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Minnesota Medicare Update: New year, Increased Medicare Costs

Tuesday, January 12, 2021 @ 01:01 PM  posted by jbuytaert

Courtesy of Minnesota Senior Linkage Line

With the new year comes increased costs for people with Medicare. A summary of some of the costs for 2021 follows:

Reminder: Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period

Don’t forget, if you are a Medicare beneficiary who began the new year enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan, you have another open enrollment period available to you from January 1, 2021 to March 31, 2021. Those currently enrolled in Medicare Advantage Plans can change plans or return to Original Medicare and purchase a separate Medicare Part D plan.

If you make a plan change, it will take effect the following month. So, if you make changes in February, they will take effect on March 1, etc. There is no health screening required if you enroll in a different Medicare Advantage Plan or return to Original Medicare. If you have questions or need enrollment help, call the Senior LinkAge Line at 800-333-2433.

Be Aware of COVID-19 Vaccine Scams

News of the COVID vaccines brings hope to so many, but unfortunately, we need to be cautious also. Scammers have been contacting people on Medicare about vaccines. Their strategy is to tell people on Medicare that they can get their vaccines sooner – if they pay money for it now or share personal data (Medicare, Social Security and credit card numbers). This is of course not true. In Minnesota, the vaccine is not yet available to the general public.

To stay up-to-date on vaccine information, go to: Minnesota COVID-19 Response (Coronavirus) / COVID-19 Updates and Information – State of Minnesota (

New Medicare Law Brings More Medicare Changes

In late December 2020, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 was enacted, which made a number of important Medicare changes, including:

  • Lowered colorectal screening cost sharing for some tests by phasing in a waiver of coinsurance
  • Creation of an educational campaign for physicians, so they screen people with Medicare for Alzheimer’s
  • Permanently expanded coverage for Medicare mental health telehealth services
  • Eligibility for immunosuppressive drug coverage through Medicare to people post-kidney transplant who do not have other coverage
  • Elimination of the up to seven-month-long wait for coverage for those who sign up for Medicare during the General Enrollment Period (GEP) or in the later months of their Initial Enrollment Period (IEP). Beginning in 2023, Medicare coverage will begin the month after enrollment.
  • Expansion of Medicare’s authority to grant a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) for “exceptional circumstances.”
  • To maximize coverage continuity and ease transitions to Medicare, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services must identify ways to align Medicare’s annual enrollment periods and report it to Congress by January 1, 2023.
Help with Your Medicare Plan for 2021

Are you having problems with your Medicare Advantage or Medicare Part D plan in 2021? Maybe your drugs aren’t being covered or your enrollment did not go through, or you discovered that the information you based your enrollment decision on in the Medicare Plan Finder was wrong? Call the Senior LinkAge Line at 800-333-2433 between 8:00 am – 4:30 Monday through Friday. We can help.

The Senior LinkAge Line® is the federally designated

State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) for Minnesota. If you have Questions about Medicare, call the Senior LinkAge Line at 800-333-2433

from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday – Friday.

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