Medicare Cost Plan contracts will not be renewed in areas that have at least two competing Medicare Advantage plans that meet certain enrollment requirements. These plans will be discontinued at the end of 2018. In Minnesota, there are nearly 400,000 Medicare Cost Plan enrollees, which is over 50 percent of all Cost Plan beneficiaries. Many of these Minnesota Medicare Cost Plan enrollees will need brokers’ help finding new plans.
In 2015, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) gave Cost Plans a two-year transition period to convert to Medicare Advantage (MA). These plans now need to switch by the end of this year. UnitedHealthcare and Aetna are considering selling MA plans in Minnesota in 2019 to serve the thousands of people who either want to change plans or are new to MA plans.The disruption doesn’t impact all Minnesota Cost Plan enrollees. Cost Plans will continue to be available to seniors in at least 21 Minnesota counties.
Many Cost Plans are sold in the group market through workplaces or unions, which have automatically switched their members to MA plans. These enrollees may be confused, unsatisfied, or just looking for a better fit for their healthcare needs. Seniors who purchased Cost Plans individually may also wonder what other options they have.
And that’s why now is an excellent time for brokers to step in and help Minnesota Medicare Cost Plan beneficiaries. It’s an opportunity to assist current customers and bring in new Medicare business when seniors may need guidance enrolling in a new plan.
Automatic changes are reversible anytime
If Cost Plan beneficiaries have been assigned automatically to a new Medicare Advantage plan, they have the option to switch to Original Medicare any time, even if it’s not during the annual Medicare open enrollment period. But enrollees may not be aware of their choices, and that’s where brokers come in.
What makes Cost Plans different?
What most distinguishes Cost Plans from other Medicare plans is that beneficiaries aren’t restricted to provider networks. Cost Plans have been a good choice for Minnesota retirees who like to travel to warmer climes in the winter because they have a portable plan that enables them to maintain their traditional Medicare Part A and Part B coverage when they travel.
For some enrollees, the Medicare Advantage plan they’ve been switched to might not fulfill the same needs.
How Excelsior can help
Minnesota Medicare Cost Plan beneficiaries can benefit from the Medicare expertise brokers can offer. Some of these seniors could be better served by a Medicare Supplement plan and Part D coverage instead of Medicare Advantage, especially if travel is a priority. Or it may be that a simple switch to a more robust MA plan could better fit their needs. Or perhaps a lower out-of-pocket limit could help the more cost-conscious seniors.
Excelsior can offer brokers the training they need to work smarter and grow their income by expanding into the Minnesota market. With Excelsior’s support, brokers can use their knowledge to get Minnesota Medicare Cost Plan enrollees into a new plan they may love. It’s good to let enrollees know you’re available and willing to listen to their concerns and simplify a process they don’t look forward to. This is just one key to building your business and creating new, loyal clients.
Preview the Free Cost Plan Playbook
Excelsior has created an exclusive Medicare Cost Plan Playbook that gives tips and tricks to make it easier to move your book of business. Click here to get a sneak peek of how to prepare for Medicare Cost Plan elimination.
Medicare has neither reviewed nor endorsed this information.