Cost Plans no longer offered in 2019

What you need to know about the Advantage plans


Cost Plans no longer offered in Minnesota? The fact is that over 360,000 Medicare policies in counties within the metro area will be going away.  All current Cost health plans will be replaced with Advantage Plans.

This is what your Insurance Company will be doing

Blue Cross, Medica and Health Partners will be sending out several letters informing you that the Cost plan will no longer offered. 

They will also be calling you to explain the plans and enrolling you by phone. Additional letters will be sent out informing you of the plans you can enroll in and inviting you to call them or attend a (company sponsored) marketing meeting. The only way I can remain your agent is if you enroll directly with the company. 

If you attend an Agent sponsored workshop and enroll, I will no longer be you agent, and will no longer be able to work on your behalf.

This is what CMS (Medicare) will be doing

CMS will be sending out a letter starting September 1st. This letter is the official notification that your plan is going away. Save this letter! The letter must be provided if you are enrolling into a Supplemental plan with a Guaranteed Issue.

A guaranteed issue means no medical underwriting. Without the letter you cannot enroll in a Supplemental plan during this special enrollment period.  The enrollment period starts as of the date of the letter and ends 63 days later. This is a limited, one-time only opportunity to enroll in a Supplemental plan with Guaranteed Issue.

This what you need to know during 2018 Annual Open Enrollment that starts October 15 and ends on December 7th


  •  If you have two cards, one for a Cost health plan and one for a Part D plan, with two different insurance companies, then you will have to select a new Advantage plan. It is very IMPORTANT that you contact me by email as soon as possible so we can set an appointment. If you do nothing and do not select an Advantage plan, starting January 1st you will only have Original Medicare as a health plan and a stand-alone Part D plan if you have one.

  • If you have one card, for a Cost health plan and a Part D plan with one company, then you have three options. First, you can convert your plan to an Advantage plan by contact your insurance provider or me. Second, if you want to shop for better benefits and rates then contact me. Third, you will have a special enrollment period to convert to a Supplemental policy with zero-co-pays and no medical underwriting. The CMS letter is required to switch to a Supplemental plan.

  • If you now have a Supplemental plan such as Blue Cross Senior Gold, then no change will occur, and you will have to do nothing.  Supplemental plans will remain the same. However, you might consider changing your stand-alone Part D plan to lower the deductible and premium.

  •  New enrollment period for 2019, has removed the Medicare Advantage Dis-enrollment Period and replaced it with the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (MA OEP). Starting January 1st and ending March 31st you can change your existing Advantage plan to a different Advantage plan or your existing Advantage plan with Part D to a different Advantage plan with Part D or return to Original Medicare without a Part D plan.


What is the difference between a Cost and Advantage plan?


Depending on the Advantage policy you select, you will see a reduction in the monthly premium which is good. You will also see increases in out-of-pocket costs for most services, which compared to Cost Plans is a big change. There will no longer be any zero co-pay Cost plans unless you have a Supplemental policy.


Cost plans traditionally had higher premiums and lower co-pays. With Advantage plans that is reversed, you may pay more out of pocket, but you will have lower premiums.


What to expect from out-of-state telemarketers and Agents


By now you have already been bombarded with letters and mailings asking you to contact agents about Medicare or have received text messages asking you to click onto an unknown website or calls from unknown persons about Medicare. Don’t be surprised to get a call from an agent or financial planner asking you to meet and discuss Medicare. Be very careful!  


Many of these agents were recently certified to sell Medicare and have LITTLE or NO experience dealing with Seniors, Medicare, or Social Security. Medicare has very strict rules that have been put in place to protect you, your identity and misleading marketing activities.


What to expect from the Internet

Many web sites on the internet appear to be official Medicare sites when your searching for plans and pricing.  The truth is that they are sales sites and not Medicare. They are just gathering your information and selling it to other agents. These agents will be calling to sell you a policy over the phone. So, do you really want to give your personal and health information to a stranger?

It is illegal for anyone to contact you about Medicare without your written and express permission. Before any agent can discuss rates or plans, you must also sign a Scope of Appointment form. 

I am your local trusted agent that only handles Medicare polices.

Medicare is all I do, and I do it very well. I service several thousand satisfied clients in the Metro area. Because all policies are different, it is vital that you send me an email and schedule an appointment. I represent all the major Medicare insurance companies in Minnesota.


IMPORTANT REMINDER, agents cannot discuss rates or plan details until after October 1st or take an application before October 15th. However, we can meet and get ready for Open Enrollment.