If you are on a Medicare Cost plan insurers are required by law to notify you by September 15th if your plan is ending.  Due to a change in federal law, Medicare Cost plans won't be available in most Minnesota counties next year.  KDHL/POWER 96 spoke today with Dr. Dan Trajano, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota Senior Medication Director.  He reminds us that the current plan benefits will still cover you through the end of this year.

It is confusing even for Dr. Trajano.  Rice, Le Sueur, Goodhue are keeping Medicare Cost plans.  Steele, Waseca, Olmsted and virtually all of Southern and Southeastern Minnesota are losing their Medicare Cost plan.  Most of the metro area will no longer have these plans available to them.  Dr. Trajano emphasized if you live in a county where Cost plans are ending don't worry there are still plenty of plans available to you for 2019.

"You will have other options in terms of Medicare coverage." He says, adding, "The difference is under the Medicare Cost plans original Medicare takes on most of the financial responsibility in covering those and the health insurers administer the plan.  Under Medicate Advantage, the health insurers will be responsible for managing those members.  Which actually is not a bad thing."

Dr. Trajano says the Federal Government is still funding the program through Medicare but the insurers are now in charge of administering the funds.

The Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota Senior Medical Director added, "Medicare costs have been going up so fast over time and there were lots of delays in Congress in terms of impacting Medicare costs. (Under the new federal law) one of the things was to move away from Cost Plans to true Medicare Advantage plans." That's what's being implemented in 2019 from the 2015 legislation.

Those who live in a county where Cost plans are ending may have their insurer automatically enroll them in another Medicare plan that should have similar benefits.  However, they can also choose to enroll in a different plan, for 2019, during the Annual Election Period which runs from October 15th through December 7th.

Your insurer should let you know if you are automatically enrolled in a comparable Medicare plan, or if you need to choose a new one.  Those who are automatically enrolled in a similar plan don't need to take any action unless they want to choose a different plan.

Dr. Trajano advises everyone who may be affected to read all the information they receive and talk with your insurer.

More information is available at www.BlueCrossMN.com/MedicareChanges.

Medicare Card 2018. Sample Card from medicare.gov