Medicare Cost Plan Confusion for NE MN

September 10, 2018     About this blog:  click here

Medicare Cost Plan Confusion for NE MN

Medicare Cost Plans are a specific type of insurance to supplement Medicare, which is very popular in Minnesota.

However, the Cost Plans are being eliminated in many, but not most, parts of the state.

There has been great confusion for people in Northeastern Minnesota.

First, earlier this year they were told that their Cost Plans would end on Dec. 31, and they would have to pick something else for 2019.

Then, this summer, they were told they have a reprieve.   The Cost Plans were not ending, in fact, for 21 counties in Minnesota, including all of the Northeastern Minnesota counties.

But now – most of them, who have Blue Cross Platinum Blue Cost Plan policies — just got an official letter from the federal government.  The letter is from CMS, which stands for Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

The letter says that their Cost Plans ARE ending this year!!  About 38,700 people received this letter from CMS.

Talk about an emotional roller coaster!   What gives?

Good news –  that letter from the government to people with Blue Cross Cost Plans in those 21 counties, which sated that these Cost Plans will end, was a MISTAKE.    False alarm.    “Never mind…”

The Cost Plans in these counties will actually continue for next year, 2019:

Aitkin, Cook, Carlton, Goodhue, Itasca, Kanabec, Koochiching, Lake,  LaSueur, McLeod, Meeker, Mille Lacs, Pine, Pipestone, Rice, Rock, Sibley, St. Louis, Stevens, Traverse, and Yellow Medicine.

However, 2019 is very like to be the last year, for real.  That’s a topic for another day, a year from now.

Did the Government really make a mistake with those letters?

A Minneapolis Star Tribune article states that the mistake was caused by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota, which goofed up and sent these people’s names to CMS, along with all of the names of people elsewhere in the state who ARE in fact losing their Cost Plans.

Most of the people who are losing their Cost Plans at the end of this year are in the Twin Cities area – over 200,000 of them.

All of them have to pick something different, either a Medicare Supplement policy or a Medicare Advantage policy.   Many of these people, especially snowbirds and others who spend a lot of time out of state, will likely want the Medicare Supplement policies, which give them good coverage across the country.

The Medicare Advantage Plans do not have good coverage out of state.

Normally, you can only get on a Medicare Supplement policy when you first turn 65;  or later on, only if you are in very good health and pass the insurance company’s medical screening.

However, for the people losing their Cost Plans, an exception is being made and they will be allowed to choose a Medicare Supplement policy if they wish.

To learn more about the differences between Medicare Supplement and Medicare Advantage policies, see our Medicare Consumer Blog post of May 7.

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    Thank you Buddy for all the work you do to make certain people understand what is going on with the Medicare program and what legislation changes might mean to the coverage. You are so appreciated.

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