Medicare News

Medicare News

The media thrives on political conflict and loves to pit one group of Americans against another.   As such, we often hear media reports about how the Medicare program is going broke or that Medicare is an entitlement program that is running up our national debt to unsustainable levels.  This then permits the media to stage a fight between liberals and conservatives as to what to do about the problem.  What we do not hear much about, on the other hand, is when our legislative representatives actually find bipartisan agreement and pass a law that nevertheless affects millions of people.  That is why you probably had no idea that the federal government recently banned or outlawed the most popular Medicare supplement or Medigap plan called Plan F starting in year 2020.  It was done by way of legislation formally called the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 which is informally referred to as The Doc Fix.  It was signed into law by President Obama on April 16, 2015.  Under this new law, insurance companies will no longer be allowed to offer any Medicare supplement plans such as Plan F that provide what is considered to be first dollar benefits such as paying the Medicare Part B deductible for a Medicare beneficiary.  Unfortunately, Plan F is the most popular of the available Medicare supplement plans because it offers the most coverage and is affordably priced.

The underlying reason for banning Plan F is to save the government money at the expense of consumers.  According to the policymakers who voted for the law, the specific intent is to make Medicare beneficiaries more sensitive to the cost of medical care so that they are less inclined to use medical services in the first place.  In other words, if a consumer has to pay more out of pocket for a medical service, they might just decide to forgo treatment altogether.  According to estimates by the Congressional Budget Office, the law will shift approximately $400 million from the government onto consumers between the years 2020 and 2025.  

The only good news here is that the law does not affect several other types of Medicare supplement plans such as Plan G or Plan N.  For a more detailed explanation of how Medicare supplement plans work, please click on the following links.

Medicare Enhancement Options Free Medicare Plans Booklet!

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