Medicare Supplement Special Enrollment Period
Changing Your Medicare Supplement To A Place D, G Or G+ ~
By Eileen Doherty, MS ~
Denver, Colo. – Colorado Medicare beneficiaries who have a Medicare Supplement Plan C, F, or F+ should consider changing to a Plan D, G, or G+ between now and June 30, 2021 during a special enrollment period approved by the Colorado Division of Insurance.
Starting January 1, 2019, insurance agents were not able to sell Medicare Supplement Plans C, F or F+. It was one of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act. The change was based on the assumption that Medicare beneficiaries should pay at least some out-of-pocket health care costs in addition to the Medicare Part B premium and the Medicare Supplement premium.
As a result, the law was changed so that all Medicare beneficiaries who have a Medicare Supplement will have to pay the Medicare Part B deductible, which in 2021 is $148.50. Due to this change in the law, Medicare beneficiaries in Colorado will have a special enrollment period to change to a Plan D, G, or G+ either with the company they are currently doing business or they can change to a different company.
We advise that Medicare beneficiaries do some comparison shopping between companies. In Colorado there are more than 30 companies offering these plans and prices are competitive.
It is important to note that regardless of which company you elect to do business, the benefits that are covered are exactly the same. Plans that cost more do not offer additional benefits; similarly, plans that cost less do not offer fewer benefits.
Medicare beneficiaries who want to stay with their current Medicare Plan C, F or F+ won’t have to pay the Medicare Part B deductible. However, The Society is advising that beneficiaries consider changing as we expect the Plan C, F or F+ premiums will escalate as fewer and fewer older adults are enrolled in those plans.
We have witnessed this type of premium escalation with beneficiaries could have purchased a Part D plan in 2006, but who chose to keep their Plan J, rather than to enroll in Medicare Part D. Similar to this change in the law, Medicare beneficiaries could no longer purchase a Plan J starting in 2006. Today, those beneficiaries who chose to keep Plan J with the limited prescription drug coverage, are now paying hundreds of dollars each month, sometimes in excess of $700 or $800. They were hesitant to make the change as they did not trust the federal government’s new law regarding Medicare Part D.
Purchasing a Plan D, G, or G+ is relatively simple. Contact your insurance agent and let them know you want to purchase a Plan D, G or G+. Most insurance agents are aware of the Special Enrollment Period. Many of the insurance companies have also been notifying their customers of the opportunity to change.
To change your coverage to a Plan D, G or G+, you will have to work with an agent. Medicare supplements must be purchased through an agent. If you need assistance selecting an agent or have other questions, please call our office at 303-333-3482.
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.