Medicare checkup: What Minnesotans need to know for open enrollment

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Minnesotans on Medicare Cost plans will face some changes in 2019.

Due to a change in federal law, these plans will no longer be sold in most parts of the state. People on those plans will have to find new coverage during open enrollment, which runs from Oct. 15 through Dec. 7.

To be eligible for Medicare you are either age 65 or older, receiving disability benefits, or have certain conditions like Lou Gehrig's disease.

Here's everything you need to know during the open enrollment period for insurance that will become effective Jan. 1, 2019:

What's Medicare Cost?

It's a plan that's popular in Minnesota. Of the 1 million Minnesotans on the plan, about 370,000 Minnesotans 65 and older have it. In other states, another type of Medicare plan called Medicare Advantage is more popular, and the federal government has been working to phase out all the Medicare Costs plans for a few years.

The difference between the two is how the federal government reimburses for them.

Do I have a Medicare Cost plan?

Minnesotans on Medicare Cost plans should have gotten a letter earlier this year alerting them to the change.

Do I have to shop for a new plan?

Not necessarily. Many people on Medicare Cost will automatically be transitioned to Medicare Advantage plans offered by the same carrier for 2019. That's assuming the Advantage plan contains similar benefits to the old Cost plan.

And even then, seniors can shop around during open enrollment.

Do I have to give up my Cost plan?

Seniors in 21 Minnesota counties will be able to keep their Cost plans due to a limited availability of other Medicare options. Here's a map showing where the plans will still be available.

To learn more

For more information, visit the Minnesota Commerce Department's website.

The Minnesota Board of Aging offers a breakdown of the various plans and other information.

Before you go...

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