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Monday, November 23, 2020

What You Should Know About Medicare Open Enrollment

Each year, Medicare open enrollment happens. Beginning on October 15 and ending on December 7, open enrollment marks an important opportunity for eligible individuals to enroll in Medicare plans or make changes to existing coverage selections. It is important that Medicare participants take time each year to review their existing Medicare coverage and make any changes needed in order to maximize their coverage opportunities. In order to do so, it is important to keep informed and learn about what you should know about Medicare open enrollment.

What You Should Know About Medicare Open Enrollment

During Medicare open enrollment, those already participating in Medicare or who are eligible to enroll in Medicare have the ability to do several things regarding their Medicare coverage or starting their Medicare coverage. For instance, individuals may make the switch from Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage or from Medicare Advantage back to Original Medicare. Additionally, Medicare Advantage participants may switch Medicare Advantage plans. There is also the option to enroll in Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage. Those already participating in Part D also have the option to switch Part D plans should the prescription medications they need not be included in their current plan. It is also important to note that any changes made in Medicare coverage will take effect in January 2021.

Making sure you are enrolled in the right Medicare coverage or whether or not you should make some changes is important. To help you in making informed choices, you should be familiar with the various parts of Medicare. For instance:

  • Part A: provides coverage for hospital and hospice care as well as some skilled nursing services after a hospital stay.
  • Part B: provides coverage for doctors’ visits, as well as diagnostic tests and other outpatient services.
  • Part C: Medicare Advantage, which provides combination coverage from Part A, Part B, and, often, Part D.
  • Part D: provides coverage for prescription medication.

When you are looking for the coverage that best suits your needs, try to look beyond the premiums. Look for things like whether your treating doctors are considered in-network for your plan. Going out of network can significantly increase costs. Similarly, check to see that your prescription medications are covered either by your Medicare Advantage plan or by your Part D plan.

Review any updates and changes that have been made to your plan and will become effective in 2021. There may have been changes in copays and coverage. Also, review your medical expenses over the past 6 months and use this information to project what you will need to be covered in the coming year. Will your current plan cover the medical expenses you will likely need in the new year? If not, it may be time to make a switch in plans.

Medicare offers several helpful resources to use in selecting coverage. For instance, the plan-finder on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) website allows you to compare your coverage options as well as the costs associated with the coverage options between Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans. There is also more information regarding Plan D choices as well as a cost calculator you can make use of.

Elder Law Attorney

For more assistance during Medicare open enrollment, we at Monk Law are here to help. Contact Monk Law today.


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