Important Medicare reminders for 2020


By Vincent Plymell

Special to The PREVIEW

As the year is still young, there are a number of important reminders that the Colorado SHIP (State Health Insurance Assistance Program), a Medicare assistance program housed within the Division of Insurance, is sharing with Medicare enrollees. You may have already heard about these from your plan, your family and friends or even the Medicare program itself, but we wanted people to be aware of these critical dates and changes.

Medicare Advantage do-over period continues through March — People currently enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans have until March 31 to switch to another Medicare Advantage plan or to Original Medicare. This opportunity is only available to individuals who were enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan on Jan. 1 and only one change is allowed during this period. Changes take effect the month after they are made. So, if a change is made in February, it becomes effective in March. No one is required to make a change, but this period is for people who might be having second thoughts about the Medicare Advantage decision they made during open enrollment last fall. Anyone with questions about this should contact Colorado SHIP at (888) 696-7213.

Old Medicare numbers won’t work in 2020 — Remember back in 2018 when Medicare issued new numbers and cards to folks? Medicare allowed those numbers to keep working for claims throughout 2019, but now in 2020, your claims will be rejected if the old number is used. Medicare beneficiaries need to make sure they received their new Medicare cards in 2018 or 2019. If not, call 800-Medicare. Make sure to give your new Medicare number to your health care providers if you have Original Medicare (Parts A and B). Remember, always keep your Medicare card in a safe place and shred those old red, white and blue cards (the old Medicare number contained your Social Security number).

New 2020 Medicare Out-of-Pocket costs — For Original Medicare (Part A — hospital insurance, and Part B — medical insurance), Medicare Advantage plans (Part C, also called “MA plans”) and Medicare Part D (prescription drug plans).

Part A (hospital insurance) — $1,408 deductible per benefit period for inpatient hospital care.

Part B (medical insurance) — Standard premium amount is $144.60, but could be higher depending on your income. Social Security can tell you the exact amount you will pay in 2020.

Part B — Deductible is $198 per year.

Part D (Prescription Drug Plan) — Premiums, deductibles, and copays or coinsurance are based on the plan you chose for 2020. Talk to your plan to find out your specific costs.

Part C (Medicare Advantage) — Premiums, deductibles and co-pays or coinsurance are based on the plan you chose for 2020. Talk to your plan to find out your specific costs.

Colorado SHIP, housed in the Division of Insurance, part of the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies, helps Medicare enrollees navigate the Medicare system, including Medicare Advantage and Medigap plans. Medicare enrollees with questions about these items, or other concerns, can contact a Colorado SHIP counselor at (888) 696-7213.