Medicare’s open enrollment season is upon us. That means between Oct. 15 and Dec. 7, you are able to make changes to your Medicare Advantage plan and prescription drug coverage.
During this time, you can change from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan or vice versa or switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another Medicare Advantage plan. You can also join a Medicare Advantage or Medicare prescription drug plan for the first time, or drop your drug coverage completely.
Even if you’re satisfied with your current plan, open enrollment presents a great opportunity to make sure you’re getting the most out of Medicare. Every year you should compare your current plan to other plans in your area in case another plan offers better health and/or drug coverage at more affordable prices.
The coverage provided by insurance companies often changes each year and could result in paying more out-of-pocket on healthcare expenses throughout the year. Here are some tips to help you get started.
- Ask yourself some important questions: Have your needs changed? Is your current coverage adequate? Will the cost of your current plan be going up? Are there comparable, lower-cost plans available?
- Review the annual notice of change from your current plan provider. You should receive this in September.
- If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, make sure your doctor is still accepting your particular plan next year. If your doctor is out of network, you will have to choose a new plan or pay higher out-of-pocket costs.
- Carefully review your plan for prescription drug coverage and determine your copayment and coinsurance costs.
- If you switch from a Medicare Advantage plan to Original Medicare, you will want to join a stand-alone Part D plan to get Medicare drug coverage.
- Compare plans using the Medicare Plan Finder at medicare.gov.
- Get one-on-one assistance from the State Health Insurance Assistance Program.
- Call the Medicare Rights Center at 800.333.4114 for free counseling.
- All changes to your Medicare plan will take effect Jan. 1 of the next year.
Medicare decisions can be complicated. If you have any questions about open enrollment, or if you’d like to discuss how healthcare costs factor into your overall financial plan, please contact your financial advisor.
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