Last updated on: November 08, 2022
In January 2020, Plan F was phased out, meaning it is no longer available to new enrollees in Maryland and that current Plan F beneficiaries may experience underwriting and Plan F rate changes.
Like with any new change to Medicare laws in Maryland, many seniors on Medicare or those who are about to become Medicare eligible are confused about how this will affect their coverage.
Enroll Medicare is here to help you understand everything you need to know about Maryland Plan F rate changes and how to navigate the new Medicare Supplement landscape. We believe that finding good supplemental coverage should be simple. Using enrollmedicare.com, you can get rates and purchase a plan 100% online so you can do your own comparing and enrolling at your convenience, all in one place!
Here are some questions you and other seniors may be asking about Plan F rate changes:
What happened to Plan F? Why is this happening?
If you live in Maryland, have you heard of MACRA? The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization legislation passed in 2015. One of its functions was to stop the sale of Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plans that cover the Part B deductible, which is $198 in 2020. (Plan F and Plan C both covered the Part B deductible; Plan F offered the most comprehensive coverage.) This discontinuation is designed to lower overall Medicare spending in MD. The theory is that if beneficiaries can no longer rely on their Medigap plan to pay all of their out-of-pocket health expenses, they will be more selective about seeking care for minor health complaints, which will save the government money. Thus, as of January 1st, 2020, no one who was not already eligible for Medicare before that date will be able to enroll in a Plan F (or Plan C).
However, it’s important to note that Plan F did not entirely disappear in MD. It still exists, and you can still purchase it if you were already eligible for Medicare before January 1st, 2020; however, you will have to pass underwriting, so if you are in poor health or have a preexisting condition, you may not be able to enroll.
If I currently have Plan F in Maryland, can I keep it?
Yes! Currently, almost 60% of the 14 million Americans who are enrolled in a Medicare Supplement plan are enrolled in Plan F, according to CSG Actuarial data. If you’re in this number, you don’t have to re-enroll or change anything about your existing coverage. Just continue to pay your premiums on time and you will still receive all of your Plan F benefits in MD as usual.
Will rates for Plan F skyrocket in Maryland?
Skyrocket, probably, but increase, definitely. Insurance experts warn that as these carriers adapt to the changes, Plan F rates will go up for enrollees. The primary reason for this is that new, younger, healthier enrollees will no longer be able to purchase Plan F; it is effectively closed to newcomers in MD. The current pool of beneficiaries will age and require more medical attention. The cost of insuring the group will become more expensive, so premiums will rise in MD. This is not surprising if you’ve followed other changes to Medicare. When Plans H, I, and J were similarly phased out in 2010, rates for those plans increased for beneficiaries who remained on the plan, so we can expect the same thing with Plan F, and indeed are already seeing it, in some cases by double digits among major carriers.
Can I switch plans to avoid rate changes in Maryland?
Yes, you could! In MD, long as you were eligible for Medicare before January 1st, 2020, you can enroll in another carrier’s Plan F. (Remember that all Plan Fs are standardized, meaning they offer the same coverage no matter who you purchase it from.) Existing Plan Fs are going to go up in price, though (see the above FAQ for an explanation of the Plan F rate changes). New Plan Fs may have competitive pricing, which is good, but you will have to pass underwriting. If you’re a healthy senior, you could potentially find a great price on a different Plan F than you are currently enrolled in, but if underwriting will be a problem for you, Plan F rate changes may take your premiums too high to be your best option for your health care and budget needs.
What plan should I get now that Plan F isn’t available in Maryland?
If you were not eligible for Medicare before January 1st, 2020 in MD, or if you can’t pass medical underwriting and don’t want your rates to go up, Plan F isn’t the Medigap plan for you. Luckily, you have other great options in MD!
- Plan G is currently the alternative with the most comprehensive coverage. The only difference between Plan G and Plan F is that Plan G does not cover the Part B deductible. Plan G has been marketed in Maryland as a bargain compared to Plan F, and the savings can make up for the deductible for many retirees. But Plan G premiums may rise over time just as Plan F’s have begun to, simply because Plan G is essentially the new Plan F.
- Plan N may be something that you want to look into. It includes 100% of the Part B coinsurance, but does require a $20 copay for office visits and $50 for ER visits. It covers the Part A hospital coinsurance, hospice care coinsurance, the Part A deductible, the Part B preventive care coinsurance, the first three pints of blood, and the skilled nursing facility coinsurance. It does not cover the Part B excess charge.
Plan N has a lower monthly rate increase history and lower premiums than Plan G in MD. On the other hand, the premium difference is not always enough to be worth it; if you anticipate numerous doctor visits or ER visits, then the out-of-pocket copays and excess charges may be more than the premium difference, and it might make more sense for you just to pay a little more for extra coverage rather than paying high out-of-pocket expenses in MD. Your best course of action is to find out what the rate differences are like in your area and then make an informed decision.
You can do that right here at our web site, EnrollMedicare.com! Get your free quote and enroll entirely online within minutes. Our agents in Maryland are standing by to answer your questions!
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