It’s that time again. Medicare Fall Open Enrollment occurs annually from October 15 to December 7. During this time period, Medicare recipients can make unrestricted changes to their Medicare Advantage (Part C) and Medicare Prescription Drug Plans (Part D) plans during this Open Enrollment Period.
Medicare beneficiaries can begin shopping for the best Medicare coverage during Medicare Fall Open Enrollment by evaluating whether this year’s Medicare plan coverage is still appropriate for their health care needs. They can begin by gathering their Annual Notice of Change (ANOC)/Evidence of Coverage (EOC) letter; a list of their prescriptions; a list of their providers; and an estimate of what they spent last year on health care services, fees, and copays. It’s also a very good time to skim the Medicare & Your handbook to read how Medicare may be changing this year.
It’s Time for Shopping Around
Now it’s time to shop. First, they’ll need to decide the kind of Medicare coverage that is right for them – then find the right policy. In most states, there are at least 40 to 50 Medicare Part D prescription drug plans to choose from in each state, and in some states as many as 30 Medicare Advantage plans are available.
Beneficiaries can access many resources to evaluate what Medicare plan is best for them. Start with a free and confidential Medicare QuickCheck®, created by the Washington, DC-based National Council on Aging, that can provide them with a personalized report that evaluate their plan needs.
They can also visit the Medicare Plan Finder to easily compare Part D policies. The Plan Finder tool compares available plans based on the prescribed prescription drugs used, the pharmacy visited and finally drug costs.
For beneficiaries interested in joining a Medicare Advantage Plan, call 1-800- MEDICARE, to identify specific plans in your area. Once a list is compiled, check the plans’ websites or call the plan to confirm the information found on the site. This will allow you to see which plan best fits your unique health needs. Make sure that the plan that you choose includes your physician and hospitals in the plan’ network. Don’t forget to confirm that the plan you are considering to choose covers all your prescription drugs, and that your pharmacies are in the preferred network.
Finally, for personalized free assistance, beneficiaries can contact their State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP), they can schedule an appointment early because availability can fill up quickly. They have just over seven weeks to do their research and make their decisions.
“Enrolling in a new plan directly through Medicare is the best way to protect yourself if there are problems with enrollment,” says the Medicare Rights Center (MRC), a nonprofit group with offices in New York City and Washington, DC., that provides education, advocacy and legal assistance to help seniors and people with disabilities to obtain access to Medicare and quality health care.
When enrolling in Medicare, MRC beneficiaries write down their conversation with the representative in detail, specifically noting the call’s date, the name of the person you spoke with, any outcomes or next steps. This information may help protect you in case of misinformation.
Each year, as the Open Enrollment period approaches take the opportunity to make sure that your current plan still fits your needs.
Attend AARP’s Free, Two-Part Medicare Webinar
PART 1: Tuesday, October 16, 2018, 7 p.m. ET
PART 2: Thursday, October 18, 2018 7 p.m. ET
The better you understand your Medicare benefits, the better decisions you can make about it—no matter if you’re enrolling for the first time or considering making changes to your existing coverage. AARP’s free, two-part webinar helps you get answers and understand your options right when you need it—at the start of the Medicare annual enrollment period, October 15-December 7, 2018.
Register to learn when you should apply, how it affects insurance through your employer and what you need to do to avoid penalties. After attending these two, 45-minute webinars, you’ll have a much better grasp of: and Medicare’s Parts and what they cover.
AARP’s Medicare Webinar will prepare you to get ready for Medicare open enrollment—the only time in the year you can make changes to your coverage!
To register, go to https://onlinexperiences.com/scripts/Server.nxp?LASCmd=AI:4;F:APIUTILS!51004&PageID=FB830EA1-0AB8-4F6A-9FA9-CB0036A7B1AB&AffiliateData=stateblog.