Every year it makes good sense to evaluate your personal goals and plans to ensure you are being as productive as possible with your time.
Many people start their year off crafting New Year's goals and resolutions. As part of that plan, many people restructure their financial and health goals during this time. Similarly, every fall, Medicare gives those 65 plus the option to make changes to their Medicare plan. This is the perfect time to evaluate your plan to determine if you are on the right track. This year, the Medicare Open Enrollment period begins October 15th and runs through December 7th.
The Medicare Open Enrollment period allows Medicare beneficiaries the opportunity to review their health and drug plan options. By following this strategy, it will help recipients make wise decisions for their medical needs beginning January 1. Like everything in life, things change and Medicare is no different. Their health and drug plan costs and benefits change, so the Medicare Enrollment Period allows Medicare recipients time to evaluate what might be best for them for the upcoming year.
The Medicare Enrollment Plan can be fairly confusing to our older Americans. To keep it simple, remember these 4 coverage choices:
- Medicare A-covers inpatient care at hospitals, short term care in a skilled nursing home, hospice care, and some home health care.
- Medicare Part B- is medical coverage. It covers certain physician services and other health care providers, medical supplies (wheelchairs and walkers and hospital beds), outpatient care, and preventative services (screenings shots, vaccines, and yearly wellness visits).
- Medicare Part C- is Medicare Advantage. Medicare Advantage is offered by private companies that have been approved by Medicare. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) continue to push for more choices for those eligible for Medicare while striving for lower premiums.
- Medicare Part D- is prescription drug coverage. The good news here is the decline in prices has extended to Part D with the average monthly premium declining 13.5% since 2017, which happens to be the lowest since 2013.
These four tips will help you prepare in advance for Open Enrollment:
- Look for important Medicare Enrollment Information in your Mailbox- For those in a Medicare health or prescription drug plan, you should receive information in September and October. Medicare recipients should have received an Annual Notice of Changes (ANOC) or Evidence of Coverage (EOC) in the mail . The ANOC includes changes in costs, coverage, or service area starting in January. Take the time to review your plan. If you determine that you are satisfied with your plan, you don't need to do anything.
- Review the Medicare Handbook- This is an outstanding comprehensive Medicare and Medicare Advantage resource that will help you get the most out of Medicare. You can access it online at https://www.medicare.gov/Pubs/pdf/10050-Medicare-and-You.pdf.
- Think About Your Future Needs-Planning ahead is key to staying healthy and on top of your game. You may want to partner with a family member, friend, or neighbor to discuss your plan and your potential medical needs for the upcoming year. When you are prepared, you can make informed decisions about your future. With Medicare Open Enrollment starting October 15th, start planning today. Remember you have until December 7th.
- Check Out Health and Drug Plans- Medicare provides many tools to help you during your Medicare Enrollment decision making process. Take a look at the Medicare Plan Finder to help you compare options and health plans.
If you need additional information to make an informed decision, you can access the Medicare.gov https://www.medicare.gov/ website or call 1-800-MEDICARE.