Medicare Cost Plan changes for 2019

Due to a change in federal law, many Minnesotans with a specific type of Medicare plan, known as a “Cost Plan,” may need to enroll in new Medicare coverage for 2019. While coverage will continue as usual through the end of this year, these Cost Plans will no longer be available after December 31, 2018. This means that North Memorial Health customers with affected Medicare Cost Plans will need to enroll in a new plan during the open enrollment period this fall in order to have coverage for 2019.

Background image is
lady helping her friend on computer

Competitive Options Are Available

While this might seem a little confusing, the good news is that there are competitive options for ALL affected customers. And rest assured that North Memorial Health providers participate in these major insurance companies’ Medicare plans:

  • UCare
  • UnitedHealthcare
  • HealthPartners
  • Medica
  • Allina Health | Aetna
  • Humana

 

What Should I Do

No matter what, your current plan coverage will continue through December 31, 2018. But, you will need to take a few steps in the meantime to find out what (if anything) you must do to prepare for the upcoming changes to Medicare Cost Plans.

STEP 1: Determine if your county is affected

medicare map 201There are 21 counties where Medicare Cost Plans will NOT be closing:

  • Aitkin
  • Carlton
  • Cook
  • Goodhue
  • Itasca
  • Kanabec
  • Koochiching
  • Lake
  • Le Sueur
  • McLeod
  • Meeker
  • Mille Lacs
  • Pine
  • Pipestone
  • Rice
  • Rock
  • Sibley
  • St. Louis
  • Stevens
  • Traverse
  • Yellow Medicine

If you live in one of the counties listed above, there are no changes required and you can keep (or purchase) a Medicare Cost Plan in 2019!

If you live in any other Minnesota county, proceed to STEP 2.

STEP 2: Find out if your plan is affected

In Minnesota, there are three insurers who offer Cost Plans that will be closing. Check your insurance card for your plan name and look to see if it is listed below.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota +
  • Platinum Blue Choice Plan
  • Platinum Blue Choice Plan with Rx
  • Platinum Blue Complete Plan
  • Platinum Blue Complete Plan with Rx
  • Platinum Blue Core Plan
  • Platinum Blue Core Plan with Rx

 

HealthPartners +
  • Freedom Active
  • Freedom Active with Rx
  • Freedom Balance
  • Freedom Balance with Rx
  • Freedom Basic
  • Freedom Ultimate
  • Freedom Ultimate with Enhanced Rx
  • Freedom Ultimate with Rx
  • Freedom Vital
  • Freedom Vital with Rx

 

Medica +
  • Prime Solution Basic
  • Prime Solution Basic with Rx
  • Prime Solution Basic with Rx2
  • Prime Solution Enhanced
  • Prime Solution Enhanced with Rx
  • Prime Solution Enhanced with Rx2
  • Prime Solution Thrift
  • Prime Solution Thrift with Rx
  • Prime Solution Thrive with Rx
  • Prime Solution Value
  • Prime Solution Value with Rx
  • Prime Solution Value with Rx2


If your plan name is NOT listed above, then you are NOT enrolled in a Cost Plan and no further action is required.

If your plan name IS listed above, then you ARE currently enrolled in a Cost Plan that will be closed at the end of the year. Proceed to STEP 3.

STEP 3: Research options to find a new plan that's right for you

Since your Cost Plan is being closed, you may be automatically transitioned into a Medicare Advantage plan for 2019. (If this is the case, you should have received notification from your insurance provider.) However, you can opt out and select a different plan during your open enrollment period. Keep in mind, if you do nothing, you’ll be automatically enrolled in Original Medicare.

The best way to find a new plan is to assess your own personal needs. Start by comparing a few plans, networks, prescription coverage and features, as well as reviewing your budget. Once you find the right option, you’ll need to call that particular plan provider or go online to complete your enrollment. Cost plan availability is county-based.

Resources

There are numerous options to consider for Medicare coverage. Plan providers for North Memorial Health customers:

  • Medicare 
    • Call 1-800-633-4227
    • Official U.S. government site where you can review plan options, including Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage. Health plan sales representatives and insurance agents and brokers can help you learn about the different types of Medicare plans to meet your needs. They can talk about 2019 Medicare plan options starting Oct. 1st.
  • UCare plan options: 
    • UCare Medicare with Fairview & North Memorial Health plans
    • UCare Medicare plans
    • Sales Phone: 1-888-285-2323
      Medicare Meetup RSVP phone: 888-236-1107
  • United Healthcare plan options
  • HealthPartners
  • Medica plan options
  • Allina Health | Aetna
    • Call 1-833-786-4672
  • Humana
    • Call 1-866-896-9054

In-person Educational Meetings

Still have questions? Attend a free in-person educational meeting to hear more information. You can also have your questions about Medicare Plans offered by North Memorial Health and UCare answered by a UCare Medicare specialist who listens and cares. UCare will review the benefits for its plans that North Memorial participates in, so you can choose the one that provides exactly what you need.

Monday, Oct. 8 from 5:30-7 p.m.
Monday, Oct. 15 from 9:30-11 a.m.
Monday, Oct. 29 from 2-3:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Nov. 6 from 5:30-7 p.m.
Tuesday, Nov. 13 from 2-3:30 p.m.
Thursday, Nov. 29 from 9:30-11 a.m.
Thursday, Dec. 13 from 9:30-11 a.m.
Friday, Dec. 14 from 2-3:30 p.m.
Monday, Dec. 17 from 5:30-7 p.m.

Event Sign up Details

If you’re unable to attend one of these meetings, please call UCare at 1-888-285-2323, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week for a free information kit.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is this happening?

Due to a change in federal law, Cost Plans will not be renewed in areas that have at least two competing Medicare Advantage plans in their service areas, and a minimum specified number of members. This includes any type of Cost Plan offered by all health insurance companies.

How do I know if I have a Cost Plan?

Follow the steps above, or simply call the phone number on the back of your health plan member card to find out if you have a Cost Plan.

What counties are affected?

There are 21 counties where Medicare Cost Plans will NOT be affected. Those include: Aitkin, Carlton, Cook, Goodhue, Itasca, Kanabec, Koochiching, Lake, Le Sueur, McLeod, Meeker, Mille Lacs, Pine, Pipestone, Rice, Rock, Sibley, St. Louis, Stevens, Traverse and Yellow Medicine.
If you live in any other Minnesota county and currently are enrolled in a Cost Plan, you will need to enroll in new Medicare coverage for 2019. See the map.

What are the brand names of the Cost Plans that are closing?

In Minnesota, there are only three insurers who offer Cost Plans – Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, HealthPartners and Medica. The specific Cost Plan names are as follows:

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota

  • Platinum Blue Choice Plan
  • Platinum Blue Choice Plan with Rx
  • Platinum Blue Complete Plan
  • Platinum Blue Complete Plan with Rx
  • Platinum Blue Core Plan
  • Platinum Blue Core Plan with Rx

HealthPartners

  • Freedom Active
  • Freedom Active with Rx
  • Freedom Balance
  • Freedom Balance with Rx
  • Freedom Basic
  • Freedom Ultimate
  • Freedom Ultimate with Enhanced Rx
  • Freedom Ultimate with Rx
  • Freedom Vital
  • Freedom Vital with Rx

Medica

  • Prime Solution Basic
  • Prime Solution Basic with Rx
  • Prime Solution Basic with Rx2
  • Prime Solution Enhanced
  • Prime Solution Enhanced with Rx
  • Prime Solution Enhanced with Rx2
  • Prime Solution Thrift
  • Prime Solution Thrift with Rx
  • Prime Solution Value
  • Prime Solution Value with Rx
  • Prime Solution Value with Rx2

What do I need to do if I don’t have a Medicare Cost Plan?

You don’t need to do anything. This Medicare change does not affect you.

What do I need to do if I have a Cost Plan but live in one of the counties where Cost Plans are continuing?

You don’t need to do anything to keep your Cost Plan.

What do I need to do if I have a Cost Plan and my insurer tells me that I am being automatically transitioned into a Medicare Advantage plan?

You can either stay enrolled in this new plan, or choose to enroll in a different plan.

What do I need to do if I have a Cost Plan and I am not being automatically transitioned into a Medicare Advantage plan?

You will need to enroll in a new plan by Dec. 31, 2018.

If I have a Cost Plan that is closing and I do nothing, what will happen?

You will be automatically return to Medicare Original (Parts A and B only) on Jan. 1, 2019.

What are the key dates to remember?

  • Aug. 15-Sept. 1, 2018 – Minnesota seniors whose Cost Plans are ending and who will not be automatically transitioned into a Medicare Advantage plan will receive letters from Medicare informing them of the change and their options.
  • Aug. 15-Sept. 15, 2018 – Minnesota seniors who will be automatically transitioned from their Cost Plan to a Medicare Advantage plan will be notified by their current insurer.
  • Oct. 1, 2018 – Information on new plan options will be available for you to view and compare. Also, the Minnesota Board on Aging’s 2019 edition of Health Care Choices for Minnesotans on Medicare is available.
  • Oct. 8, 15 and 29, 2018Informational meetings for North Memorial Health customers
  • Oct. 15- Dec. 7, 2018 – Annual enrollment period for all seniors
  • Nov. 2, 2018-Mar. 5, 2019 – Seniors who lost their Cost Plans and switched to Original Medicare can buy Medicare Supplement coverage.
  • Nov. 6, 13 and 29, 2018Informational meetings for NMH customers
  • Dec. 8, 2018-Feb. 28, 2019 – Special enrollment period for seniors who lost their Cost Plan
  • Dec. 13, 14 and 17, 2018Informational meetings for NMH customers
  • Jan. 1, 2019 – New Medicare plan coverage starts
  • Jan. 1-Mar. 31, 2019 – New Medicare Advantage enrollment period for all seniors enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan. They can switch to a different Medicare Advantage plan or return to Original Medicare Part A and B.
  • Feb. 1, 2019 – New Medicare plan coverage starts (if you enroll in January)
  • Mar. 1, 2019 – New Medicare plan coverage starts (if you enroll in February)