As I meet with Bemidji-area residents to help them replace their Blue Cross, Medica or Health Partners insurance plans, nearly every client wants to know “Why is my Medicare Cost plan ending?”
Some people ask if it was a decision made by their insurance company, perhaps to force them to a different insurance policy. This is not the case however. I’m sure Blue Cross, Medica or Health Partners would prefer that you stay on your current plan, rather than make you shop for replacement coverage, which might result in them losing your business.
If your Medicare Cost plan is ending, you can blame the federal government. In 2003, Congress passed a law that this type of plan could only be offered in limited areas. Although this change was delayed several times, a law passed in 2015 stated that these restrictions would begin in 2019.
The reason for this change is that the federal government would generally prefer that seniors enroll in another type of plan called Medicare Advantage.
Although Cost plans and Advantage plans may look quite similar, one big difference is that Medicare reimburses Cost plan carriers for the actual amount that hey pay out in benefits, while Medicare Advantage plans are reimbursed a set amount for each member they enroll. So with Medicare Advantage plans, your carrier has an incentive to cut costs and to work with you to keep you as healthy as possible.
Because the federal government believes that Advantage plans do a better job of reducing health care costs and keeping Medicare members healthy, they are restricting Cost plans to counties where there are not at least two established Advantage plans for seniors to choose from. Based on these rules, 21 counties in Minnesota (including the entire northeastern corner of the state) are allowed to keep Cost plans, while the rest of us are forced to get something new. (In the Bemidji area, this includes all Medicare Cost members living in Beltrami, Clearwater, Hubbard and Cass counties.)
So what are your options for a replacement plan? In general terms, your choice is either to enroll in Medicare Advantage or to buy a Medigap plan paired with a seperate Part D drug plan. So which is better? There’s a number of factors to consider, as I explain here.
Nearly every Medicare member I meet with tells me how confusing and overwhelming their decision is. So if you live in the Bemidji area and would like some help, I’d be very happy to meet with you and explain your options and help you choose a new plan that will meet your needs, desires and budget. Just call my office at 218-444-9360 and we’ll set a time to meet.
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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Contact me now for an appointment to sit down and discuss your options >
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.