2019 Changes in Medicare

Medicare has under gone a number of changes since it originated in 1965.  With over 60 million participants Medicare continues to have the highest satisfaction rate of any form of health insurance available.  With every year that passes, Medicare and Medigap keeps getting better and 2019 is no different.  Some of the modification that Medicare is making only affect individuals enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans while other updates will affect all beneficiaries.

Donut Hole

One unappealing element of Medigap Plan D, prescription drug coverage is that once participants have reached a certain level of spending in a year they are required to pay more for the prescription medicine they need.  This creates what is known in Medicare lingo as a “donut hole”.  A second threshold is in place that once reached participants are then “rewarded” with lower cost prescription drugs.  This feature of Medigap Plan D was scheduled to be closed in 2020 however, Congress passed a bill that will close the donut hole for brand name prescriptions in 2019.  The gap for generics is still scheduled to close in 2020.

Therapy Cap

Congress has repealed the therapy cap limiting coverage to outpatient physical, speech, and occupational therapy services.  Original Medicare enrollees will not longer be required to pay the full cost of therapy services.

 Improved Information

The Medicare handbook is sent out to its enrollees every fall.  As if 2019 the handbook will be updated to include checklists and flowcharts to help participants make decisions on coverage decisions.  The Medicare Plan Finder will be included online and updated to make it simpler to use.  Enrollees will also have a chance to compare out-of-pocket costs and coverage options between Medicare and Medicare Advantage with updated online coverage tools.

Increased Telemedicine

All methods of technology are advancing, and Medicare is using this to their advantage with increased telehealth programs.  These programs allow patients to confer with doctors and nurses over the internet.  Telehealth services will be covered in 2019 for people with end-stage renal disease and stroke treatment.

Lifestyle Support

For enrollees in Medicare Advantage there will be the option to have meals delivered to their home, transportation to the and from the doctors, and the installation of safety devices like bathroom grabs bars and wheelchair ramps.  For home safety improvements and prepared meals to be covered a medical provider will need to recommend them.

In-Home Assistance

In 2019 Medicare Advantage plans will also have an option to pay for home health aides.  These aids assist in everyday activities such as dressing, eating, and personal hygiene.  This is part of a broader definition of traditional services required by Medicare.

Trial Period

Participants will now be able to try the Medicare Advantage plan for three months.  If they aren’t satisfied they can switch to Original Medicare Part A and Part B or another Medicare Advantage plan.

The experts at eMedicare Supplemental Insurance, powered by Omega, have all the answers you are looking for when it comes to your Medicare Supplemental Insurance needs.  More information can be found at http://emedicare-supplemental-insurance.com/.

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