One Family May Lose Their Medicare Plan Over An Address Mistake
Over a quarter of a million Minnesota seniors were told in October that their Medicare plan would no longer be offered and they would need to find a new plan for 2019. Many seniors were able to make the switch easily, but for some families the switch has been more complicated than they could ever imagine.
There are three major types of Medicare plans available in Minnesota. A Medigap Plan, a Cost Plan, and an Advantage Plan. In 2019 the Cost plan will only be available in 21 counties.
“So, the government said that when enough people enroll into the Advantage Plans, that triggers this event where the Cost Plans go away,” Dan Strong, Owner of RG Insurance, said.
The cost plan has been available since the early 2000’s and offers seniors a relatively inexpensive full coverage plan, which has been…
“Very beneficial because [my husband] has had a lot of major illnesses that have picked up the cost where we haven’t had to pay hardly anything,” Kathy Frank, an Aitkin County Resident, said.
Kathy and her husband, Gilbert Frank, have lived and paid taxes to Aitkin County ever since they moved here in 1980. The Cost Plan will be available in Aitkin County, but the Center for Medicare says the Franks live in Crow Wing County where the Cost Plan will no longer be available.
“We’ve never lived in Crow Wing County,” Kathy Frank said. “Right now, we are hitting dead ends, all you can do is stay at the lower level you can’t reach anyone at a higher level at this point.”
The Franks have gone to the social security office and the post office to get their address straightened out, but the Center for Medicare still does not recognize the Franks as living in Aitkin county. So, they have turned to their senator.
“We’re hoping that Senator Klobuchar will come through and tell us that the Center for Medicare has straightened their database out, and that we live in Aitkin County,” Frank said. “[Hopefully my husband] will get a letter stating that the Cost Plan is still available to him.”
If the issue can’t get resolved, the Franks would have to enroll in either an Advantage Plan or a Medigap Plan. The Advantage Plan typically comes with high copays, and the Franks are not eligible for the Medigap Plan because they live in Aitkin County which is keeping the Cost Plan.
“If he were to change on his own, he would have pre-existing conditions, and [the Medigap Plan] would not cover that,” Frank said. “So, we need to stay on the Cost Plan until they drop the Cost Plan in Aitkin. So, then we could get into the Medigap Plan without pre-existing conditions being considered.”
Medicare plans are already confusing enough, and the Franks address issue has only made the process more stressful.
For anyone living in a county that is extinguishing the Cost Plan, you have until the new year to enroll into a new Medicare plan.