2020 Brings Major Changes To Medicare Beneficiaries

By Eileen Doherty, MS ~

Each year as we near the end of the year, Medicare beneficiaries are encouraged to review their current coverage and decide if the plan(s)n in which they are enrolled still meets their needs.  This year is no different.

One big difference this year is Medicare Part D. Since Congress has not acted, beneficiaries will be required to pay more out-of-pocket in 2020 if they have high prescription drug costs. Compared to $8,554 for the maximum out-of-pocket in 2019, when the total cost of the drugs in 2020 reaches $10,805 including the deductible ($435), the coverage gap ($4020) and the donut hole ($6350), the beneficiary will be eligible for generic drugs that cost $3.60 and name brands that cost $8.95.  The donut hole will be closed with the beneficiary paying the deductible and 25% of the cost in the coverage gap and the donut hole or about $3000.

Medicare Monday, a series of educational programs offered by Medicare experts from the Colorado Gerontological Society will kick-off on October 21, from 9:30 to 11:30 am at four locations throughout the State.  A total of twenty-one sessions will be offered throughout Colorado with thirteen sessions in Metro Denver and eight on the front range and the west slope. Two sessions will be in Spanish.  See our ad in this newspaper for Metro Denver locations and for a full list, visit www.senioranswers.org.

Following an educational program on Medicare changes, representatives from health insurance companies will be available at most locations with enrollment information on Medicare Supplements, Medicare Advantage Plans, and Prescription Drug Plans.

Walgreens or Safeway will be at selected locations to offer flu, pneumonia, whooping cough, and shingles vaccines.  Your insurance will be charged and applicable co-pays may apply. 

Another looming change will affect new enrollees in Medicare.  Individuals who turn 65 on or after January 1, 2020 will no longer be able to purchase a Medicare Supplement Plan C, F or F+ as these plans will no longer be sold.  Individuals are encouraged to consider buying Plan D, G or G+ which is similar, but does not cover the Part B deductible.  Federal law eliminated first dollar coverage for Medicare beneficiaries through Plan C and F.

Several new Medicare Advantage plans will be entering the market in Colorado in selected locations.  Several Prescription Drug Plans have also left the market.  Beneficiaries are encouraged to review their medications during open enrollment from October 15 to December 7, to make whatever changes may be needed for 2020.  The Society is offering individual counseling and consultation with the University of Colorado School of Pharmacy students to review current plans and suggest changes if necessary.

For more information about Medicare Monday visit www.senioranswers.org or call 303-333-3482 to talk with a counselor.

Eileen Doherty

Eileen Doherty

Eileen Doherty, MS is the Executive Director of the Colorado Gerontological Society.  Her areas of expertise include management and administration of nonprofit organizations, education and training on issues related to older adults, advocacy and policy development on senior issues, and clinical practice in working with seniors and families to manage their lives in the later years. She has been the Director of the Society since 1982.  She teaches Nonprofit Management for Fort Hays State University.  Her phone number is 303-333-3482 or doherty001@att.net.

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