Updated: Oct 2
It’s that time of year when you should review your and your loved ones’ Medicare plans. Medicare open enrollment, October 15th through December 7th, is when Medicare beneficiaries can change plans. Here at Mellie, we feel it is important for everyone to make sure their plans still fit their healthcare needs - there may be other plans that offer improved coverage or lower costs.
During open enrollment, beneficiaries can:
Change Medicare Advantage plans
Enroll in or change Medicare Part D prescription drug plans
Whether you are on Medicare or are wanting to help someone else who is, here are some considerations to keep in mind:
Your Health and Other Related Factors
If your health or medical needs changed over the past year, your priorities regarding access to care and cost may also have changed. Review your out-of-pocket medical expenses and identify whether you experienced any challenges in seeing your healthcare providers, accessing your pharmacy or even getting to appointments.
If You Have a Medicare Advantage plan or a Medicare Part D Prescription Plan
You should have received your plan’s Annual Notice of Change or Evidence of Coverage. Read it to see what changes to the plan are coming in January. Pay attention to changes in what services and prescriptions will be covered, costs, and whether your pharmacy and providers will still be in the network.
Don’t Have Prescription Drug Coverage?
If you take medications, you may want to check out a Part D plan to help cover the cost of your medications. Plans vary in their coverage and costs so it is important to compare plans. Remember that you may be subject to a late enrollment penalty if you do not have comparable prescription drug coverage and that the penalty increases each year you do not have a plan.
If You Have Original Medicare and a Medigap Plan
If you are considering switching to a Medicare Advantage plan, you will likely need to give up your Medigap plan since you will be covered under the Medicare Advantage benefits. However, if you later want to return to Original Medicare, you may have limited options for purchasing a Medigap policy and purchasing rules can vary by state,
Moving from Medicare Advantage to Original Medicare
You should consider enrolling in a Part D plan for prescription drug coverage since it is not covered under Medicare Parts A and B. You may also want to look into a Medigap policy to cover out-of-pocket expenses if the option is available in your state.
Evaluating Medicare Advantage plans and Prescription Drug plans can be daunting. Use Medicare’s Find a Plan feature to explore your local plans or contact your State Health Insurance Assistance Program for free, unbiased counseling and assistance.
Satisfied with Your Current Plan?
Remember - if you are satisfied with your current plan, you do not need to do anything, and your coverage will continue. And if you do make any changes, they will be effective January 1st.
Want to further understand Medicare Open Enrollment?
Join us on October 25, 2023 at 11:00 am PST as we hear Scott Mathews, CEO of Keen, unravel the intricacies of Medicare Open Enrollment. Designed specifically for adult children of Medicare beneficiaries but applicable to everyone, this webinar aims to empower you with the knowledge and tools you need to help your loved ones make informed decisions. Register here.
Have questions or want to learn more about how to support an older adult in your life? Visit us at Mellie to learn how we can assist you in preparing for your role as a family caregiver and identify resources that can make a difference in the lives of both your loved ones and yourself today.