UNITED STATES─Morning Toni: I am turning 65 in March and am searching for the right Medicare Supplement to cover my health needs. I have been told from patients at the cancer center where I go to receive my cancer treatment that Plan F is the plan to choose. I have been “Googling” enrolling in Plan “F” and discovered that it is not available for me. I would like to know WHY because I do not need to make a serious Medicare mistake.

Thanks, Sam from Clear Lake area.

Sam: Effective as of January 1, 2020, Medicare Supplements Plan F and C are no longer available to those who are turning 65 or those older than 65 who Medicare Parts A with effective date beginning January 1, 2020. Those who you are discussing Medicare Supplements must have their Medicare Part A before January 1,2020.

Congress passed legislation called “Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015” (MACRA) to help the medical industry by correcting the “Doc Fix” proposal. The legislation ended Medicare Supplement’s Plans F and C in 2020 for those new to Medicare.

Doctors were concerned about the Medicare cuts to the medical profession and were threatening to leave Medicare.

To keep doctors from bailing out of Medicare, Congress had to come up with that money somewhere and they found it in the Part B deductible that Medicare Plans F and C pickup.

Congress decided to pass $200 billion of Medicare expenses over a 10-year period to the Medicare beneficiaries by eliminating Medicare Supplement Plans F and C which pay for Medicare’s Part B deductible.

The law of 2015 (MACRA) ensures doctors will be adequately paid for Medicare services and that those enrolled in Medicare have the healthcare professionals they need.

Let’s discuss the difference of Plan F and Plan G:

  • Plan F: Offers more benefits with higher premiums. Those who Medicare Part A is prior to January 1, 2020 can apply for Plan F. Those who currently have Plan F will be grandfather and not forced to move from Plan F. As I stated earlier in this article, this change only affects newly eligible beneficiaries with Medicare Part A effective dates of January 1, 2020 or later and Medicare Plan C, F or High-Deductible F will no longer be available.
  • Plan G: Offers lower rates with the Medicare Part B deductible not covered and being paid for by the enrolled Medicare beneficiary. Your out of pocket expense would be the Part B deductible for the current year. For 2020, the Medicare Part B deductible is $198 which will be your Plan G 2020 out of pocket.

Medicare Supplement plans available to those with Medicare Part A effective date prior to January 1, 2020 are Plan A, B, C, D, F, High-Deductible Plan F, G, High-Deductible G, M and N.

Medicare Supplement plans available to those with Medicare Part A effective date January 1,2020 or later are Plan A, D, G, High-Deductible G, M and N.

For questions regarding the maze of Medicare, the Toni Says Medicare team now has a Toni Says Medicare hotline at 832-519-8664 to help America answer questions concerning the confusion of Medicare.

Toni King, author of the Medicare Survival Guide® is giving a $5 discount on the Medicare Survival Guide® Advanced book to the Toni Says Medicare column readers at www.tonisays.com.