Throughout the life of the Medicare program, there have been a few changes. Some Medigap plans have been discontinued, while others have been added. Medigap plans are designated by letters of the alphabet and have included letters A-N. Some of these plans are no longer available, including Medigap Plan J.
What was covered by Medigap Plan J, and why was it discontinued? Let’s find out!
What Were the Benefits of Medigap Plan J?
Medigap Plan J offered beneficiaries comprehensive coverage. The benefits included:
- Part B excess charges
- Part A deductible
- Part A coinsurance costs
- Part B deductible
- Part B copayments and coinsurance costs
- 365 lifetime reserve days after Original Medicare coverage
- Blood (up to 3 pints)
- Hospice and skilled nursing care coinsurance
- Prescription drug coverage
- Foreign travel emergency benefits
- Preventive care benefits
- Prescription drug coverage
Why Was Medigap Plan J Discontinued?
Two major changes have caused the discontinuation of some Medigap plans. These changes were brought about by The Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act (MIPPA) of 2008 and the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) of 2015.
The Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008
MIPPA is responsible for the elimination of Medicare supplements E, H, I, and J. The effective date for the discontinuation of these plans was January 1, 2010. MIPPA called for the reduction in the number of Medicare supplements because some of the plans became redundant with the introduction of Medicare Part D.
Prescription drug plans (Part D of Medicare) were added to the Medicare program in 2003. Medicare supplements H, I, and J all included prescription drug coverage and had the same benefits as some of the other Medigap plans. Therefore, these were deemed no longer necessary.
Plan E was also eliminated by MIPPA because, in addition to having prescription drug coverage, it also had benefits for preventive care. MIPPA prohibited Medigap plans from offering preventive care as part of their coverage.
On a more positive note, MIPPA did add two plans to the market in 2010. Plans M and N became available to Medicare beneficiaries, and Plan N remains one of the more popular Medigap plans today.
Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015
Other Medigap plans have been eliminated in the recent past. MACRA prohibited any Medicare supplement from offering first-dollar coverage, meaning that the plans could not cover the Medicare Part B deductible. Plans C, E, and F all had this benefit, so they were eliminated effective January 1, 2020.
What To Do If You’re Enrolled in Medigap Plan J
If you were already enrolled in Medigap Plan J when it was discontinued, you are grandfathered into the coverage and can continue to stay in that plan. That being said, it may be wise to change to a different plan if you are eligible to do so. When a Medigap plan gets discontinued, the pool of beneficiaries enrolled in the plan begins to decrease. That means that there are fewer individuals to carry the costs of the plan, so the monthly premiums quickly increase. If you are currently enrolled in Plan J, you should talk with an independent agent to find out if you could receive healthcare coverage from a similar plan for a lower cost.
Once you enroll in a Medigap plan, your coverage will never change. However, you should still talk with your agent periodically to make sure you’re receiving the best rate. We often find that our clients can save money by switching to other carriers, especially if your premium has recently increased. If you’re curious about your current plan, give our office a call today and we can review your coverage.