Saying Goodbye to Supplement Plans F and C
(Why It’s Happening and Why It Matters To You)
You can pocket your tear-soaked hanky now. You don’t have to worry! If you are currently on plan C or F and have come to know and love it, the government will not force you to give it up. But for those of you yet to meet Medicare Supplement’s most comprehensive and popular plan (F) and his trusty companion (C), you may never get the chance. In 2020, the government will discontinue them both.
This begs the question: if the plans are so popular, then…
Why Are They Being Discontinued?
It’s a long story, but I’ll keep it brief. It all began with the “doc fix” bill, which President Obama signed into law back in 2015. The purpose of this legislation is to increase Medicare payments to doctors, so they continue to accept Medicare beneficiaries at their practices. Sounds like a good deal, right?
But by signing this bill, Medicare agreed to a hefty associated price tag of 200 billion dollars (according to The Hill). The money has to come from somewhere, so the federal government went to work on reforming Medicare in order to foot the bill for the bill (the bill’s bill, if you will). Phasing out plans C and F just happened to be the product of their brainstorm.
Here’s how they expect it will save Medicare money: Since plans C and F are the only ones that offer Part B deductible coverage ($166 in 2016), getting rid of both makes all Medicare beneficiaries responsible for their Part B deductible. Their hopes are that this will cause retirees to question their need to go to the doctor. The rationale is “if Medicare beneficiaries have a little more skin in the game (having to pay the deductible), maybe they won’t go to the doctor for every cough, ache, pain, or sniffle”. This—they believe—will save Medicare some cold, hard cash!
But this leads us to yet another “why” question…
Why Does It Matter to Me?
If you plan to enroll in Medicare after 2020, it’s quite obvious: plans C and F won’t be available to you. However, even if you are currently on plan C or F, saying goodbye to either one of these plans could have a costly effect on your monthly premium.
When a plan discontinues, it stops younger and healthier people from getting on the plan. This leaves an aging pool of beneficiaries, who (at least statistically speaking) have more health problems and file more costly claims. In order for the insurance provider to survive, they will likely counteract this loss with premium hikes.
Of course, this still leaves a lot of the 200 billion still unfunded, which—according to Forbes and Money Magazine—will likely come at high cost to Medicare beneficiaries.
To read more about how the “doc fix” bill could affect you, click the following link:
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