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Medicare Open Enrollment

It’s that time of year again for Medicare’s Open Enrollment!  Are you ready? 

If you are new to Medicare then it’s important to know that Open Enrollment occurring in the Fall is only designated for changes to be made to current coverage.  These changes include:

• Changing from regular Medicare coverage to Medicare Advantage regardless of having part D (or vice versa)

• Being able to join a new plan for Medicare Advantage as well as a separate Part D prescription plan

If you are still uncertain about the whole process, we’ve listed helpful tips that could help you.

1. The time-frame for Fall Open Enrollment Begins on October 15 and ends on December 7

• All open enrollment changes made become effective on January 1.

• You can switch between Medicare Advantage and regular Medicare as well as enroll in Part D coverage.

• A Medigap policy may be available where you live and helps to offset the cost of your original Medicare. There are limitations though so it’s best to check it out first.

2. Conduct a Thorough Review of Current Drug and Medicare Health Coverage Costs

• You should review next year’s costs for your Medicare and benefits located in your handbook (Medicare & You).

• Review your Medicare Advantage and Part D plan’s Annual Notice of Change as well as your Evidence of Coverage. Be aware of any change in rules, benefits, or costs that may occur during the New Year too.

• Regardless of being currently satisfied with your coverage, you should take a glance at the many other options that are available.

3. Help Is Always Available

• You have access to the plan finder tool so you can locate the best Part D plan. This tool helps by comparing the available plans that are determined by what drugs are needed, the cost of the drugs, and which pharmacy is used.

• Make sure that you confirm your new plan’s details before you actually enroll. You can change your Medicare Advantage Plan during its Open Enrollment if you are dissatisfied with your current plan

4. The open enrollment period for Medicare Advantage happens yearly between January 1 and March 31.

• Any changes made become effective the month following enrollment. At this time, you are permitted to switch your Medicare Advantage Plans for a regular Medicare plan or vice-versa.

• You can also make the switch regardless of having Medicare Part D.

5. Have a Clear Understanding of What Open Enrollment and Fall Open Enrollment is when it comes to the Federal or State Marketplace

• The State or Federal level Marketplace is also referred to as an Exchange. It offers open enrollment annually for all Americans who are underinsured or uninsured.

• Overlap may occur between it and Fall Open Enrollment. Marketplaces are not normally used by individuals eligible for or with Medicare.

So remember, if you are a current Medicare user or have recently become eligible, the Fall Open Enrollment runs from October 15 to December 7 for you to be able to make any necessary changes to your coverage.

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