Several changes in Medicare health and drug plans are scheduled to take effect during the 2020 year.
The Part D coverage gap, known as the doughnut hole, is closing in 2020, but people with high drug costs face an added challenge next year. The total out-of-pocket spending required to reach catastrophic coverage, where beneficiaries typically pay 5% of the cost of a drug, will jump by $1,250 in 2020, to $6,350.
People who turn 65 after Jan. 1 will no longer be able to buy Medigap policies that cover the Part B annual deductible, which is $185 in 2019. So instead of buying one of the most popular Medigap policies, Plan F, new enrollees in Medicare in 2020 and beyond may want to purchase Plan G, which covers all the same things as Plan F, except for the Part B deductible. People who are 65 or older this year can continue to buy Medigap Plan F, but a shrinking insurance pool could lead to higher premiums in the future.
Medicare Advantage plans will be able to offer more benefits next year to chronically ill enrollees, which could include meal delivery, transportation for grocery shopping and other errands and support for family caregivers.
Bottom line: There will be more Medicare choices in 2020 and more tradeoffs. Clients should focus on what matters to them , whether it is access to their preferred doctors, lower monthly premiums or the best plan to help with their specific drug needs.