UNITED STATES—Dear Toni, I recently received a 15 percent renewal increase starting in September for my Medicare Supplement. Every year, the plans seem to go up a little, but not as much as this year. I’m a 68-year-old female with high blood pressure.   I’m confused about changing companies. Heard I have to wait until Medicare Open Enrollment in October. Can you please tell me what to do? Signed Cindy a loyal weekly reader.

Hello Cindy: You are not alone. There is a Medicare Supplement company that is giving a 15 percent increase for those who have this company beginning September 1. This company released their new rate increase to their enrollees about 2 weeks ago. Insurance agents found out via an email informing of this huge rate adjustment and I believe it is my duty as a Medicare advocate to inform the public of what has happened because a15 percent rate increase is not a typical renewal rate in the Medicare Supplement insurance world.

For those receiving the 15 percent rate increase or wish to change their current Medicare Supplement plan, the Medicare Supplement underwriting rule begins when one has had their Medicare Part B longer than 6 months.

Cindy, you do not have to wait until October to make a Medicare Supplement change. You can change your Medicare Supplement any time during the year. Medicare Open/Annual Enrollment is a time to change your Medicare Advantage plan or Medicare Part D Prescription Drug plan

In April 2015, Congress passed legislation called “Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015” (MACRA) to help the medical industry by correcting the “Doc Fix” proposal and made changes to Medicare Supplement’s plans F and C which begin in 2020.

Those who are new to Medicare or wish to apply for a new Medicare supplement need to know that Medicare Plan F and C are available until January 1, 2020. One might want to see what Medicare Plan G and N has to offer.

Let’s discuss the difference:

  • Plan F: offers more benefits with higher premiums. Those who wish to enroll or currently have Plan F will not be forced to move because this change only affects newly eligible beneficiaries with effective dates of Jan. 1, 2020 and Medicare Plan F will no longer be available to those new to Medicare.
  • Plan G: offer lower rates and the same Medicare benefits as Plan F except the Medicare Part B deductible is not covered and will be paid for by the enrolled Medicare beneficiary. Part B deductible for 2019 is $185 which is Plan G’s out of pocket.
  • Plan N: generally has lower premiums than Plan G with generally more out of pocket. There is a $20 co pay for a doctor visit with $50 co-pay for emergency room. Part B deductible is not covered, and Part B excess charges are not paid for by the insurance company which Plan G includes. Plan N can have more out of pocket cost than Plan G.

Take your time when searching for your Medicare option such as Medicare Supplement or Medicare Advantage plans and ask which option would best fit your specific medical needs. Email the Toni Says® office at info@tonisays.com for more Medicare information. Caution: You may apply to replace your Medicare Supplement policy at any time. Do not cancel your existing policy until you have been approved by your new insurance company.

Toni King, author of the Medicare Survival Guide® is giving a $5 discount on the Medicare Survival Guide® Advanced book at www.tonisays.com. Have a Medicare question? Email Toni at info@tonisays.com or call the Toni Says Medicare Call Center at 844-250-8664.