TONI SAYS: Medicare Supplement premium is out-of-control!! When can I change?

By Toni King


We have received a 20% increase for our Plan F Medicare Supplement that is effective October 1. I am a 70-year-old female in good health, but my husband is undergoing cancer treatment. Also, his cardiologist has advised him that he may need a pacemaker.

My friends have advised me that we will have to wait until Medicare Annual Enrollment to change from our current Medicare Supplement plans.

I am concerned that with the Medicare Supplement increase we may not be able to afford the premiums. What should we do? Would a Medicare Advantage plan be a good option to change to with Fred’s cancer issues? Carol from Tampa, Florida


Carol, receiving your Medicare information from friends can lead you down the wrong path. You were given inaccurate information from a caring friend. I have good news for you because you do not have to wait until Medicare’s Annual Enrollment to change your Medicare Supplement insurance company. You can change your Medicare Supplement any time during the year. Medicare’s Annual Enrollment Period is a time to change your Medicare Advantage plan or Medicare Part D Prescription Drug plan.

The Medicare Supplement renewal increase is more than the public was expecting for Plans F and C. In 2015, Congress passed legislation called “Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015” (MACRA) to help the medical industry by correcting the “Doc Fix” proposal. MACRA also updated Medicare Supplement’s plans F and C which began January 1, 2020. At that time is when Medicare Supplement plan F and C increases began.

Anyone that wants to change their current Medicare Supplement plan and have been enrolled in their Medicare Part B longer than 6 months must now answer health underwriting questions regarding their current and past health issues. This is what you and your husband will have to do to change Medicare Supplement companies and plans.

Carol, you have an option to change from your current Medicare Supplement Plan F to a different Medicare Supplement company or a different type of Medicare Supplement plan such as plan G or N. Both you and your husband must qualify by answering medical underwriting questions to change Medicare Supplement plans.

If you cannot qualify because of a health issue, then another option may be to search for the right Medicare Advantage plan to fit your medical needs. The only catch to making a change to a Medicare Advantage plan is that you must wait until Medicare Annual Enrollment period which begins October 15th thru December 7th every year.

Below is what Medicare Supplement Plans G and N offers to change from a Medicare Supplement Plan F:

  • >> Medicare Supplement Plan G: offer lower rates and the same Medicare benefits as Plan F except the Medicare Part B deductible is not covered and will be paid for by the enrolled Medicare beneficiary. Part B deductible for 2022 is $233.
  • >> Medicare Supplement Plan N: generally, has lower premiums than Plan G with generally more out of pocket. There is a $20 co pay for a doctor visit with $50 co pay for emergency room. Part B deductible is not covered, and Part B excess charges are not paid for by the insurance company which Plan G includes.

Caution: Do not cancel your existing policy until you have been approved by your new Medicare Supplement insurance company.

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