Can I keep my Medicare Cost plan this year?

You may be hearing some buzz about this “Medicare Cost transition.” Here’s a quick summary of what it is and what it means for you.

I love spending time with my family during the holidays. I especially look forward to our dinner conversations. There’s nothing like laughing, catching up and reminiscing with family. And believe it or not, my work follows me home – even this time of year! As the manager of our Sales team, my family asks me about things they’ve seen or heard about health insurance. Not to mention, my own Sales team has been getting quite a few calls recently. This year’s hot topic: the Medicare Cost transition.

While nothing is changing right away, there are likely changes on the horizon. I know many people like to plan ahead, so here are some answers to the questions we’ve been getting:

First, what’s a Medicare Cost plan?

Medicare Cost plans are a type of Medicare health plan that’s available in certain parts of the country. They’re a lot like Medicare Advantage plans. But people with Cost plans can keep their Original Medicare Part A and B coverage. This means they can see providers and hospitals outside of their Cost plan’s network or service area.

I heard that Medicare Cost plans might be going away. Is that true?

It depends. (Always a helpful answer, right?) Starting in 2019, Cost plans may not be an option in places where The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) decide there are other plan options. That means some counties may still have Cost plans as an option into 2019 or beyond. These changes are because of current federal laws and CMS rules. Health insurance…it can never be simple, can it?!

Do I need to change plans now if I have a Medicare Cost plan?

You don’t need to do anything different for your 2018 coverage. Medicare Cost plans will still be available through 2018. That means you can stay on your current Medicare Cost plan.

Here are some of the nitty gritty details:

  • People who are already enrolled in Cost plans can stay on their plan throughout 2018.
  • People can continue to enroll in a Cost plan throughout 2018 if they have an existing relationship with that health plan. For example, if you’re on a commercial plan that also offers a Medicare Cost plan, you can enroll in their Cost plan. Or, if your spouse is a Cost plan member you can enroll in that plan, too.

Keep in mind, this only applies to areas where Cost plans would no longer be an option.

What about next year?

If you’re on a Medicare Cost plan now, don’t worry! You’ll be given plenty of notice about any changes and options well ahead of next year’s Annual Enrollment Period (Oct. 15 – Dec.7).

Share this article with friends and family who have a Medicare Cost plan. You never know – it may come up over your holiday dinner!