This article was last updated on Jan. 14, 2020.
Whether you’re already enrolled in Medicare or will soon be eligible for coverage, you’ve probably heard about recent changes to the program and might be wondering how they will affect you.
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The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) External Site is a law passed in 2015 that changed the way health care providers are paid. The changes are designed to improve the quality of care they provide. As part of the law, people who are eligible for Medicare after Jan. 1, 2020, are no longer able to enroll in a Medicare supplement plan that covers the costs of the Original Medicare Part B External Site (medical coverage) deductible — no matter the carrier. Here’s what that means if you're a Wellmark member or considering Wellmark Medicare supplement coverage:
As long as you were eligible for Original Medicare Part A External Site (hospital coverage) before Jan. 1, 2020, you can enroll in Wellmark MedicareBlue SupplementSM Plan F — Wellmark's most popular Medicare supplement plan and the plan that currently covers and will continue to cover the Part B deductible. If you’re already enrolled in Plan F, you can keep your coverage.
5 common questions about MACRA and Plan F
We want you to understand your Medicare benefits, so you can fully enjoy your retirement. To help, we've answered some of the biggest questions related to Medicare reform.
Q: I signed up for Wellmark MedicareBlue Supplement Plan F during my enrollment period last year. Can I keep my plan?
A: Yes, as long as you were eligible for Medicare Part 1 before Jan. 1, 2020, you can keep your Plan F once MACRA is in effect in 2020.
Q: I was eligible for Medicare Part A in December 2019, and enrolled during my Initial Enrollment Period. Will Plan F still be available?
A: Yes, if you were eligible for Medicare Part A before Jan. 1, 2020, you can enroll in Plan F.
Q: I will be eligible for Medicare in August 2020. Will Plan F still be available?
A: If you were not eligible for Medicare Part A before Jan. 1, 2020, you cannot enroll in Plan F. You will, however, have the option to consider a different Wellmark MedicareBlue Supplement plan Opens New Window, which includes Plan G. Plan G is a comparable, benefits-rich plan option.
Q: Has Plan F been discontinued, effective Jan. 1, 2020?A: Plan F is still available if you were eligible for Medicare Part A before Jan. 1, 2020. If you were not eligible for Medicare Part A before Jan. 1, 2020, you cannot enroll in Plan F.
Q: I'm working past age 65 and get my health insurance coverage through my employer. If I waived my Medicare Part B benefits, can I still apply for Wellmark MedicareBlue Supplement Plan F?
A: Yes, as long as you were eligible for Medicare Part A before Jan. 1, 2020. After you stop working and receiving health insurance coverage from your employer, you have eight months to elect Part B benefits. You then have a six-month open enrollment period following your Part B effective date to enroll in a Wellmark Medicare supplement plan, including Plan F, without answering health questions.
But, what if I didn't waive my Medicare Part A and Part B benefits? You can still apply for MedicareBlue Supplement Plan F after you stop working, because you were eligible for Medicare Part A before Jan. 1, 2020. After you stop receiving health insurance coverage from your employer, you may have a guaranteed issue right External Site to enroll in a Wellmark Medicare supplement plan, including Plan F, without having to answer health questions.
The bottom line
As long as you were eligible for Medicare Part A before Jan. 1, 2020 — even if you're enrolled in Plan F with a different carrier — you can apply for Wellmark MedicareBlue Supplement Plan F at any time.
Do you still have questions about how the changes to Medicare may affect you? Contact your authorized Wellmark agent for more information.