According for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services there are currently 63.3 million people enrolled in Medicare. In 2019, Medicare has paid out over $400 billion in claim payments. To say that Medicare plays a key role in providing healthcare and financial security for health-related payments is an understatement. Each year there is a Medicare open enrollment window that is open for Medicare recipients to make changes to their coverage. Currently, Medicare open enrollment is upon us for this 2021. It just started on October 15th and goes through December 7th. The changes that individuals make during open enrollment become effective January 1 of the following year.
During this time all Medicare beneficiaries can make any necessary changes to their Medicare coverage. Some of the common changes individuals make include switching to a Medicare Advantage plan, which is Medicare coverage offered through a private health insurance company. Some other changes include:
- Joining or Part D prescription drug plan if an individual has Medicare Parts A or B
- Drop Medicare Advantage and switch back to Original Medicare (Parts A & B)
- Switch to a new Medicare Advantage plan
- Switch to a new Part D prescription drug plan
Should I Re-Evaluate My Medicare Plan?
Each year insurance companies will make changes to the plans that they offer individuals. These changes can often affect copayments, deductibles, drug costs, and pharmacy and doctors on their network. These changes can affect the bottom line for any individual who participates in their coverage. Because of this, it’s a good idea to re-evaluate your current plan each year to make sure that it still meets your need and whether it still works for your budget. Switching to a new plan can reduce your out-of-pocket expenses. If your doctor is no longer considered in-network for your carrier, you can save money by switching to a plan where your doctor remains in-network.
What Should I Do Next?
If you are interested in finding out if you have the best coverage, you can visit the State Health Insurance Assistance Program to get unbiased, federally funded Medicare counseling by a trained staff member or volunteer. This program may be able to help you apply for benefits to help save costs on Medicare, such as the Medicare Savings Programs or Medicare Part D Extra Help.
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