NEWS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 1, 2019

Medicare 2019 Fall Open Enrollment Resource for Journalists
Released by the Medicare Rights Center

New York, NY– Medicare Fall Open Enrollment occurs from October 15 to December 7 of every year and is the time of year when people with Medicare can make unrestricted changes to their coverage options. To assist the press in their Medicare coverage, the Medicare Rights Center has developed Medicare Fall Open Enrollment: A Resource for Journalists, Fall 2019, which includes a list of upcoming changes, expert advice, and related issues of interest to people with Medicare. Also included are consumer-friendly resources that can be shared with readers.

The Medicare Rights Center, a national nonprofit consumer service organization that works to ensure access to affordable health care for older adults and people with disabilities, expects that journalists will find the resource helpful as they prepare coverage for this year’s Medicare enrollment season.

A few notable updates for 2020 include the following:

  • New Medicare Plan Finder
    This year, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) redesigned the Medicare Plan Finder on medicare.gov with a modern design and more user-friendly functionality. Features of the old Plan Finder still exist in the new Plan Finder, but a primary change is the way that an individual searches for plans.
  • Expansion of Medicare Advantage Supplemental Benefits
    In 2019, Medicare Advantage Plans were granted more flexibility in the supplemental benefits they are allowed to offer to their members. This includes the ability to offer benefits that are not directly considered medical care. These benefits might include nutrition services, in-home supports, and home modifications. Starting in 2020, plans are allowed to begin offering even more services to certain members with chronic conditions.
  • Part D Prescription Drug Costs
    The average Medicare prescription drug plan premium for 2020 is $32.74 per month, down from $33.19 in 2019. However, premiums for specific plans and regions vary from year to year.In 2020, Part D enrollees will enter the coverage gap after their total drug costs reach $4,020 (up from $3,820 in 2019). Once in the coverage gap, they have a 75% discount on the cost of their brand-name and generic drugs. Enrollees will reach catastrophic coverage after paying $6,350 out of pocket on drugs (up from $5,100 in 2019).
  • Medigap Changes in 2020
    As a result of federal legislation, individuals who are newly eligible for Medicare on or after January 1, 2020 will not be able to purchase Medigap Plan C or Plan F (including the Plan F high-deductible option). This is because after January 1, 2020, the law prevents individuals new to Medicare from purchasing Medigaps that pay for the Part B deductible. Both Plan C and Plan F cover the Part B deductible.

The complete Medicare Fall Open Enrollment: A Resource for Journalists is available on the Medicare Rights Center’s website at: https://www.medicarerights.org/pdf/fall-open-enrollment-resource-for-journalists.pdf.

A consumer version of this resource is also available on Medicare Interactive. Developed by the Medicare Rights Center, Medicare Interactive (MI) is a free and independent online reference tool thoughtfully designed to help older adults and people with disabilities navigate the complex world of health insurance.

Contact: Mitchell Clark – mclark@medicarerights.org

 

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Medicare Rights Center is a national, nonprofit consumer service organization that works to ensure access to affordable health care for older adults and people with disabilities through counseling and advocacy, educational programs, and public policy initiatives.

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