If you live in Minnesota and have a Blue Cross, Medica or Health Partners Cost plan which is ending at the end of the year, you may be wondering how long you have to choose and enroll in replacement coverage.
The normal deadline to choose or change plans during the Annual Enrollment Period is December 7. However, if you are losing your current Cost plan, this deadline does not apply to you.
Your real deadline is December 31 to get replacement coverage to be effective on January 1. As long as you submit your enrollment by the last day of December, your coverage will transition seamlessly from your Cost plan to your new plan the first of the new year.
If you miss the December 31 deadline, you still have some time to replace your coverage, but you will have a gap where you may only have your Original Part A and Part B Medicare benefits. You can still enroll in an Medicare Advantage or Part D drug plan through 2/28/19. Or you can enroll in a Medigap (aka “Medicare Supplement”) plan without answering health questions through 3/4/19. Keep in mind, however, that your new plan will not take effect until the first of the month after you submit your enrollment application.
Bear in mind that if you wait until nearly the last minute to enroll in a new plan, you may not have your new insurance card or other materials when your coverage starts. It might take your new carrier several weeks to send your new documents. In the meantime, if you need to see a medical provider, you might want to call your new plan to see if they have assigned you with an ID number yet. Otherwise, you will have to tell the provider that your new plan is pending and you will get back to them with your ID number once you receive it.
For most of us, life gets busy around the holidays, so the best time to wrap up your new enrollment is probably before Christmas is in full swing. This will take one more thing off your mind plus give your new carrier some time to get your plan documents to you.
If you have other questions, give me a call at 218-444-9360. I’m happy to help!
This post applies to Medicare beneficiaries involuntarily losing their Medicare Cost plans as of 12/31/18. This post references rules for Medicare’s Enrollment Period (AEP) and Special Enrollment Period for contract non-renewal (SEP-NON). Minnesota Cost plans that are non-renewing in most counties are Platinum Blue (Blue Cross), Prime Solution (Medica) and Freedom (Health Partners).
More Medicare Resources:
View more info on our health insurance page >
Three Options if you are losing your Medicare plan >
How much does it cost to get help from a Medicare agent? >
Six quick questions to consider when choosing new Medicare coverage >
How to choose new Prescription Drug coverage >
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About the Author
Agent Ken Cobb
Ken is the owner and principal agent at Pine Country Insurance in Bemidji. Active in the insurance industry since 2000,Ken uses his years of personal insurance knowledge and experience to assist clients in customizing insurance coverage to fit their needs. Ken considers himself a "farmer" rather than a "hunter"; rather than focusing on writing a lot of new policies as quickly as possible, he works on cultivating long term relationships based on trust with his clients. When writing new policies and meeting for annual reviews, Ken spends time with his clients explaining and helping them understand their insurance, and he is also pleased to share his knowledge with his blogging audience as well.
Ken Cobb is owner of Pine Country Insurance and has been active in the insurance industry for over 15 years. Meet Ken.
Coverage descriptions found in this blog are summaries provided for general educational purposes and cannot fully detail the terms, conditions, limitations or exclusions of a specific insurance policy. Please read your policy carefully.