The Indiana Department of Insurance officials remind Hoosiers who qualify for Medicare that open enrollment for 2020 Medicare Advantage and Part D drug plans has begun. Open enrollment runs through Dec. 7 for coverage beginning Jan. 1, 2020. Medicare supplement insurance policies or Medigap can be purchased at any time, but your health status may be considered if you aren’t in a guarantee issue period. Officials urge Indiana consumers to review any new changes to Medicare coverage for the coming year.

Changes for 2020

2020 Medicare beneficiaries will have added benefits if they join a Medicare Advantage plan. These plans can now offer limited personal supports and services such as home care, nonmedical transportation, nutrition programs and home modifications.

Medigap plans that cover the Part B deductible will no longer be available for purchase by newly-eligible Medicare beneficiaries. People who already have Medigap Plans C and F will be able to keep them and people who are already eligible for Medicare prior to 2020 will still be able to buy those plans. However for newly-eligible enrollees, Plan C and Plan F will be discontinued after the end of 2019.

For the newly eligible, Plans D, G and G High Deductible replace Plans C, F and F High deductible. All other Medigap plans remain unchanged.

If you are 65 or will be before Jan. 1, 2020, these changes do not affect you. You can still buy Plans C, F and F High deductible, even after the changes go into effect for the newly eligible.

If you first become eligible for Medicare due to age, disability or end-stage renal disease before Jan. 1, 2020, these changes also do not affect you.

Plans C, F and F High deductible will not be discontinued for those eligible for Medicare before Jan. 1, 2020. They will still be able to keep their policies and can purchase Plans C or F and F High deductible on or after the first of the year.

The donut hole is being eliminated in 2020 for generic drugs. The gap in prescription drug coverage, also called the donut hole, starts when someone reaches the initial coverage limit, and ends when they have spent $5,100. Prior to 2011, Medicare Part D enrollees paid the full cost of their medications while in the donut hole. However, the donut hole has been steadily closing, and it will be fully closed by 2020 when enrollees in standard Part D plans will pay just 25% of the cost of their drugs all the way up to the catastrophic coverage threshold.

Tammy’s Law (SEA 392) will go into effect in July 2020 and will require insurance companies in Indiana that sell Medigap insurance to offer at least a Plan A to people with Medicare who are under age 65 and disabled.

“The department urges consumers to review their coverage or select new coverage,” said Indiana Department of Insurance commissioner Stephen Robertson. “If you are over 65 or otherwise eligible for Medicare, now is the time to review your coverage and benefits and plan for the coming year. If you need assistance, there are State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) counselors across the state who can assist you.”

In Indiana, SHIP is provided by the Indiana Department of Insurance. It provides free, impartial health insurance information for people with Medicare and is not affiliated with any insurance company or agency and does not sell insurance.

SHIP is staffed by a crew of volunteer counselors who are certified by the Indiana Department of Insurance. They are committed volunteers who offer free and objective assistance in complete confidence. You can search for a SHIP counselor in your area by visiting in.gov/idoi/2507.htm or calling 800-452-4800.

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