Mary Jo Heins, a licensed independent Medicare Insurance agent shares her knowledge about changing Medicare plans for 2021.

Mary Jo Heins

The State of Colorado has implemented a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) for residents who are enrolled in Medicare Supplement Plans C, F or High-Deductible F.  The SEP allows people in these plans to move to other specified plans with no medical underwriting.

For years, the Medicare supplement plan of choice was Plan F.  This plan features no out of pocket payments for the insured.

In April 2015, Congress passed The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA).  This legislation included a clause focusing on insurance plans with no out of pocket payments, such as Medicare supplement Plan F.  As of January 1, 2020, these plans are closed to applicants who are new to Medicare.

We have historical data on what happens with plans that are closed to new enrollees.  In 2010, Plans E and J closed to new enrollees, who are generally 65 and healthy.  People who were enrolled in Plans E and J prior to 2010 could stay on those plans.

Why Consider Changing Medicare Plans?

Fast forward to 2020.  Now all the people on Plans E and J are 75+ and in many cases, have extensive medical issues.  Claims escalate and premiums follow that same path.

To put it into more concrete terms, a 75 year old non-tobacco using man on a Plan G could expect his monthly premium to be in the range of $175-$200.  If that same man were on Plan J (closed to new enrollees for 10 years), the premium could be $600 per month.

Normally if someone wants to change Medicare supplement plans, they must pass medical underwriting.  To move from Plans E or J or F (“closed” plans) to go to Plan G would entail answering a couple pages of questions and listing your medications. The insurance company then can approve or deny your application.  People with medical conditions inevitably cannot pass medical underwriting and are stuck on their old Medicare supplement plan.

These two factors:

  • historical precedence of Plan E and J premium escalation following 10 years of being closed to new enrollees
  • medical underwriting requirement to move from one supplement plan to another

make this Special Enrollment Period to move from Plan F to Plan G a critical opportunity to seize.

Most Medicare supplement insurers are accepting plan change applications now, for an effective date of January 1, 2021.  The last day to utilize this SEP is June 30, 2021. Take advantage of Mary Jo Heins’ online class “My Medicare Match: Drilling Down to Evaluate Your Options to find out about changing Medicare Plans to pick what fits your situation the best.