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Medicare Advantage Plan Changes in 2020

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Summary:  Medicare Advantage plans 2020 may offer extra benefits for beneficiaries. Medicare Advantage plans are also making strides against the opioid crisis. Lastly, Medicare Advantage plan costs may decrease in 2020.

Now is a good time to assess your Medicare needs. Whether you have a Medicare Advantage plan now or are thinking about enrolling one during the Fall Open Enrollment Period, you need to know about Medicare Advantage changes in 2020. This information will help you make the right decisions about your future healthcare coverage.

Medicare Advantage Plans 2020: The Basics

A Medicare Advantage plan is an alternative way to get your Original Medicare benefits. Original Medicare includes two parts, Part A and Part B. Part A offers coverage for your inpatient hospitalizations. Part B covers other medical care like visits to your doctor and some durable medical equipment. Medicare Advantage plans must offer at least the same coverage as Part A and Part B. The plans can also provide coverage for extra services like vision and dental care. Many Medicare Advantage plans also cover prescription medications.

Private insurance companies offer Medicare Advantage plans. Costs and coverage, beyond what is covered by Original Medicare, can vary. Medicare beneficiaries should compare plans to find the one that is best for them.

New Benefits with Medicare Advantage Plans 2020

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) estimate that more than 24 million beneficiaries will enroll in Medicare Advantage plans in 2020. To meet the needs of enrollees, Medicare is maximizing competition by increasing the benefits these plans can offer. More plans will also be available. CMS estimates that plan choices by county could increase from 33 Medicare Advantage plans per county in 2019 to 39 Medicare Advantage plans per county in 2020.

Some of the 2020 Medicare Advantage changes could include supplemental benefits for chronically ill beneficiaries. Plans will be able to offer coverage for non-medical services like transportation, nutrition counseling or home-delivered meals. Extra benefits from plans may also help cover the expense of some home improvements, such as adding wheelchair access or safety grips in showers. Many Medicare Advantage plans could also include telehealth benefits that allow beneficiaries to see a doctor without leaving home.

Medicare Advantage Plans 2020 and the Opioid Crisis

Other 2020 Medicare Advantage changes are designed to help combat the opioid crisis. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, more than 130 people die from an opioid overdose in the U.S. every day. As many as 80% of people who use heroin used prescription opioids first.

To address this crisis, CMS is encouraging companies that offer Medicare Advantage plans to support patients that are struggling with chronic pain. Benefits might also include pain management as well as integrative and complementary therapies rather than prescription drugs.

Medicare Advantage Plans 2020: Plan Costs

More benefits will not necessarily mean higher costs for beneficiaries. CMS estimates that monthly premiums for Medicare Advantage plans will go down in 2020. In 2019, the average monthly premium was $26.87. CMS predicts that the average Medicare Advantage premium could go down to about $23.00 in 2020. Keep in mind monthly premiums for Medicare Advantage plans can vary. These numbers reflect an average across different plans, to give beneficiaries an estimate of what they might expect to pay.

Some Medicare Advantage plans might also include a yearly deductible, with is an amount you pay before your Medicare coverage begins. According to a recent eHealth study, deductibles for Medicare Advantage plans went down from $151 in 2018 to $132 in 2019. It is unknown whether that decline will continue in 2020.

Average Deductible by Medicare Product

You might also pay coinsurance or copayments with your Medicare Advantage plan. Coinsurance is a percentage of the total cost of your medical bill. Copayments are a set amount you pay any time you visit your doctor or receive other types of medical care. These amounts may also change for some plans in 2020.

Is it Time to Look at a Medicare Advantage Plan?

Medicare’s Fall Open Enrollment Period happens every year from October 15 to December 7. During this period, you can change from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan or switch your Medicare Advantage plan to another Medicare Advantage plan. To compare Medicare Advantage plans in your area and shop, enter your zip code below.

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