If you’ve been holding off on enrolling in a new Medicare plan, you may not want to put things off much longer- the Open Enrollment period is ending in just two weeks, on December 7th.
Medicare Advantage and Part D Open Enrollment
Unlike Original Medicare, which is administered by the federal government, Medicare Advantage plans are offered by private companies. Medicare pays them to cover your benefits. In addition to your monthly Medicare Advantage premium, if there is one, you are still required to pay your Medicare Part B premium. Medicare Advantage plans are required to provide at minimum the same coverage as Original Medicare, but many plans offer additional coverage, and most include prescription drug coverage.
If you decide to not enroll in Medicare Advantage and instead remain with Original Medicare, you may want to consider an optional Medicare Part D plan to add prescription drug benefits to your coverage.
Exploring your Medicare Options
Even if you already have a Medicare Advantage or Part D plan, it is still a wise idea to explore other options during open enrollment. Not doing so could cost you.
Most Medicare recipients will find that their premiums are set to increase next year, or that their coverage is changing. What was the best plan for your budget and needs last year may not be the same this year.
To see what changes are occurring to your plan’s premium and coverage, look through your “Annual Notice of Change,” which your plan should have mailed to you earlier this fall. If you did not receive your Annual Notice of Change, or have misplaced it, call your plan to request a new one. This document will highlight any changes in premiums, coverage, or other changes. On some occasions, a provider will be dropping a plan, and will offer to automatically enroll you in a similar plan they have available. Be sure to read the details of that new plan carefully, as the coverage will likely differ from your previous plan.
Additionally, if the drugs you take this year are not going to be on next year’s formulary, you want to know that. The Annual Notice of Change document should also include the plan’s drug formulary, which may add or drop medications from year to year. If the drugs you need are not included, you will want to know that.
Next, take this information from your plan’s changes for next year, and compare it to other plans available in your area. You may find that there are other plans available that better suit your coverage needs for a lower premium.
If you are nearing or already 65 and would like more information on Medicare Plans in Washington State, please visit our Overview of Medicare, as well as our guide for those who are New to Medicare. For assistance in choosing a Medicare plan, contact us to get in touch with a licensed insurance agent today!