now?
If you’re worried about Plan F going away, you can take action. There’s still plenty of time to adjust your Medicare coverage, especially if you’re already enrolled.
Here’s how Boomer Benefits reports the upcoming changes for 2020 will affect different Medicare subscribers⁵:
- Current Plan F Subscribers: You should be able to keep your current plan. The disappearance of Plan F shouldn’t change your coverage.
- Anyone Eligible for Medicare Before January 1, 2020: You may still be able to buy Plan F or Plan C.
- Those Who Qualify for Medicare On or After January 1, 2020: You cannot buy Plan F and you will need to consider other options.
So, although Plan F is going away, current Medicare subscribers and those who are eligible for Medicare throughout 2019 will be just fine. Only new Medicare enrollees are ineligible for Plan F.
But no matter your current Medicare coverage, it’s important that all seniors do their research. Sometimes, when Medicare plans change prices can increase. Additionally, new supplemental plans will likely appear to replace Plan F.
And this means you should research possible rate increases for Plan F or consider getting Plan F before 2020. Knowing all of your options will help you be prepared for next year’s big change. You should compare coverage levels and prices to see if your Medicare plan will need any changes, updates, or additions.