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MoneyDo: Understand Your Options For Medicare Open Enrollment

What you need to know:

if you’re over sixty five or caring for someone over age sixty five, we’re nearing a critical part of the year: open enrollment for Medicare.

Open enrollment is the designated time of the year you can enact a change to your or your loved one’s coverage. This year, open enrollment is from October 15 to December 7th.

No matter if you’re satisfied with you or your loved one’s coverage or considering a change, now is the time to give the current plan a review.

  • Medicare Advantage Plans can change in either cost or coverage each year during open enrollment.
  • Researchers have found that even those who are content can sometimes find a plan with options that are more comprehensive or more cost-effective.

What does this mean to you?  If you’re signed up for a Medicare Advantage plan this is the window where you can make changes to your plan.  It’s your responsibility to go look at other options and make sure you still have the best plan available.

If you have vetted a plan that appears to be better for you or your loved one, make sure to call the plan itself and confirm what you have researched.

  • Confirm that medications are covered
  • Confirm Co-pays
  • Confirm what procedures

Remember:

  • You can’t use Open Enrollment to enroll for the first time. this period is only for making changes to your current coverage.
  • Beginning in October information about next year’s plans will become available.
  • The changes you make become effective the first day of the year.
  • If you do not want to make any changes you do not need to do anything during open enrollment, assuming your current plan is still available during 2018.

Common Terms and Coverage:  

Original Medicare – Managed by the federal government and there is usually a cost to each service. Typically you have Part A, hospital insurance, and Part B, medical Insurance.
Medigap – Extra health Insurance that you can purchase to help over costs not covered by Original Medicare. These plans are offered from private insurance companies.

Medicare Advantage – You can receive your benefits through Medicare Advantage instead of Original Medicare. Medicare Advantage is similar to an HMO (Health Maintenance Organization) or PPO (Preferred Provider Organization).  

What can I change?

If you have Original Medicare with a supplemental policy you are able to switch to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa during this time.

Depending on your State there are rules governing a switch between Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage so consult with a professional prior to making a change.

Also, between January 1st and February 14 you are able to change your Medicare Advantage Plan and move to original Medicare. You cannot switch to another Medicare Advantage plan unless you have special circumstance.

If you find that you need assistance with your options Annex Wealth Management will help navigate you through your Medicare needs and what best suits your life over the coming year.

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