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Tom Schrette and Alan Cash

Tom Schrette and Alan Cash

Dear Tom and Alan:I recently signed up for Anthem Blue Cross’s Innovative F Medicare Supplement plan (quite a mouthful!).

Being the curious sort, I went to a HICAP meeting to hear about all the options available.

The speaker talked about how all Plan F supplements will be no longer available to new people as of 2020.

I knew that already so there’s no problem there. But when I told him I just enrolled in Innovative Plan F, he said there was a big drawback to my plan because transferring out was not guaranteed.

Nobody told me that!


Tom: OK, a few details. According to their website:

“HICAP (the Health Insurance Counseling & Advocacy Program) provides free and objective information and counseling about Medicare.”

“Volunteer counselors can help you understand your specific rights and health care options. HICAP also offers free educational presentations to groups of Medicare beneficiaries…on a variety of Medicare and other health insurance related topics.”

So, the speaker was correct when he said that Plan F is going away for new applicants (also Plan C).

Your current Medicare Part A and B covers 80 percent of medical expenses.

Plan F picks up the other 20 percent. The real benefit of Plan F is that you don’t have to pay either deductible through A or B.

Al: I followed up with both our area rep from Anthem Blue Cross and also with our national agent support representative.

When Medicare Supplement Plans F and C close in 2020, any change of plans will require an application that will have to go through underwriting (translation: they can say “no”).

This requirement applies to all companies: Blue Shield, AARP-United Health, Health Net, Mutual of Omaha, et al.

However, there is a loophole often called the “California Rule.”

Every year during your birth month, you can move laterally or down for your supplement.

I’m assuming that after 2020, they would not accept a transfer to a closed plan, only to one that is still open (my head hurts).

Tom: According to, the current $183 deductible for Medicare Part B will paid by everyone on all supplement plans so they all have “…a little more ‘skin in the game.’”

The Medicare Part A (hospital) deductible of $1,340 will continue to be paid by most supplements.

As an example of all the choices out there, the AARP Medicare Supplements include A, B, C, D, F, F (high deductible), G, K, L, M, and N.

All companies are mandated to include Plan A, but it doesn’t cover much.

Al: Finally, we may not have to worry too much about 2020 changes. The report from the Medicare Trustees says that Medicare will become insolvent in 2026. There goes that 80 percent coverage we like so much!

Social Security is projected to run out of money in 2034.

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