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What You Need to Know About Medicare Open Enrollment

Posted by David Ghiorso, CPA, October 17, 2016

As you might already know, Medicare Open Enrollment has officially begun. But the selection process for Medicare plans can be confusing for most people. Why are there so many different types of Medicare, such as Part A, B, C, or D? How do you know which type of insurance you need? What’s changing this year, and what has remained the same?

Many seniors give up, and just stick with the plan they already have, but this could be a costly mistake. Luckily, you don’t have to memorize everything there is to know about all the different types of Medicare. That’s our job! You just need to know a few basics to steer you in the right direction, and then we can help you with the rest.

Premiums aren’t the most important deciding factor. You might be tempted to choose a plan based on the lowest available premium, but keep in mind that premiums are only one part of your total health care costs. Remember to evaluate co-pays, deductibles, and the out-of-pocket maximum for each plan.

Check your plan’s formulary. This is the list of covered drugs, and it can change from one year to the next. You want to make sure that the plan you select will cover any medications that you use regularly. Also, if your plan uses a pharmacy network, check to make sure your preferred pharmacy is on the list (unless you would be happy to switch).

You can switch plans. If you weren’t satisfied with your coverage during the previous year, you don’t have to stick with it! Or, if you’ve just learned that your plan is making some changes that don’t benefit you, you can opt out and enroll in a new plan. You can also add supplemental coverage during Medicare Open Enrollment.

Your needs might change. Even if you’ve been happy with your Medicare plan, your needs could change in the future. Some plans might offer additional benefits, such as dental and vision care, or better prescription drug coverage. Talk to your doctor about any anticipated changes in your healthcare needs.

Make sure your physician is covered. While you’re talking to your doctor, ask if he or she will continue to be covered by your current Medicare plan, or any plans that you’re considering.

Open Enrollment began on October 15 and will run through December 7. You still have time to make changes to your Medicare plan, but remember that everyone gets busy toward the end of the year. Don’t wait until the last minute!

We can help. We specialize in helping seniors choose the Medicare plan that best suits their needs. Give us a call, and we can help you compare your options.

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