How Medicare Recipients Can Prepare for the Termination of Certain Supplemental Medicare Policies (Medigap)

by David Goldfarb

As part of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015, Congress eliminated certain Medigap plans that cover Medicare Part B deductibles and other expenses owed by Part B policyholders. The federal law will no longer allow insurance companies to offer certain Medigap programspolicies—such as Plan C or Plan F—starting in 2020. As part of the Act, high-income Medicare recipients may also face higher premiums. An experienced New York elder law attorney, however, can help retirees access Medicare and Medicaid coverage, as well as execute effective financial planning to cover healthcare costs that insurance programs do not cover.

Why Are Medigap Programs Being Discontinued?

One of the most controversial aspects of Plan F was the extent of its coverage. Forbes reports that Plan F policies cover Medicare Part A and Part B deductibles, as well as the 20 percent of outpatient benefits that Medicare Part B do not cover. Thus, a policyholder who has coverage under Parts A, B, and Medigap Plan F is essentially covered 100 percent, dollar for dollar, for any medical costs. Critics complain that this will cause unnecessary doctor visits and healthcare costs. These critics believe, on the other hand, that if Medicare recipients must pay for a portion of their medical care, it will spare the Medicare program unnecessary costs.

How Do I Plan for Increased Medicare Premiums or Copays?

Medicare recipients can protect their Medigap coverage. First, everyone currently enrolled in a Medigap Plan F or Plan C may keep this coverage for the remainder of their lives. Anyone who enrolls in such a program before January 1, 2020, may also retain this Medigap coverage.

Another option is Part G coverage. This functions similarly to Plan F coverage, except recipients, must pay small annual Part B deductibles.

Retirees may also consider other options to supplement Medicare coverage. Plans through a private employer may provide different coverage than the Medigap plans. They may also consider catastrophic policies or long-term care insurance that form an important safety net for catastrophic medical expenses, such as an emergency surgery or full-time nursing care.

Retirees may also address health care costs through an overall retirement financial plan. By setting aside certain assets, interest, or other income for the express purpose of medical care, New Yorkers can prepare for future healthcare costs. Even after retirement has precluded a steady income from employment, a sound financial plan can provide steady income from other sources.

Protect Your Medical Coverage With the Counsel of a New York Medicare Attorney

Don’t leave your healthcare to chance. Consult an elder law and estate planning attorney to ensure that you receive all of the benefits available to you, your claims are not denied, and you have the full extent of coverage to which you are entitled. The elder law and estate planning attorneys at Goldfarb Abrandt Salzman & Kutzin have decades of experience ensuring that benefits are made available to those who deserve them. Call (212) 387-8400 today to schedule your consultation.