Big Medicare Changes Mean Some Seniors Must Seek New Plans
Via the St. Paul Pioneer Press/Grand Rapids Herald-Reivew
As many as 300,000 Minnesota seniors have some potentially confusing health insurance shopping to do this fall.Their Medicare Cost plans, offered by private insurers to limit out-of-pocket expenses, will no longer be available after this year and they need to sign up for something else. The change comes after an update in federal law to phase out cost plans because they are more expensive to administer. For many of those seniors, their best bet will be moving to Medicare Advantage plans which, like cost plans, help cover added expenses and provide managed care. But advantage plans don’t have the same flexibility for seniors who want to see out-of-network health care providers.Insurers unveiled the specifics of dozens of advantage plans Oct. 1 that will be available throughout much of Minnesota. Traditional Medicare open enrollment begins Oct. 15 and runs through Dec. 7, but Minnesotans affected by the cost plan change will have more time — until February 2019 — to finalize their decisions. Not everyone has to move. Cost plans will still be available in 2019 in 21 of Minnesota’s 87 counties. That’s because counties in northeast Minnesota and other rural parts of the state don’t have access to two or more Medicare Advantage plans. But that might not be the case for long, as growing demand has insurers expanding their offerings.
Source/more: Grand Rapids News-Herald