Medicare beneficiaries getting their first detailed look at 2019 health plan options are seeing a lot more zeros — as in health plans with no monthly premiums. The federal government on Monday let insurers begin fully marketing Medicare health plan options for next year, when more than a quarter million Minnesotans will need to find new coverage due to a change in federal law. Five health insurers next year will sell $0 premium plans in Minnesota — up from one carrier currently — while two other companies will sell coverage with monthly premiums below $30, according to a Star Tribune review of federal data. While a health plan with no premium might sound good, state officials caution that consumers should read the fine print. “There will be more premium-free plans,” said Kelli Jo Greiner, health policy analyst with the Minnesota Board on Aging. “What people need to understand is, with not paying a premium, it means that your cost-sharing is probably going to be higher in terms of deductibles, coinsurance and copays.” “There are several other things they need to look at,” Greiner added. “Does their [health care] provider participate with that plan? Does their pharmacy participate, and are their drugs going to be covered?”
While things like zero-premium plans and health insurer marketing efforts will put a lot of attention on Medicare Advantage plans, consumer advocates say Minnesotans shouldn’t lose sight of a different option where beneficiaries return to original Medicare and also purchase a “Medigap” supplemental policy. Medigap coverage in many cases comes with a higher premium, but the policies might be a better fit for people with significant health problems or for those who travel a lot, according to consumer advisers.
Source/more: Minneapolis Star-Tribune