Concerned that Medicare beneficiaries could reject proper consideration of Medigap supplement plans because of undefined and significantly high costs listed in an “Estimated Annual Cost” column for Medigaps in the Medicare.gov CMS Plan Finder tool, the Center for Medicare Advocacy (the Center) requested CMS define costs that are included in the “Estimated Annual Cost” column. The cost column is embedded in a chart that addresses only Medigap information as supplemental coverage for traditional Medicare, but the “Estimated Annual Cost” numbers provided by CMS substantially exceed the cost of Medigap plans.
CMS agreed with the Center that additional language clarifying total costs in the Medigap section of the Plan Finder tool would be useful. CMS further stated there will be new language explaining that these “Estimated Annual Costs” include total out-of-pocket costs, not just Medigap premiums. “Estimated Annual Costs” are derived from a CMS document titled CY 2019 Medicare Plan Finder Out-Of-Pocket Cost Estimates Methodology. The calculations for “Estimated Annual Costs” include all possible Medicare and non-Medicare related health costs such as non-Medicare covered long term care and all dental costs.
The Center will continue to work with CMS and other beneficiary advocates to ensure Medicare beneficiaries are fully informed as they make important decisions about their choices for receiving Medicare benefits in 2019.