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How upcoming Medicare changes may impact you in 2020

What you need to know

Whether you’re already enrolled in Medicare or will soon be eligible for coverage, you’ve probably heard about upcoming changes to the program and might be wondering how they will affect you.

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 Opens New Window:

As long as you’re 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.

  1. 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 before Jan. 1, 2020, you can keep your Plan F once MACRA goes into effect in 2020.

  2. Q: I'll be eligible for Medicare Part A in December 2019, and I plan to enroll soon. Will Plan F still be available?

    A: Yes, if you are eligible for Medicare Part A before Jan. 1, 2020, you can enroll in Plan F.

  3. Q: I will be eligible for Medicare in August 2020. Will Plan F still be available?

    A: If you are 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, which includes Plan G. Plan G is a comparable, benefits-rich plan option.

  4. 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.

  5. Q: Is Plan F being discontinued after Jan. 1, 2020?

    A: Plan F is still available if you were eligible for Medicare Part A before Jan. 1, 2020. If you are not eligible for Medicare Part A before Jan. 1, 2020, you cannot enroll in Plan F.

Bottom line: As long as you're 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 upcoming changes to Medicare may affect you? Contact your authorized Wellmark agent Opens New Window for more information.

Medicare Supplement