Medicare Open Enrollment Begins October 15th

Medicare Open Enrollment Begins October 15th

The beginning of fall always brings some much-anticipated changes – cooler weather, leaves changing color, and much more. For Medicare recipients, it may bring some not-so-welcome changes. Each year beginning in mid-October is what’s known as Medicare Open Enrollment. Whether you are new to Medicare or have been covered for many years, this is an important time to review your medical coverage.

Like most things with Medicare, Open Enrollment is confusing, so we put together this short guide to help you better understand it and how it may impact you.

What is Medicare Open Enrollment?

It is the one time every year that Medicare recipients may have the opportunity to modify their health coverage. It begins October 15th and ends December 7th.

What adjustments can I make during Open Enrollment?

The changes you can make depend upon how you receive your Medicare coverage. If you chose Original Medicare:

  • You can drop Original Medicare and switch to a Medicare Advantage Plan.
  • If you have Part D prescription drug coverage, you can switch to a new drug plan.
  • If you do not have Part D coverage, you can enroll in a drug plan.

If you chose Medicare Advantage:

  • You can change to a new Medicare Advantage plan.
  • If you chose an Advantage plan without drug coverage, you can switch to a plan that does offer it.
  • You can switch from Medicare Advantage to Original Medicare. Please note, you may be required to pass a health screening for additional Part B supplemental coverage (aka, Medigap).

If I make changes to my plan, when do they take effect?

Any changes made during Open Enrollment will take effect on January 1st.

What parts of my coverage can change each year?

If you chose Medicare Advantage, changes may include:

  • Monthly premiums
  • Out-of-pocket costs
  • Network providers
  • Annual deductibles, and much more

If you have a Part D plan through Original Medicare, changes may include:

  • Monthly premiums
  • Formularies (the list of drugs covered by the plan)
  • Medication tiers
  • Network of pharmacies, and much more

How do I make changes to my plan?

If you need to make adjustments to your coverage, you can call 1-800-MEDICARE or make changes online at www.medicare.gov. You can also work with a licensed Medicare insurance professional to help with these changes. We are happy to provide a recommendation if needed.

You may find that your current coverage remains your best option. If that’s the case, then no changes are necessary. But never assume that your plan will remain unchanged each year. It is very common for these plans to adjust costs and coverage. It is always recommended to review your Medicare coverage each year to ensure you have the proper coverage to meet your health needs and your budget.

If you have questions about your Open Enrollment needs, please feel free to contact us today.

 

Will Goodson

Will is a senior advisor who designs financial plans and investment strategies for clients. He is a University of Texas graduate and a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional. Additionally, Will has obtained the National Social Security Advisor (NSSA®) designation and works closely with wealth management clients to determine the most optimal strategies for taking Social Security and Medicare.

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