Medicare: What’s new in 2020

Many people think enrolling in Medicare is a once-in-a-lifetime event that’s timed with retirement. But such a set-it-and-forget-it attitude about health care coverage options can be a costly mistake.

Each year, Medicare beneficiaries have the opportunity to re-shop their health and drug coverage choices during the annual open enrollment season (now through - Dec. 7) for coverage that begins Jan 1. Unfortunately, few do.

The stakes are higher than usual during this year’s enrollment period due to 2020 changes for people with Medicare supplemental plans, new all-inclusive Medicare Advantage plans entering Alameda County and richer benefits offered as part of existing plans.

Here’s what’s changing in 2020:

  • Higher Part B premium: The basic Medicare Part B premium is expected to rise from $135.50 per month for most beneficiaries to $144 per month in 2020.
  • Higher Part A deductible: The Part A deductible for inpatient hospital stays is expected to rise from $1,364 to $1,420 next year.
  • Plans C and F going away: Individuals turning 65 in 2020 will not be allowed to enroll in these plans. This means that those staying on their Plan C or F may experience faster premium increases as younger, healthier adults will not be able to offset the costs that health insurers face.
  • Lower Part D premiums: The average monthly premium for a Part D prescription drug plan is expected to decline by 13.5 percent to $30 — the lowest level since 2013. 
  • Shrinking donut hole: The coverage gap for prescription drugs will continue to exist in 2020, but the amount that Medicare beneficiaries will have to pay will be less

n New 2020 plans and benefits: New, low-cost Medicare Advantage plans will be available in Alameda County next year, including many with low-cost supplemental benefits such as eyeglasses, dental coverage, acupuncture, chiropractor, over-the-counter items and more.

Enrollment in Medicare Advantage plans is forecasted to grow to an all-time high in 2020. These plans will expand their benefits and lower their premiums next year. In fact, Alameda County will have eight additional Medicare Advantage plans to choose from.

For anyone whose premiums have increased or health needs have changed, a Medicare insurance checkup is in order. By reviewing current coverage with an insurance specialist, patients may find they can save money and get more benefits.

Calyx Advantage offers free Medicare insurance consultations to help people find the right plan that includes doctors, prescriptions and the most benefits at the lowest cost. This year, Calyx Advantage aims to help Bay Area seniors save more than $100,000 annually on Medicare insurance. 

 

Shaily Gupta works with Calyx Advantage, provides objective, unbiased guidance on Medicare plans will help save money and get better coverage. To schedule a free consultation, call 474-0515 or visit www.calyxadvantage.com.