Medicare Open Enrollment Starts Today (Oct. 15th)
Open Enrollment is happening now. From October 15th to December 7th you can make changes to your Medicare coverage.
What changes can you make?
If you are enrolled in Original Medicare, you can join a Medicare Advantage plan with or without drug coverage. These plans are private companies that are approved by Medicare and give you the services of Original Medicare. If you join a Medicare Advantage plan, you do not need to have a supplement plan (also known as a Medigap policy) and if your Medicare Advantage plan has drug coverage, you will not need a Part D plan.
If you are in a Medicare Advantage Plan, you can switch to another Medicare Advantage plan or drop your Medicare Advantage Plan. If you decide to drop a plan and not switch to another plan, you will be enrolled in Original Medicare. You should then consider enrolling in a supplement plan to cover the costs that Original Medicare does not pay for and enroll in a Part D plan for drug coverage.
If you are in Original Medicare with a Part D plan, you can stay in Original Medicare and switch your Part D plan.
If you are in Original Medicare and do not have a Part D plan, you can enroll in a Part D plan.
Why You Should Review Your Coverage
It’s important to review your coverage before making a decision. And remember just because your doctor and medications are covered in your Medicare Advantage plan, supplemental plan or drug plan this year doesn’t automatically mean they will be covered in the coming year. Research studies show that Medicare recipients can save money if they review their Part D coverage. Make sure to confirm cost, copays, coinsurance, covered providers, and prescription drugs. Here are a few things to consider:
- Has your health changed in the last year?
- Is your current plan still meeting all of your health needs?
- How much have you paid out-of-pocket in the last year—and for what?
- How is your plan changing for the coming year? How will that affect your out-of-pocket costs?
- Are there better options available to you now?
There are many ways you can get assistance with this process. You can contact Medicare directly at 1-800-MEDICARE or at www.medicare.gov
You can also contact your County SHIP (State Health Insurance Program) by calling 1-800-792-8820 or visit http://www.state.nj.us/humanservices/doas/services/ship/
NCOA (National Council on Aging) also has some useful information and tools. Like Medicare Quick Check, where you can answer some questions and you’ll get advice on choosing a new plan. Find it at https://medicarequickcheck.benefitscheckup.org/medicare-quick-check/?SID=543e7baa3cc91