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Over 400,000 will lose coverage

Breitenfeldt Group offering enrollment events, beefing up its team to prepare for Minnesotans needing help enrolling in a new Medicare plan

The enrollment period is coming up for Minnesotans who need to make changes to their Medicare plans for the new year (Oct. 15-Dec. 7). That is nothing new. It happens this time of the year every year. But this year’s enrollment period will be anything but normal for many Minnesotans.

“More than 400,000 Minnesotans will lose their coverage this fall,” said Dennis Breitenfeldt, V.P. of Medicare at Breitenfeldt Group. “Members who are on the Cost Plan will lose their coverage on Jan. 1. This affects people in 66 counties in Minnesota (21 counties are not affected). People will have until Dec. 31 to learn about this and make a wise decision about their new plan.” See a map of those counties affected and those not affected by the changes on page 4B.

Dennis Breitenfeldt launched Breitenfeldt Group in Long Prairie in 1990. Breitenfeldt Group is gearing up to help thousands of people across the state enroll in a new Medicare plan after a common plan will no longer be offered in 66 counties across the state. Photo by Jim Palmer

Breitenfeldt, who has been working exclusively with Medicare plans in Minnesota since 1990, said the elimination of the popular Cost Plan in those counties has resulted in confusion and anxiety for those who have been notified that their plan will no longer be offered by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

“We are here to help you through the process,” he said. “If your Cost Plan is ending, we can start assisting you on Oct. 1. There is time to work through all the options.”

Breitenfeldt said since the Cost Plan is sunsetting this year, there are more people looking for new plans. That has resulted in more providers and products being introduced in Minnesota — which has added to the confusion, said Breitenfeldt.

“We are reaching out to our current clients, their friends, their family and especially those who have heard of Breitenfeldt and thought about switching over to us but were comfortable with their current plan,” said Breitenfeldt. “This is the year to contact us so we can explain the changes and get you enrolled in the right plan for the upcoming year.”

In preparation for the changes and large number of Minnesotans who need to enroll in a new plan, Breitenfeldt Group has been ramping up its capabilities to better serve everyone who needs help.

“We have been preparing for this change for many months,” he said. “We have upgraded our technology and our security and nearly doubled our staff in preparation for this fall.”

In addition, Breitenfeldt has set up a convenient way for Minnesotans to get enrolled in their plans.

“We are hosting 24 town hall enrollment events in 15 cities across the state,” he said. “They will go all day, and we will have several people on hand so we can work with everyone who needs help.”

The dates, times and locations of the Town Hall Enrollment Events are printed in the box at right. All those who are losing their coverage should have received a letter from CMS. Breitenfeldt said those letters should be brought with to the enrollment events to help speed up the process.

“There are a couple things you will want to remember,” said Breitenfeldt. “First, your current plan will remain in effect until Jan. 1. You will be able to make changes to a new plan up until that point. Because your plan is ending, and this is big, you will be able to change your plan without having to answer any health questions. That is important to know. That will not be the case if you switch to other plans in future years.”

Why enroll with the help of Breitenfeldt Group?

“We are an independent broker,” said Breitenfeldt. “Our recipe for success has not changed. We have been successful by sticking to the commitments to our clients. We will do the service work during the year. This means you will never have to call the insurance companies alone. We will reach out to you and offer an annual review each fall. At that point, we will let you know one of two things… you are good where you are at or we would suggest a change and here is why.”

As a person’s health and prescription needs change, and as products and plans change, Breitenfeldt Group can make sure a client’s plan is up to date and functioning as it should.

“By reviewing and making changes as needed, we are saving you money, but more importantly, we are providing peace of mind to our clients that they can’t find anywhere else,” said Breitenfeldt. “If you go directly to the carrier, they are going to suggest you stay with the same thing over and over again. If you go with someone who has a limited selection, you are not getting a true evaluation. We are a true brokerage. We work with multiple carriers to ensure our members have choices available to best fit their individual situation. We don’t work for one insurance company. We work for you.”

Cost Plans will continue in 2019 in these Minnesota counties (highlighted in blue): Aitkin, Carlton, Cook, Goodhue, Itasca, Kanabec, Koochiching, Lake, Le Sueur, McLeod, Meeker, Mille Lacs, Pine, Pipestone, Rice, Rock, St. Louis, Sibley, Stevens, Traverse, Yellow Medicine

Breitenfeldt Group realizes there is confusion when it comes to Medicare plans in general. Throw in the changes coming this fall and that just adds to the confusion. For years, Breitenfeldt Group has said that they provide “a roadmap for Medicare.” That roadmap is especially important in years like this.

“Just about everyone we talk to does not understand Medicare. And just about everyone we meet feels bad about not understanding Medicare. I just simply ask them, do you fix your own cars? Do you feel bad about that? Then why are you knocking yourself out over this? We can provide you with a roadmap to Medicare.”

How much does it cost to have a personal guide walking you through the process?

“We will never send you a bill,” said Breitenfeldt. “With medical insurance, it costs exactly the same and does exactly the same thing whether you buy it from the company or a group of people like we have here who know what they are doing. We receive a small compensation from the insurance company for signing you up, but we do not charge for our services. It costs the same, and it does the same for the member, so who do you want on your side? We have the plans, we have the people, and there is no charge or fee for our services. People almost always think that we must charge extra, but we don’t.”

If you currently have a Medicare plan and need to change to something new, or if you would just like to change your plan this year, Breitenfeldt encourages you to attend one of the town hall enrollment events.

“There are really just a few things you need to remember this fall,” said Breitenfeldt. “Your health insurance company isn’t going away, your current plan is in effect until the end of the year, and losing your coverage entitles you to enroll in a new plan without health questions.”

Also, those who are eligible for Medicare for the first time and would like to learn about their options, contact Breitenfeldt Group toll free at 1-877-732-9800 to set up an appointment. For more information about Breitenfeldt Group, including videos on their services and the changes coming to Medicare, visit

Breitenfeldt Group has offices in Long Prairie, Waite Park, Maple Grove, Edina, Roseville and Woodbury, with a team of brokers and customer service representatives covering the entire state of Minnesota.

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