Vital Aging Network

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Promoting self-determination, civic engagement and personal growth for people as they age through education, leadership development and opportunities to connect.


What's New

Aging with Gusto

Join us for an upcoming Aging with Gusto session:

Three Thursdays, September 13, 20, 27 - 6:00 to 8:00 PM - Fairview Community Center, Roseville - In partnership with Do Good Roseville and Roseville Area Senior Programs with funding from B-Dale Club. Learn more. Download flyerRegister

Wellness 50+ Teams Build Connection and Well-being

Wellness 50+ is a grassroots movement by people 50+ to improve wellness in our communities. Now, Wellness 50+ is expanding in four new communities in Washington County. Read more.

Join the Washington County
Wellness 50+ Mailing List

Medicare Cost plans are going away for some after 2018

Changes in federal law related to a type of Medicare health plan, known as a Medicare Cost plan, will affect some people currently enrolled in the plans, depending on which Minnesota county they live in. In Minnesota three health insurers currently offer Medicare Cost plans: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota, HealthPartners and Medica

Since some Vital Aging Network members may be enrolled in Cost plans that will not be available for 2019, VAN wants to alert members about the coming changes. The MN Board on Aging and the Minnesota Department of Commerce also have information. 

Though health insurers are required to wait until October 1, 2018, to release specific information about their health plans that will replace current Cost plans for those affected, there is some general information available now. Sara Wagner of HealthPartners has shared that information so people can start planning ahead for 2019.

From Sara:

What is a Medicare Cost plan?

A Medicare Cost plan is a type of Medicare health plan that's available in certain areas of the country. It offers coverage to fill in the gaps Original Medicare doesn't cover, like deductibles and copays. And it has a maximum amount you pay each year for covered medical services. 

Will your Medicare Cost plan go away next year?

Based on a federal law starting Jan. 1, 2019, some Medicare Cost plans will not continue. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) set these new rules:


  • CMS will not renew Medicare Cost plans in counties where there are two or more Medicare Advantage plans with a certain number of members.
  • This change happens in 66 Minnesota counties.
  • Cost plans will stay in 21 Minnesota counties if Medicare renews the plan contract.
  • Cost plans will continue in the surrounding states of Wisconsin, North Dakota and South Dakota. 


Do you need to take action now if you have a Medicare Cost plan?

You don't need to do anything different for your 2018 coverage. Your current Medicare Cost plan covers you through the end of the year as long as you continue to live in Minnesota and pay your plan premiums. 

What about next year?

It's important each year to review your Medicare plan options during the Annual Election Period (AEP) from October 15 to December 7. You may have to change your plan for 2019. But don't worry! You'll get plenty of notice about any changes and options well ahead of the time you need to make a choice. You can trust your local Medicare plan to provide support and guidance. 

This fall, watch your mail for details about any changes to your plan. There will be a variety of Medicare plans available, and you may find that some plans will have benefits and coverage similar to the plan design you currently have. Your current health plan insurer will be able to share details about the 2019 options starting October 1.

Making sure you get the right plan to meet your needs is important. If your Cost plan is going away, you'll be able to enroll in another plan and can't be denied coverage based on your medical condition. That's reassuring!



About the blogs ]

From the Chair 2018
Making a Difference in Our Communities
Every May, the Administration on Aging, leads our nation’s observance of Older Americans Month. The 2018 theme, Engage at Every Age, celebrates the many ways in which older adults make a difference in our communities. more ]

VAN Updates
Laying the Groundwork for Wellness 50+ Across Washington County
Wellness 50+ is a grassroots effort that engages community members as agents of positive change in their own lives and in supporting others in doing the same. To make this work possible, we are grateful for support of several key partners---Washington Cou more ]

From the Chair 2016
Growing Old, Serious Business
May is Older Americans Month---a month set aside to celebrate the contributions of older adults to our society. more ]

Aging with Gusto
Tell Us Your Aging with Gusto Story
Did you participate in or lead an Aging with Gusto discussion? Tell us what happened. What are some of the "aha!" moments. more ]

Comments from Evolve Grads
Add your comments about Evolve (ALVA)
This is a place for Evolve grads to add their comments and thoughts about the class. more ]

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